Mental Health

Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Information and support for your mental health.

Mental Health update by Hertfordshire Talking Therapies

Making Mental Health a priority

Their team of experienced therapists work with people to understand their challenges and equip them with tools and techniques to manage their difficulties. They have dedicated resources and a self-help section on their website that includes, live and interactive webinars, self-help materials and resources including a library of self-help guides to complement the treatment we provide, and access to free self-help videos developed by their clinical team.

Who are NHS Hertfordshire and Mid Essex Talking Therapies?  

This animation has been created to introduce their services and the support they provide for residents of Hertfordshire and Mid Essex, and how to self-refer.  Their service is a free NHS service available locally. Increasing awareness of NHS Talking Therapies will provide you with information to take control of your own mental health and self-refer to access support.

Long Term Physical Health Conditions (LTC)

They have a range of treatment options to help improve emotional wellbeing for people living with LTCs including; talking therapies, guided self-help, groups and access to online support via SilverCloud. They also offer several specialist webinars including ‘Living well with Diabetes’ and ‘Living well with a Long-term Physical Health Condition’ that patients can register for on our website: Webinar programme.

Living well with persistent pain

Their service has produced a short animation video that provides an overview of the support available to help with pain management and emotional wellbeing. Click here to view the animation. This animation provides information on their ‘Living well with persistent pain’ webinar which introduces the difference between acute and persistent pain, as well as the physical and mental aspects of self-managing persistent pain.


Feelings, symptoms and behaviours

Feelings and symptoms

Read more about feelings and symptoms related to mental health problems, including:

feelings and symptoms that can affect everyday lifefeelings and symptoms caused by life eventsfeelings and symptoms in younger and older people

Read more about feelings and symptoms that can be common with mental health problems:

StressAnxiety, fear and panicLow mood, sadness and depressionFeeling lonelyGrief after bereavement or lossAngerLoneliness in older peopleSigns of an anxiety disorderHallucinations and hearing voicesAnxiety in childrenDepression in children and young peopleBereavement and young peopleChildren and bereavementRaising low self-esteemTalking to your child about feelingsMemory loss (amnesia)



Read more about behaviours related to mental health problems, including:

Mental health services

Find out how to access NHS mental health services and where to get urgent help.

If it's an emergency or you need urgent help

If you or someone else is in danger, call 999 or go to A&E nowIf you need help urgently for your mental health, but it's not an emergency, get help from NHS 111 online or call 111

Your mental health is as important as your physical health. You will not be wasting anyone's time.

Find a local NHS urgent mental health helpline (England only)

NHS urgent mental health helplines are for people of all ages.

You can call for:

24-hour advice and support - for you, your child, your parent or someone you care forhelp to speak to a mental health professionalan assessment to help decide on the best course of care

NHS therapy and counselling services

Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) is an NHS service for people in England aged 18 or over. You can talk to your GP about IAPT services or get in touch with them directly without talking to your GP. Psychological therapies can treat conditions like:

depressiongeneralised anxietysocial anxietypanic and agoraphobiaother phobiasobsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)body dysmorphic disorder

Get NHS therapy and counselling


How to find local mental health services

The support you can get and how you access it depends on where you are.


Mental health services for children and young people

Find out about support for mental health for children, young people, parents and carers.

Talking therapies and counselling

Social care, mental health and your rights

Mental health and the law

Find out about how the law affects your mental health rights, including:

how the law can help mental health caresectioning and detainmentmental health capacity and consentMental health capacity actBullying at workConsent to treatment

Getting help from social care

Get information about how social care can support mental health, including:

how to receive social careinformation on different types of social carebenefits of social care

Read about social care services and support available to you or people you know:

Mental health aftercare after being sectionedFinding an advocate to speak up for youCare programme approachHelp at home from a carerShared lives schemesSocial care, benefits and NHS support you can get for free


Help for carers

Get tips and support for mental health carers, including:

advice for carers in challenging situationsfinding support for your own mental healthbenefits and financial support

Find information and advice to help and support carers:

How you can access NHS mental health services

Find out about the different ways to get help with your mental health, the process, and your rights.


Mental health services are free on the NHS. Your mental health is important and you should get help if you need it.


