Self Help

Self Help

There are things that you can do to help yourself manage and recover from mental health problems. This can include anything from leading a healthier lifestyle to joining self help groups or working through books and special computer courses. Some of these are recommended by health professionals as having benefit in the treatment of mental health problems. Others have added value in helping sleep, relieving stress or giving the opportunity to meet other people. You may find that some of the suggestions below may help in combination with other treatments offered by your GP or health professional. Discuss it with them first if you are unsure. Everyone is different, and some things work better for some people than others. It seems to be a case of finding what works for you.

Find out more:

Self Help Guides
Self help Groups
Computerised Self Help
Exercise & Physical Activity
Plan for a Crisis
Expert Patient Programme
Keep Healthy
Practical Help

Self-Help Guides
There are many self-help guides available - these include leaflets, books and audio CDs. All of these guides help you to understand why you feel the way you do, and how you can make changes to help you feel better. It can be hard work, but is very rewarding.
Jim tells us about his experience:

“I became depressed when I was diagnosed with arthritis and was unable to work. My local library stocks lots of self-help books which I used to help me sort out my depression and frustration at being too poorly to work. It took a lot of effort but I’m glad I stuck with it. I’m now coping with my illness and have gone back to work.”
Your local library has lots of books and self help information at the ‘Health Information Point’.

For self-help booklets on a range of conditions including depression, anxiety, panic, sleep, anger and more click here. You can get extra help from your doctor or mental health professional or you can choose to work on your own.

Self-Help Groups
Self-Help Groups provide a forum where people who are affected by a mental health problem or issue can meet to share experiences and coping strategies with others in similar situations. Groups aim to provide mutual support and understanding in a non-judgemental, confidential environment.

Group meetings are not the same as therapy, but many people find that they gain much from the support and understanding of other group members.

Click here for a list of self-help groups in Manchester including groups for anxiety and depression

Computerised Self-Help
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a ‘talking treatment’ used in treating problems like depression and anxiety. It involves a way of talking about how you think about yourself, the world and other people and how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings. CBT can involve talking directly to a mental health practitioner, working through a book based on CBT or working through a course on the computer.

Beating the Blues is a free computerised CBT course that runs in Harpurhey, Hulme and Wythenshawe. You can work through the programme on the computer, and a support worker is available to assist you if you need it. For more information visit the Self Help Services website or telephone them on 0161 232 7854

You can also use cCBT on the internet for free by visiting these sites:

http://www.livinglifetothefull.com/
http://moodgym.anu.edu.au/

David tells us how he experienced cCBT:
“Not everyone wants to use a computer programme to help them with their depression. I wasn’t keen at first as I wasn’t convinced that a computer could help me. However, there
was a therapist on hand to help me if I got stuck. I was so wrong: using computerised CBT was a big kick-start to get me on the road to recovery”

Exercise and Physical Activity
Being physically active is good for our mental health as it can release the ‘feel good’ chemicals in your brain which make us feel happy. It also has wider benefits in improving the way we look and feel about ourselves, helps us learn new skills and achieve goals. It can involve meeting new people and making new friends, gives structure to the day and can improve our sleep.

Remember that even if you haven’t done any activity for ages, even a little bit will have a strong effect. Start small and build yourself up. Being involved in all kinds of activity such as gardening, walking, dancing or housework can have benefits such as those described above. For a more structured and supported programme of exercise your GP may recommend an ‘exercise on referral scheme’ for your mental health. There is an exercise referral scheme for different parts of Manchester. They offer an assessment of your medical health and physical activity history, provide support for you to become active in a safe and supported environment and offer a range of physical activity including swimming, walking, Tai Chi, cycling and fitness centre workouts. Ask your GP for information.

Leisure activities especially for people with mental health problems:
• Free football sessions for people with mental health related issues. Just turn up. Ardwick Leisure Centre, Wednesday 2-3pm. Contact: Paul Evans 0161 861 2343. Cedar Mount High School, Mount Road, Gorton, Friday 4.30-5.45pm Contact: Gemma Ottiwell 0161 221 3054
• Sports Drop-in at Moss Side Leisure Centre Monday 2-4pm. A safe and accessible facility for vulnerable people. Badminton, football, table tennis and swimming available. For more information contact Paul Roberts, Sports Facilitator/Mental Health Worker on 0161 226 9562 or e-mail Paul on admin@acmhs-blackmentalhealth.org.uk
• Sports drop-in for men. Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre, Wythenshawe, Monday 1-3pm. Contact Tony Sheppard 0161 436 5432

Find out more:
There are lots of other opportunities to get more active where you live.
• Visit your local library for information about what’s going on in your area.
• Visit getting Manchester moving for more information.
• Download the Physical Activity and Mood: Self Help Guide.

Plan for a crisis.
During a crisis you may not be able to let people know what helps you. While you are well, you could explain your needs to someone you trust or put it in writing. This is called an advance directive.

The Expert Patient Programme
For people with long term health conditions and provides a 6 week course in which you look at how to better manage your conditions and look after yourself. Call 0161 219 9424

Keep Healthy
Taking care of your physical health, having a good diet and keeping physically active are likely to help your mental condition. Visit the Staying Well section for ideas. You can get a free health check at your GP surgery. Visit the NHS Manchester website to see what health services are available

Practical Help
When experiencing mental ill health it can be very difficult to manage other areas of our lives at the same time as focusing on recovery from illness. This can be an additional source of stress and worry. By getting help to sort out problems with things like housing, money and work for example, it will instantly relieve the strain. This will have benefits for your mental health and leave you free to focus on your mental health needs. Here are some contacts that may help:
Citizens Advice Bureau: offers free, confidential and impartial advice on a range of subjects including debt and welfare rights. Look in the phone book for your nearest branch, or find it online at www.manchestercab.org.uk
My Manchester Services: Information on general support services, e.g., living with a long term health condition, mental health and well being, general health, social support, carers services, managing your money, death and bereavement and many more.

“I became depressed when I was diagnosed with arthritis and was unable to work. My local library stocks lots of self-help books which I used to help me sort out my depression and frustration at being too poorly to work. It took a lot of effort but I’m glad I stuck with it. I’m now coping with my illness and have gone back to work.”

Your local library has lots of books and self help information at the ‘Health Information Point’.


 

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