If you are feeling out of control emotionally, or worried that you may have a mental health problem, there are a number of places you could go to first.
Your doctor can:
- Talk about your problems
- Check whether your problems have a physical cause
- Give you medicine for depression, anxiety and other conditions
- Refer you to an appropriate service
- Ask you to see their practice counsellor
- Send you to hospital
For many people, the road stops here. They are treated by their doctor and are happy with the result.
Remember: If you think your doctor may be too busy to talk through your problems, you can arrange with the receptionist for a long appointment. Or you could write everything down in a letter and send it to your doctor.
For more information about approaching a doctor, contact Advocacy Service North East Wales or telephone 01352 759332.
There are numerous helplines for all kinds of mental health problems.
- Give you very specialised advice - some helplines are focused on particular conditions like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and so on
- Put you in contact with local organisations who can help - national helplines may have lists of local agencies and local helplines
- Protect your identity - you do not have to tell the person on the other end who you are
- Provide a listening service
To contact the CALL Mental Health Helpline Telephone 0800 132 737.
Primary Care Mental Health Service
Primary Care Mental Health Service is a team which provides treatment and care services to adults with common mental health problems. You can make contact with the team yourself or ask your G.P. to refer you. An appointment will then be arranged for you to discuss your needs. Following this:
- It may be felt that no further action is required
- You may be signposted to other relevant specialist agencies and community groups
- You may be offered individual sessions with a member of staff or offered a place with a group of people with similar problems such as depression, anxiety or stress
To find out more about Primary Care Mental Health Service telephone: 03000 858 999
Offers talking therapies for people with mild to moderate mental health problems. Telephone 0300 777 2257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website www.parabl.org
For many people their journey stops at the doctor's surgery, or at a self-help group or at Primary Care Mental Health Service. But for other people, these services are not enough. You may find yourself referred to a Community Mental Health Team. If you are referred to a Community Mental Health Team, this does not mean that your problems are worse than other people's. It just means that you need more specialist help and because you are referred on, this doesn't mean that you will take longer to get better either.
So, what do these services have to offer?
Community Mental Health Teams
Community Mental Health Teams (C.M.H.T.s) are run jointly by Flintshire County Council Social Services and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. The Community Mental Health Team can offer you a range of services under one roof. Team members include:
- Social Workers
- Occupational Therapists
Although all the professionals have their own skills and interests, they all work together to provide the best mix of care for you. Because time and resources are limited, teams will only deal with people who are most in need.
If you have been referred to a team by your doctor, you will be allocated a Care Coordinator. The two of you should sit down and agree on your best course of treatment. This agreement will be written down and is called your Care Plan under the Care Plan Approach.
Very occasionally, as part of your care, your care coordinator may suggest that you spend some time in hospital. This does not mean you will be held there against your will or "sectioned". Most people in hospital for mental health problems go there freely, and are free to leave at any time. This is known as being an "informal patient".
To find out more about what happens in hospital see the next section. If you are very distressed you may be taken to hospital without your consent. You would then come under one of the sections of the Mental Health Act.
To find out more about the Community Mental Health Teams contact:
- Deeside Community Mental Health Team Telephone 03000 858 999
- Mold and Flint Community Mental Health Team Telephone 03000 85 0007
You can find yourself in hospital from a number of different routes. You may have been sent there by your doctor, by the Community Mental Health Team or you may be there under a section of the Mental Health Act. You are far less likely to be asked to go into hospital now than ten or twenty years ago and even if you do, your stay will probably be a short one.
You may be asked to go into hospital because:
- Your Care Coordinator wants to be absolutely sure that you have been given the right medication or treatment
- You are too distressed to be able to cope at home
If you go to hospital under your own free will, you are called a "voluntary patient". Most people in hospital are voluntary patients. If you do not like your treatment, you can leave at any time but it's a good idea to discuss it with the staff first. For more information on your rights in hospital contact the Advocacy Service North East Wales. Most hospitals will have an information leaflet telling you when visiting times are, where all the facilities like toilets are, what happens to your possessions and so on. You can usually find banks, cafes, places of worship and advice centres at, or close to the hospital.
To find out more about the hospitals contact:
Heddfan Psychiatric Unit, Wrecsam Maelor Hospital Telephone 01978 726 800.
If people around you are concerned that you might harm yourself or other people, you can be taken to hospital without your consent. This means you are treated under the various different sections of the Mental Health Act 1983. Many of the organisations in the "other useful contacts" section below will be able to give you information on the Mental Health Act.