Stress, anxiety and depression

Stress, anxiety and depression

 

Welcome to the Moodzone

"Why do I feel so down?" "How can I feel happier?" "Can I control my fears?"

Whatever you need to know about boosting your mood, coping with stress, anxiety or depression or simply improving your overall emotional wellbeing, the NHS Choices Moodzone is here to help. It offers practical, useful information, interactive tools and videos to support you on your way to feeling better.

Before you get started

Do you need urgent mental health help now?

If you've had thoughts of self-harming or are feeling suicidal, contact someone immediately such as your GP, a friend, a relative or someone you can trust. If you have already taken an overdose or cut yourself badly, dial 999.

The Moodzone covers "sub-clinical" mood-related content. This means it deals with feelings, mood and common life problems that are not clinical diagnoses. You might be trying to find help because you’ve been feeling down for a few days, or you’re having a stressful time at work which is causing you to feel worried and anxious. The best way to work out where to go next is to take the mood assessment quiz.

If you want to talk to someone right away, the mental health helpline page has a list of organisations you can call for immediate assistance. These are helplines with specially trained volunteers who'll listen to you, understand what you're going through and help you through the immediate crisis. The Samaritans operates a service 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for people who want to talk in confidence. Call 08457 90 90 90.

If you’ve been feeling depressed for more than a few weeks, or your anxiety is becoming obstructive in your daily life, make an appointment to speak to your GP.

Finding your way around

The big blue tabs at the top of the page list the contents of each Moodzone section. Just hover your cursor over each tab and select the page you want from the dropdown menu. 

If you can't find what you're after in the Moodzone, try the Search box at the top of the page – it covers everything on the wider NHS Choices site, including clinical information on conditions and treatments, advice on how to have a healthier lifestyle and information for people who are looking after someone else

Be sure to check out the useful links and tools promoted on the right-hand side, as you may find these helpful.

The Moodzone is divided into three sections:

Common problems

This section explains what low mood and depression, stress, anger, anxiety and panic are and points you towards more information on getting help and things you can do, for yourself and for others.

What you can do now

Feel ready to make a change? You can begin improving your mood right away. Moodzone offers tips and how-to guides to get you started, including the steps you can take to achieve better mental wellbeing and information about available treatments.

Moodzone also offers eight audio guides that you can listen for advice on how to approach common problems with mental wellbeing. These include:

Real stories

If you’re feeling sad, angry or stressed, remember you’re not alone. Read the real-life stories from others who have experienced a range of emotional conditions. Find out how they got help and are now coping with these common emotional problems.


Page last reviewed: 30/08/2012

Next review due: 30/08/2014

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Comments

The 32 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

SI32 said on 14 September 2014

DJW35 I have gone the opposite route for my treatment. I have been taking Citalopram (20mg) for depression and sever anxiety for about 6 weeks now. I'm actually starting to feel a little like I used to prior to the anxiety. I even have started to feel "normal" again. I know I can't take them forever and I am on the list for counselling. The tablets have given me some inner calm and time to reflect on whether this is more recent or whether I have always had issues and triggers. If I went to counselling prior to the pills I'm not sure I'd be coming out feeling any better. I was in a horrid place before and I really don't want to get there again. I really hope you find some way of combating the anxiety too.

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JIJI said on 14 September 2014

Hi,
I am 32 year old Indian working in UAE at present, i am suffering 24/7 constant pain below Chest (exactly at Sternum area) since Dec 2012 and at present it is same and non stop. I had all my test done in UAE- all test reports were normal..(test like TMT, TB,GERD) all medicine antacid i had but no relief for 1-2 hrs. i had done hemorriod surgery 2 times in 3 years still noticed of constipation..
Dr. told its GERD symptoms ,treated but no relief with medicine since 6mths used..

Dr. told its due to stress/Anxiety..do deep breathing exercise
presently i am on no medication, not taking any medication but since no relief

My symptoms are: (1) Constant 24/7 sternum/chest pain since dec 2012 (2) 6-9 Farting/gas daily since may 2013 (3) Left Leg when itching it turns black and skin turn hard only 1-2 months since 3 years.

