Can I come and see someone now?
Depending on the nature of your enquiry, we may be able to call you back, or if you wish to join any of our groups you will need to complete a self referral form: Horizon Self Referral Form 2015. We regret that at this time we are unable to offer a drop-in facility.
Can I book an appointment for counselling?
Yes – have a counselling service here at Brent Mind. For more information, visit our Brent Mind Counselling page
My GP told me to contact you, what help can you give me?
Can you help with my benefits?
Please contact Citizens Advice Bureau on 0845 050 5250 as we are unable to offer benefits advice.
Can you help my neighbour who has mental health problems?
If you know someone who is in danger of seriously harming/killing themselves or endangering someone else please:
- Contact Social Services who can arrange for the person to be assessed under the Mental Health Act. Please be aware that this could lead to the person being sectioned in hospital and treated without their consent.
- Contact NHS Direct on 111 to get out of office numbers for their local area social and mental health services.
- or 999 if you cannot get through anywhere else
Can you advise me on medication?
Mind offer comprehensive information on drugs and treatments. Visit www.mind.org.uk or talk to your GP.
Why has my doctor prescribed certain medication for me?
The best person to speak to about this is your GP.
I am feeling suicidal, can you help me?
To talk to someone who is trained to listen, contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. They are open 24 hours a day. If you have a crisis card that you have prepared based on previous experience, get that now and contact your support people.
Is there a link between cannabis and mental illness?
The Advisory Committee on the Misuse of Drugs said there were major difficulties establishing a cause-and-effect relationship between cannabis use and the development of psychotic illnesses, such as schizophrenia.
The charity Rethink found that frequent cannabis use increased the risk of psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia by 40%. Studies have also suggested that using the drug can trigger psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and feeling out of touch with surroundings in some people. However, it is unclear whether these symptoms are short-lived, or if they persist even when use of the drug is stopped.
Mind has reported psychiatrists have seen an increase in numbers of people being hospitalised with psychotic episodes linked to cannabis use since the drug was downgraded.
Many experts believe that use of the drug can worsen symptoms in someone who already has schizophrenia, or manic depression associated with psychotic symptoms.
A British Medical Journal study in 2004 concluded that while cannabis use moderately increased the risk of psychotic symptoms in young people, it had a much stronger effect in those who had already had mental health-related problems.
My mum suffers from depression, how can I help her?
The very nature of depression, which brings a sense of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness, can prevent someone who’s depressed from seeking help. They often withdraw from friends and relatives around them, rather than asking for help or support. However, this is a time when they need your help and support most. Perhaps the most important thing that you can do is to encourage your friend or relative to seek appropriate treatment.
Try not to blame them for being depressed, or tell them to ‘pull themselves together’. They are probably already blaming themselves, and criticism is likely to make them feel even more depressed. Praise is much more effective than criticism. You can reassure them that it is possible to do something to improve their situation, but you need to do so in a caring and sympathetic way.
People who are depressed need someone who cares for them. You can show that you care by listening, sympathetically, by being affectionate, by appreciating the person, or simply by spending time with them. You can help by encouraging them to talk about how they are feeling and getting them to work out what they can do, or what they need to change, in order to deal with their depression.
If the person you are supporting is severely depressed, you may be faced with some hard decisions about how much to do on their behalf. If, for example, they are not looking after their physical needs, should you take over and do the shopping, cooking and cleaning for them, if you are able to? Or should you try and encourage them to do it? There are no easy answers to this situation. It will help if you can find someone with whom you can discuss these and other issues.
Supporting a friend or relative who is depressed can be an opportunity to build a closer and more satisfying relationship. However, it can also be hard work and frustrating, at times. Unless you pay attention to your own needs, it can make you feel depressed, too. Try and share the responsibility with as many people as possible, and find people to whom you can express your frustrations. There may be a local support group of others in your situation. You could also talk to your GP or another healthcare professional about getting help for yourself and your family.
How can I deal with anxiety?
There are many things you can do to reduce your anxiety to a more manageable level. Taking action may make you feel more anxious at first. Even thinking about anxiety can make it worse.
But facing up to anxiety, and how it makes you feel, can be the first step in breaking the cycle of fear and insecurity. It’s important to remember how much better you will feel when you can begin to relax, take control, and lead a fuller life.
The symptoms of anxiety can be controlled by breathing and relaxation techniques, and by replacing distressing, negative thoughts with positive, peaceful ones. These methods are straightforward and can be learnt from books, the internet, video and audio tapes, through counselling, and attending relaxation classes. Often the techniques employed are based on the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy, which your GP may be able to help you access. He or she can also advise you about local support groups run by and for people with similar problems. There are also classes in anxiety management.
How can I deal with stress?
Even though there are likely to be some things happening in your life that you can’t control, there are still lots of practical things you can do to manage the amount of pressure you’re under day to day. For example:
- identify your triggers
- organise your time
- address some of the causes
- accept the things you can’t change
Identify your triggers
Working out what triggers stress for you can help you anticipate problems and think of ways to solve them. Even if you can’t avoid these situations, being prepared can help.
Take some time to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your stress (you might want to do this with a friend or family member). You could consider:
- issues that come up regularly,and that you worry about, for example paying a bill or attending an appointment
- one-off eventsthat are on your mind a lot, such as moving house or taking an exam
- ongoing stressful events, like being a carer or having problems at work
You might be surprised to find out just how much you’re coping with at once. Remember that not having enough work, activities or change in your life can be just as stressful a situation as having too much to deal with.
Organise your time
Making some adjustments to the way you organise your time could help you feel more in control of any tasks you’re facing, and more able to handle pressure.
