Information and support for those with a mental health problem.
If you're feeling low or anxious you are not alone. 1 in 4 people will have mental health problems at some point in their lives.
If you're feeling very distressed, despairing or suicidal and need immediate help, please contact your GP and ask them for an emergency appointment, contact Samaritans (opens in a new window) on 116 123 or go to the Accident and Emergency department at your nearest hospital.
The BCP Council Suicide Prevention Plan (opens in a new window) has information about how it will contribute towards promotion of well-being and prevention of self-harm in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area.
Getting help with your mental health
If you've been feeling low or depressed for more than a few weeks or your anxiety is affecting your daily life, make an appointment to speak to your GP.
Your GP will talk to you about your symptoms, how long you have been having them and how they are affecting your life. It can be helpful to write down a list of things you would like to ask your GP before you have your appointment.
For more common problems such as depression and anxiety, your GP can give you a diagnosis. For less common problems you will be referred to a mental health specialist in your local Community Mental Health Team (CMHT).
NHS Choices (opens in a new window) has information about specific mental health problems.
Rethink (opens in a new window) have a large range of factsheets including what to expect when you talk to your GP, the Mental Capacity Act, treatments and recovery.
If you have been diagnosed with a mental health problem, the two most common treatments are medication and talking therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
You might be offered both talking therapy and medication as part of your treatment. You don't have to choose between them and you can have both treatments together if you want to.
Medication does not cure mental health problems, but it can help to reduce some of the symptoms. There are different drugs depending on your diagnosis.
Mind (opens in a new window) has information about different medication, what you need to know before taking it and information about possible side effects.
Talking therapy allows you to talk to a trained professional about how you are feeling and your experiences. They can help you to understand your feelings and behaviour.
Mind (opens in a new window) has information about talking therapies, how they work and what you can expect.
There are many ways you can help yourself feel better. Self-help therapy can be a useful first step if you are unsure whether or not to seek further help.
Mind (opens in a new window) has some good tips for looking after yourself.
The Steps to Wellbeing Service (opens in a new window) is a free, confidential, NHS service for people aged 18 and over. They provide a service across the county of Dorset for people registered at a Dorset GP surgery. They offer a range of treatments and can give support over the telephone, face-to-face, in groups or via the internet.
The Recovery Education Centre (opens in a new window) offer a wide range of free recovery-focused educational courses. These can support you to recognise your potential through self-management, to deal with the mental and physical health challenges you experience and to achieve the things you want to in life. The courses are mainly based in the community, so you should not have to travel too far to attend.
Living Life to the Full (opens in a new window) is a free online course which teaches techniques to help you manage stress and anxiety on a day to day basis.
Things to do
Doing an activity you enjoy and talking to others can give you a boost. We have a list of activities in our service provider directory (opens in a new window), including sports, arts and crafts, music and more.
Volunteering is a good way to help yourself while helping others.
Stay active outdoors
Being outdoors can increase your mental and physical wellbeing. This is sometimes called green therapy.
You can try a range of voluntary and paid occupational activities which use the outdoor environment as a form of therapy. Green therapy includes a large range of activities such as allotment schemes, plant nurseries, riding centres and care farms.
Books on prescription
Reading Well Books on Prescription (opens in a new window) can help you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using self-help reading. The books are available to borrow from your local library.
Going to a support group or attending an activity group with other people who are experiencing mental health problems can be a good way to get support and meet new people.
We have a directory of support groups for people with mental health problems.
Dorset Mental Health Forum (opens in a new window) run various social activities, peer support and sports groups across Dorset.
Many libraries across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (opens in a new window) and Dorset (opens in a new window) offer the Books on Prescription Service (opens in a new window) which aims to help you to understand and manage your health and well-being through reading.
If you need help to express your views and wishes, advocacy may help you.
There is no right or wrong way to support someone with a mental health problem.
Mind (opens in a new window) has useful information if the person you care for has not been diagnosed and you would like to support them to get help.
It can help to understand the diagnosis of the person you care for as it can help you to understand how it affects them. Mind (opens in a new window) has information about specific mental health problems and how you can give support.
Carers support groups may help if you want to get information and talk to others who have been through similar experiences.
As a carer, it is important to look after your own health. We have information and support for carers.
Mind (opens in a new window) has advice about how to stay mentally healthy at work.
If you need support to find employment, look at our service provider directory (opens in a new window).
We have information about welfare benefits.