How To Deal With Mental Health Issues
Mental illness can affect anyone at any time. Difficulties may be short term following a personal trauma or crisis, or longer term needing more specialist help and support. Occasional depression, stress, anxiety, or grief will affect most people at some point in their life and with help and support most of us are able to return to our 'normal selves' relatively quickly.
For some people, these feelings may be unusually intense or prolonged and may impact more on their ability to cope with daily life. Some may experience extreme mood swings, feelings of persecution, or hear voices that no one else is able to hear.
Just like any physical illness there are many types of mental illness. Most people will be well again with the right treatment and support. This fact sheet is aimed at helping people experiencing mental health problems, and their families and carers find the services to support their recovery.
Asking for help
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is that first step 'admitting that you may need help' and then taking the first steps to finding help. For most people the first person they may speak to is their GP. Your GP is able to refer patients with less severe illness to a counsellor or voluntary organisation, and/or prescribe some mild medication to help you through a difficult time. For patients with a more severe or prolonged mental illness your GP will refer you to your local Community Mental Health Team or to the Primary Mental Health Care Team (depending on where you live). Your GP will discuss with you why you are being referred and the support the team will be able to give you.
Community Mental Health Team / Primary Mental Health Care Team
When your referral is received by the team an initial appointment will be offered to you as soon as possible. You will then be seen by someone who is trained to assess your needs. You will be informed by letter as to who will be carrying out your assessment prior to your appointment date. Your appointment may be offered at your local GP surgery or at a local community clinic. Depending on the type of treatment you need, the treatment you will receive will be discussed with you and you will be informed of the location where the treatment will be carried out.
The Community Mental Health Team work in close partnership with Adult Social Services and the Health Service. The teams may include a Social Worker trained in mental health, a community psychiatric nurse, psychiatrist, psychologist, and an occupational therapist. The team uses an integrated care approach to support the needs of the person with the mental illness, their family and carers. As well as arrangements for your psychiatric care your care plan will include any support offered with practical tasks, support and advice on housing, employment and benefits, personal relationships.
Elderly Mental Health Teams (EMHTs)
EMHTs form part of the Community Mental Health Team and focus on the needs of people over the age of 65 with mental health needs. This may include people who have had a long term mental illness who are now over the age of 65, those developing mental illness, either short or long term, and those with memory problems or dementia. Subject to eligibility criteria services such as memory clinics, day care facilities, respite care and carers support may be offered. Once again the teams work closely with Adult Social Services and Primary Health Care Services, as well as working in partnership with the independent and voluntary sector to deliver services.
Support for carers
As a carer you have a right to ask for an assessment of your needs as a carer of someone with a mental illness. It is important that your health and well being is maintained and that you are supported in your caring role.
Each local authority has a Carers Co-ordinator or Case Worker who is able to offer help, information and support.
MENTAL CAPACITY ACT 2005
The Mental Capacity Act is in place to protect those people who are unable to make decisions for themselves about their care and lifestyle. Mental incapacity may be due to:
- A learning disability
- A mental health problem
- A head injury or stroke
- Senility or dementia
- Substance misuse
- The Act also promotes the rights of people who can make decisions for themselves by encouraging them to do so.
The main principles of the Act are:
- Every adult is legally able to make their own decisions unless it can be shown that they are not able. It is unacceptable to judge a person's ability based on their appearance, age, or medical condition.
- People should be given all the support they need to enable them to make their own decisions. Information should be provided to help them make their decision in a format they can understand. This may mean providing information with symbols or photographs for a person with a learning disability, or in braille format for a blind person.
- People have a right to make decisions that to others may appear to be eccentric or unwise. These decisions in themselves do not mean that the person is unfit to make a decision.
- Any action or decision taken on someone else's behalf must always be in their best interests. Additionally when making a decision on someone else's behalf it is important to consider their beliefs and preferences, and to involve them as much as possible.
- Any action or decision taken on behalf of someone else must be
the least restrictive of that person's rights and freedoms.
Who assesses someone's ability to make a decision?
As a carer, relative, health or care professional you may need to assess whether an individual is able to make a particular decision. The Mental Capacity Act advises that you should consider whether the person can:
- Understand the decision that needs to be made
- Understand the consequences of making a particular choice
- Retain information
- Weigh up the information and use it to make a decision
- Communicate their decision, or be helped to do so
The Mental Capacity Act has established a number of new safeguards including:
- It is a criminal offence to ill treat or wilfully neglect a person who cannot make decisions for themselves.
- Establishing Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA). If someone has difficulty making decisions for themselves and has nobody to help them act on their behalf they will be represented by an IMCA.
- A Court of Protection will have the power to appoint deputies, make declarations about someone's ability, or make decisions on someone's behalf.
Sometimes it is helpful for someone with a mental illness to have a relative, friend, or carer present at appointments or discussions about their care. If you do not have anyone who can come with you then an Advocacy service may be able to help you.
Monday to Friday
9.15am to 5.15pm
Call: 0845 766 0163
Advice and information on mental health issues.
NATIONAL PHOBICS SOCIETY
Zion Community Resources Centre
339 Stretford Road
Helpline: 0870 122 2325
Opening hours: Monday - Friday 9.15am - 9pm
Promote the relief and rehabilitation of persons suffering with anxiety disorders through information and provision of self help services. Able to support anyone affected by:
- Panic attacks/disorder
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Phobia
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
- Tranquilliser Problems
- Agraphobia and other phobias
1st Floor Cityside House
40 Alder Street
Tel: 020 7375 1002
Fax: 020 7375 2162
SANELINE: 0845 767 8000 (Calls charged at local rates). Open from 12noon - 2pm daily.
The SANELINE database contains information about symptoms and treatments. We can give information about the Mental Health Act and put you in touch with support groups and services throughout the UK. The database is continually updated to ensure that the information we give you is accurate.
THRESHOLD WOMEN'S MENTAL HEALTH
Freephone: 0808 808 6000
Opening hours: Tuesday 10am - 1pm
24 hour answerphone outside of opening hours
- Fact sheets on women and mental health
- Details of local and national services throughout the UK
- Information for workers supporting women with mental health issues.
Care Quality Commission (CQC) - General Enquiries
National Correspondence Centre
Tel: 03000 616161
Care Quality Commission (CQC) - Complaints and Concerns
103 - 105 Bunhill Row
Tel: 03000 616161
National body for monitoring all standards of care in the NHS, Social Services Care, Mental Health Care, and Private Health Care sectors. Monitors all standards of care in Nursing and Residential Care, Care Agencies and any establishment where care is delivered.
Patient Advice Liaison Service
Contact PALS if you have any concerns, queries, or need information about any aspect of health or health services. PALS provide the following services:
- Information on NHS services including how to complain
- Listen and respond to your concerns, suggestions and queries
- Help sort out problems quickly on your behalf (with your permission
- Provide a confidential advice service wherever possible
- Talk to staff, management and other organisations on your behalf (with your permission).