Spotlight

Our advice to people who need urgent mental health help

This Thursday (10 September) is World Suicide Prevention Day and the theme this year is how we can help to prevent suicide by working together.

Globally over 800,000 people die by suicide annually, representing one person every 40 seconds. And suicide is the 15th leading cause of death, accounting for 1.4 per cent of all deaths.

Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide with half of all people in high income countries who die by suicide having a major depressive disorder at their time of death.

If you, or someone you know or care for is concerned about how they are feeling, our advice is for them to contact Somerset Mindline on 01823 276 892. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is open to people of all ages.

The helpline is the first port of call for mental health help – it is operated by people in your local area who will know how best to support you. Mindline colleagues will refer you to your local home treatment team if you need their services.

Jess Popham, our home treatment team operational service manager, said the experience of one person and their perception of a mental health crisis can be unique.

“What for one person may feel manageable, may for another person feel completely devastating or overpowering,” she said.

“A mental health crisis may take a number of forms including, but not limited to, anxiety or panic attacks, psychotic experiences, such as hallucinations, feelings of paranoia, a relapse of other serious mental illness, and thoughts of suicide or acts of self harm.”

Some of the feelings and thoughts people experiencing a mental health crisis may identify with include:

  • Despair
  • Feeling out of control
  • Guilty
  • Don’t feel real
  • Overwhelmed
  • Undeserving of help
  • Trapped
  • Lonely and isolated
  • No escape – only one way out
  • Sad
  • Need to make this stop
  • Will I burden others?
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling disconnected from everything
  • Terror
  • No escape

Jess continued: “It’s not unusual to feel this way and people may find it helpful to try some of the techniques that we have available at the trust. Our advice to people is to try to pick up the phone and speak to someone who can help you – this could be a friend or family member or one of our services. This person will try and help you by being compassionate, will take your situation seriously, and they won’t judge you.”

Our talking therapies service is also available to anyone who may be struggling. Marc McDonagh, our service lead for talking therapies (Somerset IAPT service), said: “We know that life can often feel hard and extra challenges, such as COVID-19, relationships, finances, work or housing difficulties can make it an effort to keep going.

“If you or someone you know or care for is struggling to cope, starting to feel isolated, or just needs to talk to someone, our Talking Therapies (Somerset IAPT service) can help you.

“We offer a full assessment within just a few days and part of this will be to look together at how at risk the person feels of hurting or harming themselves. We will help them to cope with these feelings and create a risk management plan with them.

“We will also send information about helplines and other crisis services for those really difficult times. We will discuss appropriate treatment which might be telephone guided self-help, one-to-one therapy via video, or an online course or webinar.

“We help many people through dark times every year and we want to be there for you too, if you need us, before things get worse.

“Contact us at www.somersettalkingtherapies.nhs.uk or on 0300 323 0033.”

 

For more information about what to do if you or someone you know or care for is experiencing a mental health crisis, click here. You can also read a letter of hope written by our mental health teams, which can be read here.