Caring for yourself
You need to be in good shape to keep all those balls you juggle in the air. If your health is going downhill, talk to the 18-24 team. We can help you decide where to go for help and what to say to doctors.
Doctors should treat your discussion as confidential, unless they feel that you are at serious risk of being harmed. Remind your GP that you want confidentiality if this is particularly important to you.
If your GP is in Surrey, you just need to do a quick form at the reception to register as a carer. There are some good reasons to do this:
- You can ask for appointment priority if you need it.
- Carers can get a flu ‘jab’ every year – and likely prioritised access to COVID-19 boosters, should these be required.
- GP Carer’s Break – most of Surrey’s surgeries can prescribe carers a break worth up to £300, based on a clinical assessment of your health. This is a one-off grant.
- Your GP can help you understand the condition of the person you care for, with their permission. Even if you don’t have their permission, they can give you general advice.
What about emotional health?
During Covid-19 restrictions, phone and zoom help has become normal. If the problem is severe, your GP may be refer you to the Community Mental Health and Recovery Service (CMHRS). If not, there are two common types of ‘talking therapies’ which usually start with 6 sessions.
- Counselling – talk in confidence to a counsellor, who helps you to think about your situation. This is ideal for people who are basically healthy, but need help coping with a current crisis, such as anger, bereavement or relationship issues.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) – the aim is to free yourself from unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviour. Like counselling, CBT deals with current situations more than events in your past or childhood. It can help with problems like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
The NHS Mindful Service
This is for 16-25 year olds who are not in education or employment or have housing problems. Mental health practitioners can usually meet you in a café or at home – there’s no need to go to a hospital or clinic. Ask your GP or Action for Carers 18-24 team for a referral.
If you feel the problem is manageable with just a little bit of help, the 18-24 team can give you tips and self-help information written by experts. Talking about your situation with other carers who will understand can be a relief and a way to get helpful ideas. There are loads of online forums for specific conditions which could be helpful to everyone in the family.
“In 2017 I was recommended to Mindful by Mel. I was suffering from bad social anxiety. I couldn’t do things like answer the phone to both people I did and didn’t know, I struggled to ask questions or order food in a store and it all really affected my studies as it was my first year in university.
At Mindful, I was met by a lady called Lutf. She was so welcoming and honestly just felt like a friend straight away. For the first few sessions, we focused on how I was feeling and techniques on how to keep myself calm and as the sessions went on we would go out to places where I felt anxious and I would slowly achieve the small tasks that I struggled to do previously.
Thanks to Lutf, the Mindful NHS service for 16-25 year olds, and Surrey Young Carers, I have been able to improve my quality of life and achieve things I never thought were possible for me. I managed to graduate from university with a Degree in Theatre, Media and Special Effects Make-up, get a job in a field I enjoy and overall just feel confident in my day to day life.
Don’t be scared to ask for help, it may change your life. :)”
Mental Health Services
Free Surrey services – you don’t need a GP referral
IESO Digital Health – Therapy online is available through the NHS. You can make appointments without leaving home. Evenings and weekend appointments are available.
Catalyst Reach Out Counselling – Offers up to 12 weeks to people struggling with substance use issues. Counselling is also available for friends, family members and partners who need support to cope with living with someone else’s dependence.
Mind Matters Talking Therapy – Treatment for mild to moderate mental ill-health, including excessive worry, panic attacks, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and more.
Centre for Psychology – Offers help for common problems like depression and anxiety, low self-esteem and sleep problems.
Catch 22 – this is Surrey’s substance misuse service for 11-25 year olds.
Safe Havens – An NHS evening and weekend alternative to Accident & Emergency when in crisis. Mental health professionals are on hand. You can now have a virtual consultation. There are five Safe Havens in town centres for adults and their carers.
Shout – free 24/7 text support service. The number is 85258.
Samaritans – Call 116 123 free. This 24/7 listening service isn’t just for people feeling suicidal.
BEAT Eating Disorders – information, support groups and helpline.
Papyrus – prevention of young suicide has information and a helpline
MIND – has a helpline 0300 123 3393 and great information.
FRANK – for honest information about drugs.
KOOTH Online Counselling – For ages 11 to 19th birthday, this is a secure, free messaging service. You set up an anonymous log in. They offer 12 sessions to help you work toward solutions to your situation. It’s available from midday to 10pm Monday-Friday, and 6-7pm on weekends.
You can also check out the NHS apps library
There are particularly good ones to help you manage suicidal thinking and the urge to self harm.