Do you need urgent help?

If you need to speak to someone right now, here are some confidential options which provide 24/7 support.  If you're worried you might hurt yourself or someone else, please call 999, or go to your nearest A and E.

Lifeline

For people who are experiencing distress or despair.

0808 808 8000

Childline

Helps anyone under 19 in the UK with any issue they’re going through. Childline is free, confidential and available any time, day or night.

0800 1111

Samaritans

24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You don't have to be suicidal to call us

Relationships

People in our lives can help support us. But our relationships can be affected by mental health issues.

How can I look after my relationships?

Here are some ways to help us look after our relationships when we are living with a mental illness.

 

  • Try and explain how we feel. Some of us find it easier to write things down or use art or music to communicate. Others find it helpful to look for personal stories, blogs, online videos or TV programmes that show people having similar experiences to us.

 

  • Ask them to come with us to appointments. If we feel comfortable, we might want to ask someone close to us to come with us to our appointments. They might find it helpful to ask questions and hear more about how they can support us.

 

  • Think about who else can support us. If we rely on one person to support us when we are ill, it can sometimes put a strain on our relationships. For example, if we always rely on our partner for support, we could think about whether other friends might be able to help too. If we always turn to our parents, we could think about whether a trusted teacher or youth worker might be able to offer us some support.

 

 

  • Think about relationship counselling or make use of family therapy  Relate in Northern Ireland usually charges for counselling sessions, but Relate UK offer online or webchat counselling for free. MindWise offer support to carers, and you can find out more here.  You can talk to your GP about local services too.

 

  • Create a Wellness Action Recovery Plan (WRAP) which you can share. You can find out how to create one on the Mary Ellen Copeland Centre.

How can I improve my social life?

 

Feeling connected to other people can help us feel better. Try and connect with friends and family, or think about local events, clubs or volunteering that you could go along to.

 

 

  • Join a local group - for example a community group or sports team. If you are in school or college, you could look for new groups and societies there.

 

  • Go online. We don’t always feel like seeing people face to face, but having a conversation online or via text can help us feel more connected. Mind’s Elefriends community is a great place to start.

 

How might mental health issues affect our relationships?

  • It might be difficult for other people to understand how we feel or the things we experience.
  • Friends, family or partners might think the way we feel is their fault.
  • When we’re feeling low we might not want to talk to other people, or do anything with them.
  • We might feel very intense emotions or have very dramatic mood swings that are difficult for others to cope with.
  • We might harm ourselves or behave in a risky way that makes people close to us feel worried.
  • We might rely on people close to us to make us feel better and find it difficult when they’re not there.
  • We might worry a lot about people abandoning us or feel paranoid about our relationships.
  • Some of us need friends, family or our partner to help us with our day-to-day life (this is sometimes called caring.
  • We might take out difficult emotions like anger or frustration on people who are close to us.
  • We might find it hard to make and keep stable relationships.

I am worried that I am in an abusive relationship. Where can I find help?

ANYONE can become a victim of domestic abuse.  It doesn't matter if you are a teenager or an older person, nor what gender or ethnicity you are. Abuse is abuse. You may be worried that living with a mental health issue means you are to blame. You are NEVER to blame for abuse. You deserve to be safe and to be treated well.  

Domestic abuse can take many different forms. It does not just mean being physically abused. It can also be:

  • Sexual abuse: forcing or pressuring someone to have sex (rape), unwanted sexual activity, touching, groping someone or making them watch pornography.
  • Financial abuse: taking money, controlling finances, not letting someone work, spending your money without consent, with-holding money for essentials
  • Emotional abuse / coercive control: repeatedly making someone feel bad or scared, stalking, blackmailing, constantly checking up on someone, playing mind games
  • Digital / online abuse: using technology to further isolate, humiliate or control someone, stalking online, sharing private information, including pictures
  • Honour-based violence and forced marriage

If you are being abused, please tell someone. You may be especially worried about this if you have a mental health issue.  You will be believed and taken seriously. There are also organisations which can help you to plan and support you in leaving a domestically abusive relationship. Here is some information on how to cover your tracks online. 

Where you can find help in Northern Ireland

  • Women's Aid NI - Operate a free 24 hour helpline for anyone who is being abused. Call them on 0808 802 1414.  They're operating during the Covid-19 outbreak and can help you.  Visit their website to find out more. 
  • Men's Advice Line (UK) - Offers a confidential helpline for male victims of domestic violence and abuse.
  • Men's Advisory Project – Provides counselling and support for male victims of domestic abuse, relationship and anger management (men and women) in Northern Ireland.
  • The Rainbow Project – Works to improve the physical, mental and emotional health of gay, bisexual and non-heterosexual men in Northern Ireland.

Robert and Jenna's story

My wife has bipolar disorder.  When she's feeling low, she can feel like I don't love her.  But I think she's the most amazing woman I've ever met, and even more so for what she's experienced and how much she's come through.  Although her bipolar disorder can affect how she thinks and feels, it's just one part of who she is.

She made a crisis plan with her CPN which has been very helpful. It explains some of her warning signs that she's becoming unwell.  I was asked to help create it, as her husband, I notice things she might not. 

Jenna worries that her condition makes me more of a carer than a husband.  I feel like none of us can guarantee our health forever, and I know she'd do the same for me.  It can be a strain sometimes, but I know it's worse for her.  We get through the tough times together. 

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