How Do I Gain Access To Mental Health Services?

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One in four people will experience a mental health problem during the course of any one year. This is a whopping 25 percent of the population. Unfortunately many people go undiagnosed and suffer unnecessarily.

If you suspect that you or someone close to you has a mental health problem then it’s important to seek help quickly. Many people make the mistake of thinking they can cope alone and will try to just get on with it, believing that it will go away on its own. The reality is that without help it is more likely to get worse instead of better whereas with proper treatment, most mental health problems can be resolved and the individual can get back to their old self and regain control of their life.

How to recognise a mental health problem

The following symptoms are not an exhaustive list, they are merely an indication that you may be suffering from a mental health problem but the presence of them does not necessarily mean that you are. We can all feel down and unmotivated at times; it is a normal part of life. It is when the symptoms are prolonged or severe and when they are preventing you from carrying out your normal daily routines, or they are affecting your relationships or your work that you may need help.

•    Low moods or sadness for most of the time and an inability to take pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
•    Sleeping difficulties where you sleep too much and find it difficult to get up in the morning, you cannot get to sleep at night or you wake up during the night and find it difficult to get back to sleep
•    Changes in appetite along with weight fluctuations
•    Feelings of guilt, unworthiness, and that you are to blame for everything
•    Anxiety and excessive worrying about everything or panic attacks
•    Feeling irritable and aggressive
•    Extreme mood swings
•    Avoidance of social situations
•    Bizarre thoughts and ideas
•    Thoughts of suicide

Recognising that there is a problem is a good start and the first step to getting well again. Initially you should speak to a doctor. Your doctor will be able to advise you on what the best course of action is for your particular case by taking into account your medical and family history, your current health and personal circumstances and rule out any existing health conditions that may be causing or contributing to your symptoms.

For many people a visit to their doctor is all that is required and your doctor will be able to prescribe medication, and if necessary, refer you to a counsellor or a psychotherapist or to the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT).

What is the Community Mental Health Team?

The Community Mental Health Team consists of a team of professionals, for example, psychiatrists, community psychiatric nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists, etc. who are skilled in their respective areas and who can work with each other and with you to ensure you get the right treatment and support.

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