When you are feeling low or anxious it can be upsetting and confusing, and it can sometimes feel like no-one understands.
If you are feeling low, hopeless, or suicidal it is important to seek help. The way you are feeling is much more common than you think, it is just that people struggle to talk about it. Everyone feels low sometimes but if these feelings are not going away, or they are making you want to harm yourself, it is time to talk to someone and get help. As bad as it may seem, there is always hope and people willing to offer support. With help you CAN get better.
Try to talk to someone you trust and explain to them how you feel. If this doesn’t help you in the way you need or if you are not able to talk to anyone you know, there are helplines run by suicide prevention and mental health charities where someone will be there to talk to and help you, confidentially 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
SToRMS does not run a helpline or direct support services but there are many charities offering a range of services to provide support in a way that is right for you. Brief information about some of these and links to their services are below:
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) is a registered charity which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK. They run a FREE helpline from 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year for men who need information or support 0800 58 58 58 or you may prefer to try Webchat.
- The Samaritans run a helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 116 123 and is FREE so there is always someone there to talk to if you need to. They also provide an email address or home address so if you do not feel comfortable with talking over the phone you can still access support. Alternatively, they also provide face to face services in branches across the UK.
- Papyrus are a registered charity focusing on the prevention of young suicide. Papyrus run a FREE HOPEline on 0800 068 41 41, or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ChildLine is a private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of 19. You can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything -no problem is too big or too small. Call free on 0800 1111, have a 1-2-1 chat online or send an email.
- Mind’s online community offers peer support from others who have experienced, or are experiencing, what you are going through. A safe place to listen, share and be heard. It is completely anonymous and always available. Find out more and register here or download the Elefriends app for Android and IOS.
Alternatively you may prefer to consult your GP or consider talking to a psychiatrist or counsellor.
- It can be hard to make that first appointment with your GP but remember that they are there to help and that first conversation is the start of your journey to feeling better. It may be tempting to put it off but try to see it through if you possibly can. Docready is a very useful site to help you understand what to expect and make things as easy as possible for you, including helping you put together your own list of things to talk to the GP about.
- Remember that schools, universities (also the National Union of Students) and workplaces often have access to their own support/counselling if you are able to talk to them. There may be free or subsidised counselling available in your area but such services are often under pressure so there may be waiting lists. In Sheffield, Interchange (age 13 -25 years), Sheffield Mind and Share Psychotherapy (both age 18 years onwards) may be able to help on this basis. Informal “cafes” are also available if chatting with others in relaxed surroundings is right for you.
- Dedicated online peer support and email access to help is also available for those preferring to write rather than speak, but be careful to only use trusted sites (Links to some trusted sites are listed in these Help Sections). There is no shame in seeking help. The most important thing is that you get better. The world would NOT be a better place without you
These are quick links to Feeling Overwhelmed- Helping You Stay Safe, How to cope when life is difficult, understanding why you might be feeling suicidal and what you can do about it, Suicide prevention app and other apps for mood monitoring and anxiety (for other mental health apps also see links below in “Helping Early…” section). Stay Alive is a suicide prevention app which provides quick links to national help lines and allows you to create your own, personalised mini safety plan.
Looking After Yourself
Looking after your mental health is as important as looking after your physical health. They can affect each other. Being mentally unwell can sometimes lead to physical symptoms. Being physically unwell can sometimes affect you emotionally.Things you do to keep well physically also help your mental wellbeing: eating well, getting plenty of sleep, doing some exercise and watching how much you drink.
In addition there are 5 things you can do to take care of your mental wellbeing; sort of like a mental health equivalent of the physical health “5-a-day”. These are Connect. Be Active. Take Notice. Keep Learning. and Give. The Action for Happiness Website provides an explanation of the principles behind this with its GREAT DREAM acronym.
Taking time to understand ourselves – our strengths, what we value in our lives, what makes us feel happy, how well we connect with our emotions and how we express them- is essential. This not only helps us to understand and manage our own emotional health needs but also helps us appreciate how complex and different we all are and how dangerous it can be to assume that you understand someone else’s feelings without them telling you.
Emotional First Aid suggests simple tips to help deal with common emotional “bumps and scrapes.”
We can’t always predict or control what life throws at us but we can learn a range of skills to help us respond more flexibly, deal with challenges more effectively and bounce back more quickly as a result. Mind have a number of resources explaining how to manage stress, become more resilient, manage pressure and anger. Student Minds have good information to help deal with exam stress. mentalhealth.org.uk also have a range of downloadable brochures offering practical advice including how to sleep better. For a less formal insight, The Guardian published some suggestions to learn how to bounce back. Mastering the skill of quick stress relief suggests some ways to identify things that may help you manage stress anytime, anywhere.
A number of different apps are now available to help maintain mental wellbeing. Some require registration and some have to be bought but links to a collection of free apps have been pulled together on the Brighton Mind website. The Australian Reach Out site has a Toolbox of apps for your brain and body with a quiz that helps you identify your goals.