My relief symptoms are (1) taking hot bath..relief for 1 hrs..(2) on bed rest.. with no pain notice.

Please help ......24 months i am suffering constant 24/7 pain ..

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DJW35 said on 08 September 2014

I am 36 years old and have always had an easy going and friendly nature. Normally very relaxed.

In the last year I have suffered from anxiety, unfortunately 18 months ago my marriage ended and I felt guilty in regards to this. I have two young children, whom I adore but missed them terribly. At the time it was the right decision. Roll on 6 months (a year ago) I started a new relationship, but because of my guilt and being very anxious regarding anything to do with the split and kids. It became too much for the other person and she split with me in April this year. I have a good job but i now find I am unable to make decisions. I worry, get pins and needles, feel sick, edgy and down constantly.

I have been to counselling, this has not worked and given my background I didnt think it would. I have been to the doctors three times about this but they do not want to give me medication. Iv been too afraid to ask. Today i am going back and I cant cope with the stress and need them to step up to the mark and help me so I can begin to sort out my life and be there with a smile on my face for my children. Realise this post sounds very self absorbed but I need to focus on what is going to make me better at this moment. I have to or i will just become more anxious than ever... Thanks for reading.

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Woody7 said on 03 September 2014

Hi all just so you don’t make the same mistake I recently did about stopping my daily dose of Citalopram, which I’ve been taking for a number of years. Without going into details of all the life problems I’ve had in the last 18 months, my mother died in March and I found I could hardly cry about it, and I was suffering stomach pain. I think I rightly diagnosed that physical problem as being related to the involuntary ‘holding in’ of my emotions. I stopped taking it in May, and sure enough after two weeks I found I could cry, which gave a feeling of release, and the stomach disorder subsided. I did suffer weird things like light-headedness and vivid dreams, but I read about this on the internet and wasn’t too concerned. I was ok for about 5 weeks, and then started to suffer the familiar feelings of depression. I lost my 62 year old brother unexpectedly in July. I experienced an all-consuming feeling of raw anxiety, with crying being an almost usual part of every day and at any time. I have been back on the tablets for 5 weeks, and I have experienced some improvement, although I know I have a good way to go yet. Please don’t stop your medicine suddenly as I did. I feel I gave them up for the right reasons, but due to some very stressful and worrying problems one after the other, I found I just wasn’t equipped to do this.

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Paegas88 said on 25 August 2014

Hi all,i suffer from anxiety since last year.I think the trigger to all of this feelings was that my expartner stopped to seeing me my lil man.I started to take a medication such as citalopram.And It helped so after 6 months of taking it i stopped and i had my good and bad days but in general felt good.All the feeling came back maybe month ago and i felt hopeless like im going to loose my mind and played with the question if this life is worth it and things like that...scaring...so im back on medication which is only small price to pay to feel good.I'm amazed how many people are having this problems,but please be strong and im sure we can win this fight and be winners because i cant see us as losers...We are not losers or weirdos or any other names we just recognise how we feel as I personaly think every person has that feelings but they cant name it as we do so this is advatage for us.Always find good in this bad situation such as:you can help others,can talk to them if they feel down,be more helpfull etc etc...its lots of think how to use this feeling and knowledge...So heads up and good luck...Even the false smile will say to your brain you happy...and that is what we all heading for,isnt it?To be HAPPY...Love to you all...and live your life like there is no tomorrow..tell your closest how much you love them...make them feel happy,being around happy people will make you happy...CARPE DIEM...God bless you

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wendychance said on 22 August 2014

This is an amazing article that must have helped many people overcome there anxiety. There is a need of articles and pieces of information like these in our society. Brilliant work!

