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Identifying and managing a mental health problem

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It can be difficult to recognise if you’re experiencing a mental health problem. Use this page to help you understand what to look out for and where to get support.

Signs you might be experiencing a mental health problem

One in four people experiences mental health problems in their lifetime. Some signs that you may be experiencing a mental health problem or illness are:

  • changes in your mood or behaviour
  • struggling to relate to other people
  • no longer enjoying activities you used to enjoy
  • finding it difficult to manage daily life, including work.

Rethink Mental Illness has more information on common symptoms and what to do if you’re worried about your mental health.

What to do if you have a mental health problem

If you’re worried about your mental health, your organisation may be able to make reasonable adjustments or help you find ways to manage your wellbeing while working or volunteering. Some reasonable adjustments your employer or place of volunteering may be able to put in place are:

  • changing your working or volunteering hours
  • organising for you to take some time off
  • re-organising your workload or moving deadlines
  • giving you information about mental health support available.

If you’re an employee, you can talk to your:

  • line manager
  • employer’s human resources (HR) department
  • employer’s health assistance programme, if they have one.

If you’re a volunteer you can talk to:

  • the volunteer manager
  • your supervisor
  • the HR department of the organisation you volunteer for.

Mind has advice on how to tell your employer about a mental health problem and getting support at work.

Who to talk to outside work

If you don’t feel comfortable talking about your mental health to someone at work, there are other ways to find support.

Talk to your GP

Your GP can talk you through the different types of treatment available and make a referral to services.

Find a therapist

If you can’t access therapy from the NHS or would like to seek therapy privately, you have other options. It’s still a good idea to speak to your GP first as they can suggest what type of treatment may be helpful.

Mind has information on how and where to find a therapist, including charity and third sector therapists.

Find your nearest NHS urgent helpline

The NHS urgent mental health helpline is open 24/7 for advice and support. You can call for yourself, your child, your parent or someone you care for.

Call an emotional support or advice helpline

Emotional support and advice helplines can help with information and support.

Self-refer to your local NHS psychological therapies service

If you’re over 18 and live in England you can use the NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service.

The IAPT service offers a range of therapies, including:

  • talking therapies
  • cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • counselling.

They can help with many mental health problems, including anxiety and depression.

Call 111 or ask for an urgent GP appointment

You should call 111 or ask for an urgent GP appointment if you:

  • need urgent help for your mental health but it’s not an emergency
  • can’t access your local NHS urgent helpline
  • need help but aren’t sure what to do.

111 will tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone. You can also use the online 111 service.

Call 999 or walk into an accident and emergency (A&E) department

If you don’t feel you can keep yourself or someone else safe, you should immediately call 999 or walk into an A&E department. To find your nearest A&E, use the NHS accident and emergency services finder.

The NHS has information on how a mental health emergency is treated in A&E.

Further support

Last reviewed: 01 August 2022

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This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 01 August 2022

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