In the third of a blog series looking at mental health within agriculture, Naomi Wright, of Therapy with Naomi, looks at how to take the first steps towards getting the help you may need.
Following on from last month’s post about how mental health issues can be triggered, I am now looking at how to take the first steps towards reaching out for help and what kind of support is out there.
Everyone’s experience of mental health is entirely unique, and so is their journey to seeking help.
Some who are finding it difficult to cope may not even see it as an issue, and it may take someone else like a friend or family member to notice and share their concerns for acknowledgement to occur.
When you are around someone struggling, you have an opportunity to help them by acknowledging your concern for them and gently reassuring them that you are there for them if and when they are ready to share with you.
For some people they may experience physical symptoms of their mental health issues and it may be picked up on by a healthcare professional. This is not a guarantee though, so it is important we acknowledge our physical health and any prolonged, unexplained physical symptoms, as they could relate to our mental health.
For those of us who know we are in need of something more than what we can offer ourselves there are many ways we can reach out. I firstly want to acknowledge the bravery and courage it takes to verbally state that you are feeling unwell emotionally and are unable to cope alone. It takes guts to share something that in your community or family may be considered a weakness or something to just get on with.
Firstly, if you feel safe and able to do so, speaking to someone close to you can offer you the confidence to ask for professional help as well as offer a sense of relief and support. These conversations may take many attempts and you are not alone in this.
You could begin the conversation by expressing to them how you feel about telling them something that you have been struggling with for a while. In this you are recognising the emotions the conversation is bringing for you like fear, apprehension or sadness. This can set the tone for the chat without leaving you feeling fully exposed and vulnerable and offer them a chance to really listen and support you whilst you share something important. When you are the listener, remember that really is your role. You are there to hear and acknowledge what they are telling you and if agreed, support them towards seeking help.
If following this you feel you are ready to seek professional help or feel unable to have this conversation with someone you know, I am here to offer the next steps.
· You can speak to your GP about how you are feeling and they can offer you options on the NHS. This could be medication or, in most places, a short course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). There are other options available depending on the NHS Trust and your issues.
· If you feel more comfortable on the telephone you can contact agriculture specific helplines (these only cover specific counties): the DPJ (call 0800587 4262 or text 07860048799), YANA (call 0300 323 0400). There is also RABI (call 0808 281 9490) and FCN (call 03000 111 999) who offer financial and practical support. They all have websites you can check out too.
· Samaritans offer a 24/7 helpline. Call 112123.
· Mind offer support in many forms including counselling. Go to mind.org.uk.
· If you would like to seek private counselling with someone local to you or online, you can head to the Counselling Directory (counselling-directory.org.uk) and search using a filter for what suits you. There are many different types of talking therapy available and so it could be worth telephoning a few that sound like a fit to ask about their style of counselling.
Feel free to email me any queries at firstname.lastname@example.org