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Shaz96 said on 23 July 2014

Hi, I have been dealing with mood swings, depression and anxiety for a while now. I have been to a 7 week course of counseling to deal with this recently, and I had CBT there too. But I found this helped for a few weeks and now I have just slipped back in to my old ways of feeling constantly depressed, anxious and panicky as well as going from up and down moods all the time. It's got to the stage now where I want to go out but I feel like I physically can't because I have all these thoughts running through my head. Whenever I try to overcome the anxiety my mind goes blank and I forget what I am supposed to do to help stop feeling like this. Then it makes me depressed because I'm stuck in again. So it's like a never ending thing. I constantly feel ill with no energy or motivation to do anything, even the simplest of tasks such as making food or getting out of bed. I am only 17 years old and I shouldn't be feeling like this every single day of my life. I think the way I am feeling is because of my past which has built up over the years. I really do believe nothing else is going to work after the counseling, even though I am trying to think positive, it isn't working. It's affecting my life, I don't feel like a normal 17 year old. Everyone says it's probably just hormones but I know it's something much more than that. I am insecure about myself and have really low self esteem when it comes to the way I look and especially my weight. Even though I know I'm not fat! No one really seems to understand how I am feeling at the moment which is quite frustrating. I'm just wondering if anyone has any advice on how I can deal with this? Without going through more counseling sessions that I think didn't do much good. I want to get this sorted sooner rather than later so I can lead a normal and happy life and look forward to the future instead of constantly in fear of what will happen. Thanks a lot x

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sophs_rose said on 11 June 2014

dear all, I had a period in my life where I was so low that I considered harming myself. I was only a teen. I was very insecure about my self and the way I looked. My insecurities got worse and worse knowing that everyday I had to attend school knowing there were people waiting to knock the last bit of confidence out of me. I would dread walking through the gates and all I would think about was getting out of school as soon as possible. they called me fat, taunted me every day about my weight. I didn't know how to cope, the worst part was being victimised by a member of staff as she was a relative of the bully. If I was upset she would blame it on me and say I was calling her names. I couldn't look at myself in the mirror, I would go home and cry myself to sleep. I wanted to escape, leave school, I didn't want to be here because I didn't believe I was worthy to breathe the same air as them. However I knew I was stronger than that, better than them. I began to stop eating, I lost a lot of weight, caused worry for my relatives and realised that it wasn't fair on them, I knew I had to be strong for them. I began making new friends I felt worthy of I life, I believed in myself and that if I'm not beautiful on the outside I have a better heart than they will ever have. I have learnt no matter how hard things get you must believe in yourself to achieve the very best you can. If its others making you feel low, rise above it. Your better than them, stronger than them. They are insecure so to make them feel better they beat you down but I guarantee you are beautiful, you are perfect in every way and never let anyone tell you different, everyone has imperfections. Just believe in yourself and you can achieve anything you want to achieve, rise above their pathetic words.

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Oldcat said on 02 May 2014

For uk84matty.
I have experienced Anhedonia and Depression more than once in my life and am now taking antidepressants permanently. It is a small price to pay to feel well. I have also worked with depression professionally so I feel I have significant experience to be able to advise others.

There are many, many different types of anti-depressant and if your GP is not interested in trying others then I would suggest you see a different GP or move to a different GP Practice. It is your right and the GPs responsibility to try other things to try and help you get well.

The lack of emotion is most certainly a form of depression especially considering what you have experienced. Sometimes getting better (and staying well) can be quite hard work which involves persevering with medication for at least 6 weeks befor deciding whether or not it is working for you. It can also work so slowly that it doesn't seem to be working until you look back and see a difference as small as this may be.

Do you have any kind of support around you that you feel you can talk to? People say that talking about how you feel doesn't change anything but it actually does.

If none of the medications help in any way then ask your GP for a referral to a psychiatrist (specialist help). Donet settle for second rate treatment by your GP.

Good luck.

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uk84matty said on 25 April 2014

I've been depressed for as long as I can remember. Or at least I thought I was. I'm emotionally dead inside. I have no sex drive or have any interest or enjoyment in things I usually do which I know I do like.

I've only recently been to the doctors in the past 18 months about it as I've not felt brave enough to openly discuss it.
At 1st I was put on fluoxetine, but due to not being able to get an appointment it was about 6 months before I managed to go back. I was put back on fluoxetine and referred for counselling but after about 3 sessions moved onto CBT. The CBT helped a little in making things clearer, but didn't change me inside. Fluoxetine had no affect either.

After another trip to the doctors, I was put on Mirtazapine. Not been on them long but I know they won't work.

