Most people initially access services by seeing their GP who can then make a referral if needed. Some services, for example talking therapy services, accept referrals directly from individuals.
There is a broad array of mental health services accessible to individuals who need support with their mental health both in terms of therapies available and the professionals involved. More detailed information about these is available on this site under the sections ‘Types of professional’ and ‘Psychological therapy’.
Mental health services are designed to provide support and treatment for individuals who are experiencing issues with their mental health and wellbeing. However, as a service user it can be challenging to utilise this support, it is important to remember that the professionals are there to try and help in whatever ways they can and their aim is to reduce suffering and distress.
As a service user it is helpful to consider what it is that you would like to achieve with the support of mental health services and make it clear to them. If you feel it is appropriate it can also be valuable to have friends and family involved in your care, they can advocate on your behalf if you don’t feel that you are being heard or feel unable to speak out yourself.
Try not to feel pressured into doing things that aren’t right for you, sometimes what others feel is best for you is not what feels right for you. It’s okay to disagree but it might be worthwhile thinking about alternatives that you feel would be more helpful e.g. not wanting to attend a mental health group and instead considering a hobby group.
If you are currently being supported by a mental health team, you are able to request information about your care and treatment and should do this via your care co-ordinator/keyworker.
People being supported by mental health teams should have a care plan, a written agreement of how you will work together in your recovery. This plan should be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it is working and is still relevant. The framework under which care is organised is called the ‘Care Programme Approach’ (CPA) and more details about this can be found on the NHS website.
NHS mental health services
For information about how to access NHS mental health services, visit the appropriate website for where you live:
Real Life Experience
If you’d like to share your real life experience, please email firstname.lastname@example.org