Looking after someone with Depression or Anxiety. Providing services we would be happy for our own families to use

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1 Looking after someone with Depression or Anxiety Providing services we would be happy for our own families to use

2 About this booklet: Picking up this booklet means that you are looking after someone with depression or anxiety. It can be a daunting place to be and you may question if you are doing the right thing. This booklet aims to: Give you an understanding of what defines mental health Provide information on how you can help someone with anxiety and/or depression Give advice and information groups available in the local area Please note: It is important that this booklet is taken as a guide only. The focus is to inform you how best to support someone generally with their mental health needs and also help and support you in looking after your wellbeing. Any further specialist advice can be sought and given by a specialist working with your friend or family member.

3 ...Generalised anxiety affects about one in 20 adults in Britain... What is mental health? Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community - World Health Organisation (WHO) In a nutshell, our mental health is vital to our self esteem, our physical wellbeing and our ability to function. It can be something that people feel uncomfortable to talk about, so it can feel a lonely place to be. When we feel unable to cope with normal stressors or experience a significant life event then this can impact our mental wellbeing.

4 In fact, one in four of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives. What is anxiety and depression? Everyone feels sad or down from time to time, but depression occurs when this is persistent for a number of weeks, months or years. Depression is quite common and affects about one in 10 of us at some point. It affects men and women, young and old. No two people s experiences are the same, but there are usually common features such as lack of motivation, sleep changes and being withdrawn. A form of anxiety that almost every single one of us have experienced, and can relate to, is STRESS. Stress can be helpful to us. It can help motivate us to achieve things and get things done on a daily basis. However, it becomes unhelpful when we cannot shut down from the things that are making us stressed. It starts to become the centre of everything. Anxiety can come in many forms, some you may have heard of like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or panic disorder (panic attacks). Generalised anxiety affects about one in 20 adults in Britain. Slightly more women are affected than men, and the condition is most common in people in their 20s.

5 Anti-depressants can also be prescribed to those with depression. Advice can be sought from a GP about this. For anxiety recommended treatments are Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), group based CBT, Exposure Response Prevention (ERP) and Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR). Those feeling down, stressed or anxious might feel... Sad Frustrated Lonely Worried Scared Angry As a Carer, this might leave you feeling... Frustrated Worried A sense of loss Lonely Sad Fearful Notice how similar they are. This can be a good thing, but also create a lot of conflict when trying to communicate.

6 Those feeling down, stressed or anxious might change what they do... Seeming like they don t care about themselves Not wanting to go out anywhere Staying up late or sleeping a lot Eating more or less than normal Being snappy and irritable Not wanting to talk to people As a Carer, this might leave you acting in these ways... Doing things for them Not wanting to be around them Fear leaving them alone Not asking them how they are doing Giving them lots of reassurance

7 Those feeling down, stressed or anxious might think that... No one likes me I can t cope I am no good to anyone Something bad is going to happen They might know that there is no evidence to suggest that these things are true, however the negative thoughts take over. You may have noticed these changes in yourself. How a vicious cycle can form... When people experience mental health problems, the things they do, think and feel feed in to each other and become overwhelming. (See figure 1 on the next page). When people feel overwhelmed by their symptoms they can do things that are helpful, or unhelpful. An example might be drinking alcohol on a night to help them sleep, or not talking to people about how they feel. This can feed in to the problem and make them feel worse, when their aim was to make them feel better.

8 A vicious cycle Situation Losing a job / can t find work Physical Feel tired, stomach aches Thoughts I am useless / I won t get a job Emotions Anxious, upset, angry Behaviours Snapping at others, sleep less Figure 1

9 Helpful and unhelpful things we can do... When we see a loved one hurting, we naturally want to try to do things to make them feel better. Often these things can be very helpful. Sometimes these things can be unhelpful for you or for the person you are caring for. Useful things to do: Find out as much information on the symptoms your loved one is experiencing. There are other leaflets available at NAViGO services, or ask practitioners if they recommend any books. Knowing how they feel will help you understand. Use your sense of humour to help you and the person you are helping. Try not to be afraid to mention things that are making them feel low or anxious. If you show you are not embarrassed about it then it may encourage them to talk openly and honestly about how they feel. Plan time for yourself. Do things that you enjoy. If you are well, you are more helpful to the person you are supporting. Offer practical help to support them. For example, attending appointments or reminding them of them. Or, are they struggling with something really overwhelming

