Seeking Help

For A Mental Health Problem

How Do I Take The First Steps?

Seeking help for a mental health problem can be a really important step towards getting and staying well, but it can be hard to know how to start or where to turn to.

When Is It OK To Seek Help

It's common to feel unsure about seeking support for your mental health, and to feel like you ought to wait until you can't handle things on your own. But it's always ok for you to seek help – even if you're not sure if you are experiencing a specific mental health problem.

Some reasons why you might choose to seek help could include:

  • finding it difficult to cope with thoughts and feelings
  • thoughts and feelings having an impact on your day-to-day life
  • wanting to find out about available support
"The first time I went to my GP about my depression, I was completely terrified. I had suffered in silence for 6 months, and was so ashamed that I couldn't 'fix' it myself. Thankfully my GP was lovely and really seemed to care. She prescribed an antidepressant and suggested that I contact my University counselling service, and wanted me to return regularly to monitor the medication's effects."

Who Can I Talk To?

The best way to start is normally by talking to a health care professional, such as your doctor (also known as your General Practitioner or GP).

Your GP can:

  • make a diagnosis
  • offer you support and treatments
  • refer you to a specialist service
What Should I Say To My GP?

It can be hard to know how to talk to your doctor about your mental health – especially when you’re not feeling well. But it’s important to remember that there is no wrong way to tell someone how you’re feeling.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Be honest and open.
  • Focus on how you feel, rather than what diagnosis you might meet
  • Try to explain how you’ve been feeling over the past few months or weeks, and anything that has changed
  • Use words and descriptions that feel natural to you – you don’t have to say specific things to get help
  • Try not to worry that your problem is too small or unimportant – everyone deserves help and your doctor is there to support you

Being as open and honest as possible, even though extremely difficult, is what has assisted me.

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