Talk to your GP first

You'll need to talk to your GP to use some mental health services. This is known as a GP referral. Your GP can also talk to you about your mental health and help introduce you to the right mental health service for your needs.


Get help without talking to your GP

There are also some mental health services that you can use without talking to your GP first. This is known as self-referral.

For example, you may be able to refer yourself for help with drug problems and alcohol problems. You can also use self-referral to access talking therapies through a service called Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).

NHS psychological therapies services


Get help through your work

If your mental health problem is because of stress at work, your employer might be able to refer you to occupational health services.

You can find out more from the Time to Change website.

Advice on mental health at work from Time to Change


Get help from your school or college

If you're a child or young person, your school or college might be able to refer you directly to a specialist mental health service.

Children and young people's mental health services (CYPMHS)


How mental health referrals work

When you talk to your GP about your mental health they'll listen, give you advice and introduce you to a mental health service they think will be most helpful to you.

These services may come from your GP surgery, a large local health centre, a specialist mental health clinic or a hospital.

Your GP can also refer you to a psychological therapy service or a specialist mental health service for further advice or treatment. The treatment may be provided on a one-to-one basis or in a group with others with similar problems. Therapy can also sometimes involve partners and families.


Your right to choose who helps you

In most cases, you have a right to choose which mental health service provider you go to in England.

You have the legal right to choose which service provider and clinical team you're referred to for your first appointment.


You do not have a legal right to choose if:

you need urgent or emergency treatmentyou already receive care and treatment for the conditionthe organisation or clinical team you've chosen does not provide the right care for your conditionyou're a prisoner or on temporary release from prisonyou're detained in prescribed accommodation, such as a court, secure children's home, secure training centre, immigration removal centre or young offender institutionyou're detained in a secure hospital settingyou're a serving member of the armed forcesyou're detained under the Mental Health Act 1983


How to book your appointment

Once you've decided on a mental health service provider, you might be able to book your appointment through the NHS e-Referral Service.

There are a few ways to do this:

your GP can book it while you're at the surgeryyou can book it online yourself, using the appointment request letter your GP gives youyou can phone the NHS e-Referral Service line on 0345 60 88 88 8, open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, and from 8am to 4pm on weekends and bank holidays

Mental health assessments

A mental health assessment is a conversation between you and mental health professionals to help decide what kind of support you need.

You'll need to have a mental health assessment when you go to any mental health service for help.



A mental health assessment is not a test or an exam. It is about helping you. You only have to talk about what you want to talk about. The more open and honest you are, the easier it will be to get you the right help.


What happens during a mental health assessment?

When you have a mental health assessment, you might talk to a nurse, social worker, psychologist, specialist pharmacist, psychiatrist, or a combination of these and other healthcare professionals.


Bringing someone to support you

You may be able to bring a friend or relative to support you.

Some people prefer to bring an advocate who can represent their views and interests. They can be volunteers, like mental health charity workers, or professionals, like lawyers.

If you want to know what advocacy services are available in your area, check with your local council.


What you'll talk about in your assessment

During the assessment, you and healthcare professionals will talk about your needs.

The conversation might cover:

mental health symptoms and experiencesfeelings, thoughts and actionsphysical health and wellbeinghousing and financial circumstancesemployment and training needssocial and family relationshipsculture and ethnic backgroundgender and sexualityuse of drugs or alcoholpast experiences, especially of similar problemsyour safety and other people'swhether anyone depends on you, such as a child or elderly relativestrengths and skills, and what helps you besthopes and aspirations for the future

You only have to talk about what you want to talk about but the more you're able to share, the easier it will be to find out what will work best for you.


At the end of the assessment

When the professionals you're talking to have all the information they need, they'll make their assessment and explain it to you in clear language.

You should get the chance to ask questions about your condition, the diagnosis, possible causes, the treatments on offer, and how those might affect your life.

You should also be involved in making decisions about what treatments are best for you.

You can also expect to be given information to take home, so you can think about it in your own time, as well as advice on where you can find out more.


What you can do before and during the assessment


think about who you could take with you for support and arrange for them to come along

make some notes about what you want to discuss before your appointment

tick each point off during the appointment, when they've been covered

ask as many questions as you need to about anything that is not clear

make sure the health professional explains things to you as many times as it takes for you to really understand it

Find more advice on what to ask your doctor


Reviewing how it's going

Your needs can change over time so it's important your treatment is reviewed regularly.

