Mental Health Self-Help:
This page aims to give some alternative direction and advice for patients with mental health problem such as depression, low mood, or general anxiety. Please find below links to resources and services that may enable you to self-manage your problem between GP appointments.
If you are taking antidepressants, they may take several days or weeks until they produce a noticeable benefit and may also present some undesirable side effects. However taking the medication consistently as prescribed by your GP is important even if you start to feel better.
Although medication may help your depression chemically, talking therapies can help you learn techniques to manage the condition. This can be helpful to anyone, even after years of coping. Talking therapies may enable you to better understand and tackle your mental health problem independently.
You can self-refer to these therapies.
Talking Therapies Berkshire: This local service can be accessed by self referral as well as via a GP. They offer talking therapy sessions as well as workshops and other resources.
Tel: 0300 365 2000
Mental Health Crisis team: A mental health crisis is where you feel unable to cope with you problem, whether it is depression, anxiety, or anything else. The Berkshire crisis team can support you during this time
Tel: 0300 365 9999
Samaritans: offer someone to talk to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Tel: 116 123
Switchboard LGBT+: Provides listening services, information and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities across the country.
Tel: 0300 330 0630
Big White Wall: Offers safe online support 24/7 by trained staff.
Exercise is shown to be a great help to both physical health problems as well as psychological ones. Depending on your age, up to 150 minutes of moderate exercise (cycling or walking) a week may help lift your mood and reduce feelings of stress or anxiety. Yoga is also a good way of building strength and focussing on breathing techniques.
Learn more about the benefits of exercise on the NHS website.
Find what exercise suits you here.
Below are some local exercise opportunities:
Walking for Health groups: England’s largest network of health walk schemes, with a West Berkshire group that runs regular health walks with supportive trained volunteers.
Newbury and Thatcham Green Gym: Free voluntary group that combines staying fit with carrying out conservation work at various locations around the Newbury and Thatcham area of West Berkshire.
Newbury ParkRun: 5km run every Saturday at 9am on Greenham Common for all paces.
Work & Finances:
Mental health problems can result in a difficult relationship with work or a job. Sometimes time off work is necessary in coping with depression, but returning to work is also an important part of the management process. Balancing finances may also pose challenges that may make a low mood worse. Sometimes benefits are also available to help cope with financial obligations if you are unable to work.
Citizens Advice West Berkshire: This free impartial service offers everyone advice on a range of issues including debt, benefits and employment.
Tel: 0300 222 5941
Students Against Depression: Offers advice and resources for students struggling with mental health issues
Visit the NHS website for advice and information on returning to work after mental health issues.
Maintaining a healthy diet is beneficial for both mental as well as physical health. Pursuing a healthy diet may give structure to a self-help regime as well as directly helping your mood improve.
Alcohol & Smoking:
When faced with a difficult mental health problem it may be easy to smoke or drink more than you would normally. However alcohol and smoking can make dealing with depression and other problems harder in the longer term and may result in further problems with dependency. It may also prevent medication from working fully and prevent full recovery. Lots of help exists if you are trying to quit drinking or smoking.
Addaction: Addaction support adults, children, young adults and older people to make positive behavioral changes, whether that’s with alcohol, drugs, or mental health and wellbeing.
Regular use of drugs such as cannabis may make a mental health problem worse and harder to deal with, even if you don’t notice this at first. It is important to try and stop drug misuse when tackling a mental health problem. For help in quitting and general advice visit:
Swanswell: An alcohol and drug abuse charity with a branch in Newbury.
Talk to Frank: A free online information service that provides impartial advice about drugs.
Tel: 0300 123 6600
Mindfulness: Mental exercises to remind people to focus on what is going on inside and outside, moment by moment. It is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a way to aid depression. NHS Choices provides an introduction to mindfulness.
Podcasts & Books: There are many Podcasts to listen to and books to read to help with depression.
NHS Choices offers some audio guides to help through times when you are anxious or have a low mood.