In the past 6 years, I have lost my Granddad, Brother, Nan, Cat, Mum and my other Cat in that order. My brother I burst into tears after getting the phone call. My mum on the other hand I saw her in the place she passed and to this day I have not grieved (been 12 months).

After getting frustrated, I have googled dead emotions and come across Anhedonia - which describes the way I feel exactly.

After another trip to the doctors to let them know I'm anhedonic - I don't really feel depressed, just no emotion etc, it seems like they weren't interested into looking into a different medication, just gave me more Mirtazapine and said I need to take them for at least 6 months. I'm nearly 30 and I feel like I'm just wasting time.

Has anybody else felt the same or had the same with the medication and has it improved or stayed the same?
I'm prepared to take the medication and give it a go, but not if its going to waste time.

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TheresaSue said on 07 April 2014

@jennymon:
I feel very sorry that you're going through this and feel that your dr isn't even listening to you. I don't know what kind of painkillers they're giving you, but *please* be very careful. Especially if they're opiates, you could end up in bigger trouble than you're in now,due to their addictive nature.
You don't say if you have parents or another support system to help you, but it sounds as though you need a competent dr. and fast. Depression will not be cured by taking a painkiller, nor will you get better continuing to see a dr. who refuses to take you seriously. I wish you the very best and hope you are able to find a competent professional to help you!

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EricPode said on 07 April 2014

Hi Kim1234 - of course what you're saying makes sense. Mood swings are really horrible aren't they? One minute you feel awful - you can't stop crying, and you don't know why. Then the next, you feel fine - great even - and you wonder why the hell you were ever unhappy.

I've had this for a while now and the NHS have been great. CBT has helped, as has meditation. Also, I have a hormonal imbalance that contributes to this, which I'm getting help for.

Kim - you're not alone in this. The bad news is that it will take quite a while to get better. But the great news is that you CAN get better. Some days, you won't believe that it's true, but it really, really is.

Love and happiness always.

Eric

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jennymon said on 24 March 2014

I don't no what to do, I feel so down and depressed. I have some health problems that worry me a lot but every time I go to the doctors I don't feel that they lesson to me and I end up coming out feeling even more depressed because I haven't said what I wont to say, and if I have I haven't been lessoned to I couldent even get a sick note even through my blood pressure has been very high for the last 6 weeks and iv had this sharp pain in my left side, all I get told is take pain killers but they don't work and I feel ill but I still have to go to work. what do I do

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Kim1234 said on 18 March 2014

I feel like screaming because I'm not the person I was, I don't know who I am any more. I'm married I have 2 beautiful children and I work 16 hrs a week all sounds normal. Half of the day I feel great as if I'm never going to feel like this ever again and in seconds I feel as if I'm going mental. Im so scared I feel as if I'm here but not living well like a robot. If you ask me what I did yesterday I can't tell you unless I really really try and with that my head feels as if I'm going to explode, im really starting to worry about it.I'm snappy no energy, thoughts I'm not going to be here for long tearful and then on top of the world. My husband don't understand how I can be fine 1 minute then a different person the next. Nether do I please help if you've ever felt like this or even if it makes sence X

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tr2408m said on 17 March 2014

I've had anxiety before about 8 years ago but has come back.
I feel very low but my partner goes on fb and plays games, especially when i'm at work as i've told him i don't trust him.
He is always on there and tells me he isn't doing anything behind my back but has caused me to go to the doctors to tell me i have anxiety. I have to have counselling, I find it really hard to control it and have sessions where i keep crying.
I constantly worry my partner is doing things behind my back

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Df14 said on 26 February 2014

I have been low in mood for a while now a d I think I have denied it having an impact on my marriage. However we are now separating! And my husband says if I were not depressed it would not be impacting on me as severely as it is doing. I am praying that if I get some help that our relationship will reconvene because I cannot imagine life without him.

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Waqs86 said on 02 February 2014

Hi, I'm not sure if I am depressed or just low. I seem to have lost interest in everything and tend to keep myself isolated from others. I feel numb and struggle to get a decent nights sleep. I don't really want to go to the doctors. What should I do to make sure I'm fine I would rather deal with any issues now then just continue to lose grip.