You'll always have a named person as your care co-ordinator. They should make sure you have regular reviews and you should go to them first if you’re worried about your treatment. They can also offer you support, including support for your family and friends if they need it.

Your review will be a face-to-face meeting in a familiar place. That’s often the clinic, community mental health centre or GP surgery where you usually meet your care co-ordinator.

If you prefer, it may be possible for the meeting to take place at your house. Or it could be at another place where you feel comfortable, like a community centre.

You might want to arrange to bring someone with you, like a friend, family member or advocate. You can find out about advocacy services from your care co-ordinator or local council. You can also get advice about finding an advocate from the mental health charity Rethink.


If a treatment or service is not working for you

If a treatment or mental health service is not working for you, you should say something. It's important for the mental health professional you're seeing to know about this.

It might be that another approach or a new assessment is needed to find a service that's better for you.

If you do not feel that your concerns are being taken seriously, ask the manager of your mental health service if you can see someone different, like another psychiatrist or care co-ordinator.

Your GP might also be able to help you, if you talk to them.

Annual health check for people with severe mental health conditions

If you have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis, your GP surgery should invite you to have an annual health check.

During your health check the doctor or nurse will be able to look for any health problems, to help you get the treatment you need to stay well.

You can ask them questions about your health and tell them how you are feeling.

You can also talk about any treatment you are having or medicines you take.

You may be able to get a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, COVID-19 booster or flu vaccine when you have your health check. Ask about vaccinations when you make your appointment.


Who can have an annual health check

Anyone aged 18 or over who has schizophreniabipolar disorder or psychosis can have a free health check once a year.


How to get an appointment

If you are eligible, you should get a letter from your GP surgery inviting you for an annual health check.

You can contact your GP surgery to ask for an appointment if you have not received a letter. A family member or friend can contact the surgery for you if you prefer.

If you're in regular contact with your mental health team, they can do the health check for you. If you have not had your annual health check yet, contact the care co-ordinator in your mental health team and ask how to book an appointment.


How having an annual health check can help

It is up to you to decide if you want to have an annual health check, but these checks can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.

Talking to a doctor or nurse, and having a few simple tests, helps them find any health problems early. This means they can give you the treatment or support you need to stay well.

You can ask the doctor or nurse for more information about annual health checks before you decide.

Find out more about severe mental illness and physical health checks on the Rethink Mental Illness website


What happens during the annual health check

Your appointment will take about 45 minutes. Before you have the health check and any tests, the doctor or nurse will check you are happy to go ahead.

The doctor or nurse will usually:

do a physical check-up, including weight, heart rate and blood pressureask you to pee in a small pot so they can check it for signs of some health problemsask you to have a blood testtalk to you about staying well and ask if you need any help with thistalk to you about your medicines and ask if you have any side effectscheck if your vaccinations are up to datecheck how you are coping if you have a condition such as asthma or diabetes

They will also ask if you are OK (give your consent) to share your health information with other health services, such as your mental health team. This is to make sure you get the right support if you need further care.

The doctor or nurse can also give you health information, such as advice on healthy eatingexercisealcohol or stopping smoking.

They may offer you a follow-up appointment to give you further information and support. This can help you improve your health and wellbeing, and manage any health conditions you may have.


If you need any additional support

The NHS has to make it easy for everyone to use health services, including anyone who needs additional support. This is called making "reasonable adjustments".

Tell your GP surgery if you need any extra help, such as:

a longer appointment or having a carer, friend or peer support worker with youan appointment at the beginning or end of the day, or a quiet place to wait if you find it hard to be in a busy waiting roomadditional reassurance or support if you are afraid of needles and are having a blood test or vaccinea sign-language servicetransport if you need help getting to the GP surgerya home visit if you are unable to leave your home

If you need additional support, this will usually be written in a health profile or health action plan that the doctor or nurse can use.


Is it the same as the NHS Health Check?

The annual health check for people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or psychosis is not the same as the NHS Health Check for all adults aged 40 to 74.

The standard NHS Health Check is done every 5 years and checks your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia.

Find out more about the NHS Health Check