Mental Health

We are pleased to offer patients this mental health information pack which has been put together by experts across the nation. Unlike medication, which can mask the problem, these proven methods will help you to get to the root of the problem  and support you on your journey to being a happier and more fulfilled you.

Should I take antidepressant medications? 

For people who are in crisis with their mental health (if this is you, there are emergency crisis support numbers below), antidepressants can reduce some of the symptoms. However, having “less unhappy feelings” is not the same as feeling happy and content. Different people have very different experiences:

  1. Some people get better without them
  2. Some people have mixed experiences. Often people report that they are “mentally stuck” with all their emotions reduced (we call it emotional blunting), where the “sad days” are not as sad but the “happy days” are not as happy.
  3. Others find that the medications just don’t work or have unpleasant side effects
  4. 2/3 of people develop sexual dysfunction and some patients have reported this to be permanent even after stopping medications

Antidepressants don’t necessarily treat the underlying cause. That’s why, if they are needed, they are generally prescribed with non-drug therapies, which help people get to the root of the problem and start thinking about solutions. Non-drug therapies also reduce the chance of relapse (becoming mentally unwell again).

This information pack contains all the non-drug treatments available and they are free. So read on to start your recovery right now!

Start planning your recovery now with this thinking exercise:

Write down: 
  1. What in your life is causing you to feel this way?
  2. What could you change to improve things? 
Once you have done this, have a look below to see if there is any added support that might help you on your road to recovery. 

It’s good to talk about how you are feeling:

Firstly, and most importantly, during stressful times it is good to talk. Family and friends can be really useful and sometimes the simple act of talking can be massively beneficial to your mental health as the human mind was never meant to bottle things up. In addition to offering support with the problems, they may also be able to help you to find some solutions.

If you or a friend are having a mental health emergency:

For people that are in a severe mental health crisis and feel like they would be better off dead, please call the following emergency helplines:
  • First response (24/7 service). This is staffed by mental health professionals and support is available on 01752 434922.
  • The Samaritans (no area code). Call 116123 from any phone
  • Shout: text the word ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 you will start a conversation with a trained Shout Volunteer

HEADSPACE in Plymouth (tel 07890257614) is a great place for assistance if you are in crisis. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to provide support in both 1:1 and group settings. As well as crisis management, they assist with setting achievable goals and (where appropriate) working with the Wellness Recovery Action Plan. It runs from 6pm-midnight and is open at weekends.

Websites that improve wellbeing:

In terms of other things available, let’s start with the internet. Take a look at Every Mind Matters, a really useful NHS website where you answer a few questions about your situation it offers up some steps that you can take to improve your mental health.

A more local website that has been designed by a patient with previous mental health issues to support others is called “Marbles Lost and Found.” They can be found on Marbles Lost and Found and are a one-stop-shop website with links to lots of local services in the Plymouth area.

As an NHS service provider, One Devon has commissioned Qwell.io across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay. This service provides online mental health support for everyone aged 18+ across the area and is immediately accessible for patients and staff. Qwell is the only digital mental health service accredited by the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, and offers anonymous and professional support, peer support, and self-directed support for adults. There is no waiting list, no minimum criteria to access support, no referral is required and the service is free to use. The service is accessible via www.qwell.io

Another local charity offering free mental health support for men is Andys Man Club. The club can be found at City College Plymouth, Kings Road, Devonport, Plymouth, PL1 5QG.

Apps that improve wellbeing:

Thanks to smart phones and the internet, there are tonnes of apps that you could try. NHS Digital has made a list of mental health apps that they are recommend (link:www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health).
Healthy minds from the University of Wisconsin is great for a bit of the science as well as the practice.  It’s free and you can do the exercises whilst doing the ironing etc. Healthy Minds Program – Apps on Google Play
Orcha Health is a company a health app reviewing company (not part of the NHS) (link: www.orcha.co.uk). If you scroll down to the “mental health” list you might find something useful.

Books that improve wellbeing:

There are some great self-help “books on prescription” that you can pick up for free from your local library or download. To find out what is available use the link: Reading-well.org.uk.

Letting your mind recharge naturally:

Other steps you can take to improve your mental wellbeing include mindfulness and meditation. You will find quite a few free apps on this, as well as some podcasts. Using these techniques can empty your mind, giving it a holiday from troublesome thoughts (we all need holidays when we are stressed). This natural recharging can enable you to think more clearly and return you to more positive thoughts.

Well body means well mind:

In addition, many people find that improving their physical health leads to good mental health. Remaining active and exercising, releases lots of “happy hormones” such as endorphins, which can make you feel better. Exercising and getting out and about is also a great way to let go of the problems in life and help your mind to find its own “off-switch.” MINDset gym and Plymouth Active websites can help with this.

Sometimes it’s good to talk to a professional:

There are also a few organisations that you could look at. You could refer yourself to Plymouth Options on 01752 435419. You can also refer yourself to MIND on 01752 512280. I understand that the waits for both services, particularly MIND, is not that long these days.

Another service that you may find useful is RETHINK. You will have to be ready to go out with them and meet them at your door. They won’t go into your house, but they will do the first session on your doorstep and very gradually get you out. They also do some group work and 1-2-1 work.

TALKWORKS is a free and confidential NHS talking therapy service, here to help adults over the age of 18, living in Devon, improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Treatment and support includes one-to-one sessions with a therapist, group therapy sessions, wellbeing workshops and access to online self-help. Waiting times for appointments are short, and the service can offer early morning and evening therapy sessions, outside of its standard Monday to Friday hours.

You do not need a referral from your GP to access TALKWORKS’ services, you can refer yourself online or over the phone. For more information on the different treatment options and therapy services, please visit the TALKWORKS website or call 0300 555 3344.

You could also try using our in-house Life Coach supplied by the Wolseley Trust. Life Coaches (also called social prescribers) are incredibly useful. They will listen to you, identify what matters to you, and will work alongside you to create a plan to help you reach your goals and improve your wellbeing. They also support you to access local organisations and activities. They are a great service and send us quarterly reports showing how they are improving people’s lives. If you are interested, please call 01752 203673 or email joannebower@wolseley-trust.org

Please do take some time to look at all this information or pick up the phone and speak to some of these organisations (they have an online presence too, if you want to find out more).
We hope this gives you the support you need with planning your recovery.
 

Mental Health