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KAGPPA20 said on 15 January 2014

I am 20 years of age, I secretly know I'm suffering with something but I don't seek for medical help unless it gets dangerous. I'm currently suffering with PCOS, I work nightshifts and my sleeping patterns are fatigue, I struggle to associate with most people but successfully talk to others.
My job role consists of working with palliative patients. For 3 years I have slowly fallen into the 'numb' stage. I've learnt to accept that it's part of life, and life goes on.
It's a constant fighting battle everyday when you're going through PCOS. You try so hard to live because not many people out there can, but again, struggling to pick yourself up. I am much better than I used to be but still feel like it's a neverending journey.
My childhood wasn't great and I'm seeking to settle water under the bridge with that someone. I am very grateful I have a loving family and a handful of friends, but it's hard to differentiate when you're feeling dissociated.
Sometimes it's good to let it all out, bottling up makes you feel so low.
The only way is up...

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dslangmead08 said on 02 January 2014

I am 17 years of age and think i am suffering from depression, i went through a break up but however we are back together my mum is very overpowering and i feel i can tell her nothing - i am falling behind at college and am hoping to go to uni and have interviews however i have lost all motivation i cant sleep properly and always sleep in the day - dont want to do anything and everything is an effort to do. i really want to get this sorted aas quite frankly i am too busy to be dealing with this condition and need to get out of as quickly as possible someone please help!

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nicandrob said on 03 December 2013

I have suffered from anxiety and the first time this happened it scared the life out of me. my first panic attack made me feel like i was going to die. had suicidal thoughts and thought i wpuld never be myself again. my doctor prescribed citalopram and it really has helped me. i still have the odd day when i feel a little anxious but i am me again and even though i may take a tablet for the rest of my life that is a small price to pay now i am well.

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LHFR93 said on 06 November 2013

I have been suffering with anxiety for roughly 4 years now. I am 20 years old and have always found it very difficult to keep calm, relax or shut my mind off when it starts to overload. Therefore, I am always on the go and causing more problems necessary. I have often found myself being scooped up from the floor from having a breakdown over my assignments at University and College. I also made myself extremely ill and lost 5lbs in one week as I was terrified of flying alone to the USA to visit family. I had 2-3 hours sleep every night for a month, ate hardly anything and my stomach was awfully sore from having a nervous tummy throughout that time. I couldn't cope any more as I ended up being that exhausted, I couldn't even let out a cry. Chunks of hair were falling out in the shower and I was vomiting all the time. I am now on citalopram which helps me calm down and keep my panic attacks under control unless faced in a very stressful moment. Please don't keep this in the dark - it can ruin lives let alone take a toll on them. Speak to a GP and either see a Counsellor who can also be very helpful and request medication if necessary. Nobody is ever alone in this situation as stress, anxiety and depression are very common.

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geoff artley said on 27 October 2013

What about FrontoTemporal Dementia?

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Phoeeeeb said on 11 October 2013

I am 17 and for 3 months have been very unwell, went to hospital and had all the tests done..nothing was found, so then i was left not knowing anything, this scared me. I find myself having panic attacks even if i find a bite on my leg or something, i immediately think i'm ill. I constantly feel tired and dont feel like eating, and i dont know if this is down to anxiety or if i'm physically not well still. I was ill for most of the summer holidays and beginning of school and still find myself taking days off because i cant cope i feel so run down. i havent been out with my friends for so long and i used to be a right party girl! so i went to my doctor to try and find help because i hate my life how it is, but nothing. The service they provide on the NHS you have to be 18, thats 6 months away and im in my last year of sixth form i cant wait that long. So i am completely left in the dark unless my parents can fund for me to go privately. i think this is ridiculous. there are so many people who suffer from anxiety it ruins their life, but to know i cant get help for another 6 months leaves me feeling more anxious.

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DanTaylor502 said on 10 October 2013

Sometimes the mental health services just make you feel like you won't be taken seriously until you try and kill yourself. I'm not saying this is something anyone should ever do that but most GP's don't seem to understand that depression is a serious problem for some people.