- Identify your best time of day,and do the important tasks that need the most energy and concentration at that time. For example, you might be a morning person or an evening person.
- Make a list of things you have to do. Arrange them in order of importance, and try to focus on the most urgent first. If your tasks are work related, ask a manager or colleague to help you prioritise. You may be able to push back some tasks until you’re feeling less stressed.
Address some of the causes
Although there will probably lots of things in your life that you can’t do anything about, there might still be some practical ways you could to resolve or improve some of the issues that are putting pressure on you.
How can I deal with anxiety?
If you experience anxiety or panic attacks there are many things you can do to help yourself cope. This page covers:
- talking to someone you trust
- breathing exercises
- shifting your focus
- listening to music
- reassuring thoughts
- physical exercise
- keeping a diary
- eating a healthy diet
- complementary therapies
- joining a support group
A common – and natural – response to anxiety is to avoid what triggers your fear, so taking any action might make you feel more anxious at first. It can be difficult, but facing up to how anxiety makes you feel can be the first step in breaking the cycle of fear and insecurity.
Talk to someone you trust
Talking to someone you trust about what’s making you anxious can help. You may find that they have encountered a similar problem and can talk you through it. It may be that just having someone listen to you and showing they care, can help in itself.
Try a breathing exercise
You may find a breathing exercise helps you to manage anxiety and feel calmer.
(See our page on relaxation techniques for more information about breathing exercises you can try.)
Try shifting your focus
You may find it helpful to shift your focus or distract yourself from the anxiety you are feeling. Look at a flower, a picture or something that you find interesting or comforting. Really notice the details, the colours and any smells or sounds.
Listen to music
Listening to music you find peaceful or you enjoy, can help you to feel calmer.
Try reassuring yourself
You may find it helpful to tell yourself that the symptoms you experience are actually caused by anxiety – it is not really dangerous, and it will pass. This can help you feel calmer and less fearful of future attacks.
You may find that physical exercise can help you manage anxiety and panic attacks. Going for a walk or a run can help you get some time to yourself to think things over, away from everyday stresses.
If you’re not able to do physical activities outdoors, or have limited mobility, try to think about what kinds of physical activities you can do indoors, such as exercising individual parts of your body at a time. (See our pages on physical activity for more information).
Keep a diary
You may find keeping a note of what happens each time you get anxious or have a panic attack can help you spot patterns in what triggers these experiences for you, so you can think about how to deal with these situations in the future.
You could also try keeping a note of times when you are able to manage your anxiety successfully. This might help you feel more in control.
Eat a healthy diet
You may find it easier to relax if you avoid stimulants such as coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. Some people also find eating a healthy diet helps them to manage anxiety better (see our pages on food and mood for more information).
Yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, massage, reflexology, herbal treatments, Bach flower remedies, and hypnotherapy are all types of complementary therapy that you could try, and see if they work for you. You might find that one or more of these methods can help you to relax, sleep better, and manage the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
Many chemists and health shops stock different remedies and should be able to offer advice. For more information about complementary therapies, see:
- our pages oncomplementary and alternative therapies
- The Complementary Medical Association (CMA)website
- The Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (ICNM)website
A support group can give you the opportunity to share common experiences and ways of coping with others who are facing similar challenges. It is sometimes comforting to know that you are not alone.
What can I do to stop self-harming?
The single most important thing to remember is that you have choices: stopping self-injury can begin now.
- Knowledge is power. Gather as much information as possible about your own behaviour. Keep notes of what is going on when you feel the need to harm yourself, so that you can identify, over a period of time, specific thoughts which come up. It’s also useful to keep a daily diary of events and feelings, and to record how you cope with or channel powerful emotions of anger, pain or happiness.
- Try to talk about your feelings with someone supportive. Even though you may feel you are alone, there are others who can understand your pain and help to boost your strength and courage. Many people find that joining a support group of people with similar problems is an important step towards making themselves feel better, and changing their lives. If there are no appropriate support groups in your area, your local Mind associations may be able to help start one. (See Useful organisations for more information.)
- Work on building up your self-esteem. Remember you are not to blame for how you feel; your self-injury is an expression of powerful negative feelings. It’s not your fault. Make lists of your feelings, and then write positive statements about yourself, or the world around you. If you can’t think of any, ask friends to write things they like about you. Keep these in a place so that they are visible. Make a tape of your own voice saying something affirming or reading your favourite stories or poems. Hearing your own voice can be soothing, or you can ask someone you trust to record their voice reading to you.
- Try to find ways to make your life less stressful, give yourself occasional treats, eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and build physical activity into your life, because this is known to boost self-esteem and lift low moods.
- Have the telephone numbers of friends, or local and national helplines where you can find them easily, if you need to talk to somebody in a crisis. (See Useful organisations.)
- Think about your anger and what you do with it. If you weren’t busy being angry with yourself, who would you really be angry with? Write a list of people who have caused you to feel like this. Remind yourself you deserve good things in life, not punishment for what others have done to you.
- Line up a set of cushions to represent people who caused you pain. Tell them how they hurt you and that you don’t deserve punishment. Kicking or hitting cushions is good. Try to do this with someone else, if possible, so that the experience is shared and you do not hurt yourself.
- Creativity is a powerful tool against despair. This doesn’t have to be about making something. Whatever lifts you out of your pain and makes you feel good is creative. If you feel like it, try drawing or painting how you feel. Some people draw on themselves, using bright body colours.
- If you feel the need to self-harm, focus on staying within safe limits. A supportive GP will give you good advice on minimising and caring for your injuries and help you to find further help.