10 such as financial difficulties. Set a time to sit with them and go through bills and payment plans, or set up a meeting with Citizen s Advice. Keep a realistic outlook. Change is possible but it can take time. Encourage them to continue to use the advice they have been given. We have thought about what things you can do to help. It is also important to consider what you might be doing that is unhelpful. Usually these things are done with the best intentions but it is useful to recognise these things and look at changing them. Letting off steam and frustration. It is important to not damage the relationship and leave yourself feeling guilty afterwards. Make time for yourself or walk away when you feel the frustration building. To neglect our own friends, family and wellbeing to look after that person. Get some support yourself if you feel like this. Don t encourage that they use harmful substances like drugs, and alcohol. Constant reassurance. Imagine you have done something well, being told you ve done a good job feels good. If you were to then constantly check that you d

11 done a good job, would it feel so good? Over-seeking or over-giving reassurance encourages doubt. Try not to give advice constantly. This could begin to feel like you are not listening and that you are nagging them. Try not to fix everything. Taking away all their responsibilities and choices will feed in to their vicious cycle and they will be less motivated and find it more difficult to solve their problems. If they see a professional, that doesn t mean that you have failed. They just need help from someone outside the situation. The words in bold have the similar themes about all the time. Things in moderation are good, but too much of anything is unhelpful. A common fear: Thoughts of suicide A very common symptom of mental health problems can be thoughts that they may be better off dead or hurting themselves in some way. It can be very difficult to contemplate that someone you care about may be feeling this way. Sometimes people may be open about these thoughts, but often fearing others responses, people can hide that they feel this way. If you suspect that someone you care about may be having thoughts about ending their lives you might notice warning signs, but you may not notice anything at all.

12 Signs might be what they say: you are better off without me I won t be here any way you don t need to worry about me any more Other signs might be similar to depression symptoms as in withdrawing from others, not eating and sleeping more/less. Therefore, there may be no obvious signs. If you can accept the idea that this is a common experience of a lot of people with mental health problems then you may be able to talk openly with them about this. If you are very worried about someone you care about then you can contact: Crisis Team: A local service offering specialist support to those in need of immediate support. You can also take the person to Harrison House, on Peaks Lane to see someone. Rethink: A listening service offering advice and guidance to those struggling with mental health problems and their carers TOP TIP: encourage them to talk about these feelings openly and with out reaction.

13 Do s and don ts A summary of what can be helpful and unhelpful when caring for someone with a mental health need. DO Let them know that you are there for them if they need you in the long term Build your support network Know where they can get help when they are ready Take time out to look after yourself Give them a hug Talk to others about how it makes you feel Be prepared for some strong emotions DON T Shout or become aggressive Try to help too much that they become unable to look after themselves Be afraid of tears Nag or point out things that they are not doing

14 Useful contacts for friends and family: Women s Centre: Drop-ins and groups for men and women. Men s Advice Line: Telephone support for men experiencing domestic abuse. The Carers Support Service - working with Carers in North East Lincolnshire Offering information and advice, support, carers groups and social activities, befriending and much more. The Old Waterworks Office, 1 Town Hall Square, Grimsby, DN31 1HY Tel: Open 7 days a week Website:

15 Useful contacts for you both: Open Minds Provides short term therapy for those with anxiety and depression. Grimsby branch 7-9 Osborne Street Grimsby DN311EY TEL: Cleethorpes branch Grimsby Road Cleethorpes DN35 7AQ TEL: Single Point of Access - The crisis home treatment service provides an open referral system where people can selfrefer via the Single Point of Access. The service can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tel: (Option 3 for mental health) The acute crisis home treatment service is based at: Harrison House, Peaks Lane, Grimsby. Cruse Bereavement Line - Help for bereaved people and those caring for bereaved people Grimsby, Cleethorpes and Louth Branch Tel:

16 NAViGO, NAViGO House, 3-7 Brighowgate, Grimsby, DN32 0QE T: (01472) E: W: Registered office: NAViGO House, 3-7 Brighowgate, Grimsby, DN32 0QE Company Registration Number search NAViGO Health and Social Care Issue version: OM

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