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DanTaylor502 said on 10 October 2013

It's all shiny and nice but when it comes down to actual help, in my experience, there isn't any. I've been suffering from serious depression brought on by homelessness, isolation and relationship breakdown which is crippling my life and mind. After calling my GP I was told to pick myself up and call Samaritans if I need someone to talk to. I didn't even get a referral to someone who could help. I think that the NHS is too quick to "diagnose" problems in children and too quick to dismiss them in adults.

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Dave 2409 said on 19 September 2013

I am appaled by the general dismisal of mental health in the NHS, i found the counciling quite useless, it was oversimlified and counter productive to me.
Basically, i think its now a vast problem in the UK that it simply cannot be dealt with effectivey and thus brushed under te carpet.

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angelast said on 25 January 2013

As much as I recognise the value of mental health services to those who need them, I feel the need to highlight the outcome of my many years struggling with debilitating panic attacks incase there's anyone out there with a similar problem. I started with intense feelings of fear, agitation, nervousness that I couldn't link to any trigger at all. Over 7 years I developed visual disturbances, dizziness, parasthesia, extremely cold extremities, hot flashes, sense of dissasociation , fast heart, palpitations and more tbh. I was at the doctors all the time, they said it was stress and depression, anxiety and panic attacks over and over. I was convinced I had a severe anxiety problem making me think I had real symptoms. No antidepressants or counseling worked, year after year the drs did the same things and I gave up on getting better. Id been passed around psychiatrists like a bad smell nobody wamted and they pretty much said I was fine just another neurotic hypochondriac young woman. The symptoms were so vague, there were so many, so variable they went from completely debilitating, weird, scary to "could this just be normsl?". Doctors really cAn make you doubt yourself. Things continued to get worse completely regardless of stress etc.
By complete accident I found an article online about dyautomnia, pots and autonomic neuropathy - conditions that I have finally been diagnosed with and am starting treatment for. I printed the article out and took it to new doctor, it even said that the conditions are usually misdiagnosed as anxiety. But if you are female and have been suffering from anxiety/panic attacks with no cause for a long time, and have physical symptoms either neurological or problems regulating heartrate you should at least look into it. If I hadn't found out myself I don't doubt that my Dr would have never tested for it and I would never have gotten treatment.

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Lizaan said on 24 January 2013

What is the best medicine to treat depression?

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runwellian said on 17 January 2013

It all looks great but CCG group meetings have no mental health representatives so when it comes to making decisions, guess who will benefit ... certainly not mental health patents!

Many pages like this are written by folk with no mental health experience but claim to be experts! The real experts are the patients that manage their condition day to day!

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JCJC777 said on 16 September 2012

Great to see this. Hopefully NHS Choices will be increasingly well known and used.

Suggestions to make even better;

1. it comes across as a bit wordy/middle-class/educated, and thus perhaps forbidding to people less educated and/or partially knocked out by their condition; i'd say make it even more accesible,

2. the self-test is not clearly signalled; I'd say put 'Take this simple test' as an upfront and clickable message, before all the words

3. the attitude (perhaps out of self-defence) seems to be 'if you're in trouble go to a doctor to fix you'. this is wrong, and promotes dependency. recovery is characterised by a 'i'm managing my own condition' attitude. the attitude of this site should be 'manage your own condition; use computerised CBT e.g. here, discuss your condition with your doctor, read these books and websites...' (i know people will say 'some people couldn't do that'.)

All strength to you in this work

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charlton1 said on 11 September 2012

This looks impressive, but in reality I've tried to get support and been refused from the gp because they said I needed specialist help, but when I got referred they would not help. so what's the point in fancy graphics if you can't get the support you need.

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Puffin said on 09 September 2012

It is great to have a section on mental health that is so up to date. I am a teacher with bipolar working in education and I will link it to my blog.

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Free audio guides to boost your mood

Eight Moodzone mental wellbeing audio guides designed to help you better understand the problems you may be facing in your life

Services near you

Find emotional support services in your area

Low mood and depression

How to know the difference between feeling low and being depressed, when to see your GP, and what help is available

Why do I feel anxious and panicky?

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives, but too much can be a sign of something more serious