1. NHS Choices
NHS Choices is your first point of call for information on mental health issues, the different types of services that are available, and how treatment is supposed to work. There are also videos you can watch where people go into great detail about their experiences with mental illness.
Important: If you’re feeling suicidal, speak to someone you trust, contact the NHS on 111, visit your GP with an urgent appointment, or go to your nearest A&E. Head to this website to see where your nearest A&E is.
Rethink provides more than 200 mental health services and support groups in England. Its website can help you find groups and support in your local area. It can also provide specialist help on mental health and other issues such as debt, and where you stand in relation to the Mental Health Act. However, it does not provide emergency help.
You can ring the Mental Health Advice service on 0300 5000 927. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm.
Its helpline (see above) is open from 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and its website also provides legal advice for many mental health issues.
Sane provides support for not only people who have been affected by mental illness, but also their friends and relatives. “Our professional staff and trained volunteers have specialist mental health knowledge,” it says. “We can help you consider options for support that address your individual circumstances.”
You can ring Sane’s helpline on 0845 767 8000 – it’s open from 6pm to 11pm, 365 days a year. The organisation can provide information on where to find help in your local area, and also has a support forum, where you can support others.
CALM is a charity that tries to prevent male suicide within the UK. It says: “We believe that there is a cultural barrier preventing men from seeking help as they are expected to be in control at all times, and failure to be seen as such equates to weakness and a loss of masculinity.”
You can ring CALM on 0800 58 58 58 nationwide, or 0808 802 5858 in London. Phonelines are open 5pm to midnight, every day. You can also text the charity on 07537 404717. The website also publishes an informative magazine.
Friends in Need, run by the charity Depression Alliance, uses special events to stop the loneliness associated with depression. “Help others make sense of their experiences by sharing your own,” it advises. “Set up or join groups where you can chat about whatever interests you. Attend meet ups in your local area.”
The Mental Health Foundation does not have an advice line, but its website has a lot of useful resources which can help you understand mental illness and how to cope when the good times go bad.
For example, its website has a guide called “How to Talk to Your GP About Your Mental Health”, a booklet on how physical fitness can benefit your mental state called “Let’s Get Physical”, and “Mental Health on the Go”, a short printable guide full of useful details that you can fold and put into your back pocket.
Also, visit this page for wellbeing podcasts and tips on looking after your mental health.
Samaritans says: “There is no typical reason someone might call us, just as there’s no typical person who contacts Samaritans. You can get in touch about anything that’s troubling you, no matter how large or small the issue.” The organisation is about listening, rather than providing advice.
9. HOPELineUK, run by Papyrus
HOPELineUK is a helpline for young people up to the age of 35, or for anyone else who might be concerned about a young person. It can also put you in contact with other people and organisations that can help, such as health professionals and mental health practitioners.
The helpline’s details are above. It’s open Monday to Friday, 10am to 10pm, and from 2pm to 5pm on weekends. Calls will not appear on your BT bill.
Pace specialises in the mental wellbeing of LGBT people and those exploring their sexuality. It provides individual counselling, and its Mental Health Advocacy service provides support for issues such as health discrimination and Mental Health Act tribunals. A lot of its services are primarily London-based, but it still has many useful online resources. For more information contact the organisation during office hours on 020 7700 1323.
The Gay and Lesbian Switchboard can also provide help for mental health issues. Its helpline is open daily, from 10am to 10pm.
11. Anxiety UK
Anxiety UK provides counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy online, over the phone, and face to face. You pay £30 membership a year to access these treatments, but the services are much cheaper than having to go private. You can also download an app providing tips on dealing with stress for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.
12. Bipolar UK
Bipolar UK provides free support and information for those affected by bipolar disorder. Call 020 7931 6480 between Monday and Friday, 9am to 5pm, or visit its website, which provides a range of information leaflets.
There are also confidential support groups for anyone who has been affected by bipolar disorder in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Find your nearest support group by using this map.
If you are aged between 18 and 25 and want to find out more about Bipolar UK’s support for bipolar youth, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7931 6486.