Other Kinds Of Support
There are lots of things you can do to manage your own stress. These are described in detail in ‘Module 8 – Managing Stress (Thinking Differently)’ and ‘Module 7 – Managing Stress (Doing Things Differently)’ but sometimes you do need support from other people.
As well as medication and talking therapies, mental health services offer a range of additional services to support recovery. The key ones include:
Counselling involves talking to a trained professional about your difficulties in a safe and confidential setting. Counsellors will help you explore different options but will not direct you to take any particular course of action. You can ask your GP if they can refer you for counselling. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy has a list of accredited counsellors in your area if you wish to pay to see someone privately. This can be expensive.
There are lots of different types of complementary therapies. Some are available through the NHS but this varies so you need to talk to your GP. You can find out more about complementary and alternative medicine from the following NHS website.
Peer Support – Groups/Telephone/Web
Some relatives want someone to talk to who has some experience of the kinds of problems they are struggling with. Often this is other relatives of people with psychosis. Most areas have support groups for relatives of people with psychosis. Sometimes these are run by the NHS, and sometimes by voluntary sector organisations such as Rethink, Bipolar UK, Making Space or Mind. To find out about local groups in your area, check out The Resource Directory map, or visit the websites for these organisations (see Resource Directory).
Monitoring physical health.
This is really important. People with mental health problems are also more at risk of poor physical health. This can occur as result of poor self care, but also can be due to side effects of medication. Regular checks should include weight, waist circumference, pulse and blood pressure, blood glucose levels, diet and exercise, and any designs of movement disorders. This will ensure problems are identified early and treated appropriately. These checks may be done by the mental health team, or the GP. Help should also be offered to support people with psychosis or bipolar disorder to support smoking.
Support with finding work / education.
A key part of recovery is being involved in meaningful and valued activity. For many people this involves work or education. Mental health problems often occur at key transition points in education or work. Extra support should be offered for accessing education or employment-related training. This should be covered in the care plan. Support may include skills training, help with writing CVs and application forms, or finding placements and actively supporting people within the workplace (known as Individual Placement Support or IPS).
Mental health problems can also disrupt social relationships. Services often support people to build confidence and skills around other people. This is often done through organizing social activities which promote peer support. These might include things such as sporting activities, or other social groups.