Bereavement, illness, social isolation, unemployment, financial insecurity plus daily worry have caused a tsunami of psychological problems over the past year. According to mental health charity Mind, two thirds of those already suffering from poor mental health have said their symptoms are worse as a result of the pandemic. And these statistics don’t take into account those who will be suffering for many years to come.
One of the most worrying aspects of our current situation is that due to lockdown measures, people may not be getting the help they need – nor even know where to begin looking for it.
If you, a colleague, friend or family member are suffering, here’s my guide to getting mental health help from the comfort of your sofa. Do not suffer in silence.
WHERE TO START
If you think you are suffering from a mental-health issue, never think that your GP is too busy to be contacted. Many are offering online consultations, and they should be able to talk you through treatment options.
Instead of googling your symptoms (which can pile on unnecessary anxiety), head to mind.org.uk, which is the UK’s hub for trusted mental- health information. Their confidential Infoline (0300 123 3393) is open Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm.
It’s hard enough being a teenager or student, but with exams on hold, being locked inside with your parents and unable to see friends, it’s more than tough (and don’t forget the teenage years are often when mental illness starts to manifest). If you’re under 25 and suffering, or you know someone who is, head to themix.org.uk to find access to a confidential helpline and one-to-one chat service. There are also multiple apps and tools that help with everything from love and relationships to managing stress.
IF YOU’RE AT CRISIS POINT
According to CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), every week in the UK 125 people take their own life, of whom 75 per cent are male. CALM has been set up to help and raise funds for the prevention of suicide and to assist anyone who feels they’ve hit a wall. It’s a safe space for men to come to for help. If this is you, or someone you know, call the helpline on 0800 585858 (daily, 5pm-midnight), themix.org.uk. Alternatively, head to samaritans.org or call 116123.
TEXT YOUR TROUBLES
themix.org.uk is a free texting initiative that helps people vocalise problems they’d prefer not to say out loud. With 2,300 volunteers, you can find help 24 hours a day. Born out of the charity Heads Together (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are patrons), it’s designed to make getting help easy. Just text SHOUT to 85258 and someone will get back to you.
FIND A THERAPIST
One question I’m often asked is ‘How do I find a good therapist?’ Helpfully, you can self-refer through the NHS website. The IAPT programme (improving access to psychological therapies) was set up over ten years ago to help people gain access to talking therapies. The aim is to enable 1.9 million people to access treatment by 2024. Go to nhs.uk, type in your postcode, select a clinic and someone will get in touch.
The kit that’s keeping me fit
If you’re in need of some motivation to exercise then look no further than Anthropologie’s new activewear. My favourites are the Kachel leggings in paisley or leopard print (above), which are made from recycled polyester, £78, anthropologie.com.
Supplements I swear by
Bamford takes the standard of its ingredients very seriously which is why I love its new range of supplements. My favourites are the Beauty Blend with sustainable marine collagen and hyaluronic acid, £35, for glowier skin, and the Liquid Boost, £14.95, for a daily dose of greens. bamford.com.