for better mental health

Seeking help for a mental health problem

A guide to taking the first steps, making empowered decisions and getting the right support for you.

How could the third sector help?

Although the NHS is the largest provider of healthcare in the UK, there are often other support options to help you cope with a mental health problem. These include various community and third sector (charity) organisations such as:

  • local Minds
  • counselling centres
  • community organisations
  • university counselling services (if you are a student).

These kinds of services are normally free or low cost, and can offer a range of support, such as:

However, they are not likely to:

  • give you a diagnosis
  • provide medical services, such as psychiatry
  • prescribe medication.

How do I find these kind of services?

These kind of services aren't always easy to find, so it's worth asking around.

  • Doing an internet search could be a good place to start. You could use a search engine, or try using the Hub of Hope website which has been set up by Chasing the Stigma (a mental health charity) to help you find local services near you.
  • Your local library or community centre may know about groups running near you.
  • Your GP or practice nurse might recommend local organisations you could contact.
  • Mind’s Infoline might also be able to help you find services in your area.
  • If you are a student, your student services department can let you know if your university or college provides any free counselling services.

You can often self-refer to these services, and you may also be referred by your GP.

This information was published in December 2017. We will revise it in 2020.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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