Words by Smiley Team
Caring for yourself lays the foundations for doing all kinds of extraordinary things in life. But in times of great difficulty, self-care can become impossible and you may need to reach out for support. When this happens, you will need to know where to turn and the best courses of action you can take.
It’s not as simple as weighing up different therapies or lifestyles though. According to Martin Fewster of the mental health charity, Together, there’s no definitive answer to how best to maintain or restore good mental health. Instead, it’s different for everybody.
He tells Smiley News: “Something we prioritise within our mental health services is people’s lived experience and it is important to remember that everyone is different and there is no one size fits all solution if someone is struggling with their mental health.”
What does he mean by this? In Together’s case, it means going to the root cause of the problem.
The charity works with people who have experienced a wide variety of challenges that have impacted their mental wellbeing. To help them, they take these diverse circumstances into account so that staff can learn from and tailor support to each individual.
A whole range of difficulties can affect people in different ways. Our mental health can suffer due to a lack of secure housing, employment, bereavement, debt and any number of stress factors.
While the key obstacle to recovery is circumstantial, support will depend largely on how you can overcome or remove whatever is in your control.
Because of this, Together UK’s primary approach is to help people tackle the challenges that are causing their suffering in the first place.
“What we have found the most helpful is supporting people to resolve any external stressors and helping people with issues that can contribute to mental distress such as homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction or domestic violence and linking with specialist support can really benefit people’s mental health,” he explains.
It’s due to the very wide range of challenges in life that nobody will require the exact same support. As a general step to take while seeking help though, Martin suggests practising self-compassion. “If people ever think they may be being hard on themselves in terms of their inner voice to consider if they would treat a friend the way they are treating themselves.”
Sharing your worries with others can also help. “In terms of the best thing people can do, I’d say that is to be open about your own mental health and to share how you are feeling with a trusted friend, family member or your GP,” he says.
“Discussing how you’re feeling and being receptive and compassionate with others if they want to share is always a good thing,” he adds.
Here are six UK-based organisations working to help people with their mental health. Support their work by following the links below.
This charity takes a forward-thinking approach, helping people with their mental health in the long term. To do this their staff link individuals with other services that will help them rebuild their lives and overcome circumstantial challenges.
Mind is one of the largest mental health charities in the UK, helping people by distributing resources and advice.
Co-ordinated by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Heads Together is a campaign for better awareness about mental health issues.
Mental Health UK delivers support, services and advice for people struggling with mental health challenges across the country.
Dedicated to supporting young people and their parents, Young Minds offers advice, resources and campaigns to build awareness about mental health.
Run by people facing mental health challenges, Rethink helps people with expert advice, information, training, and 90 different services. They also campaign for broader change.