So here are 10 points to get you started:
- The Mental Health Measure is law.
- If you are experiencing mental distress, you can be assessed, and if appropriate your doctor can now offer you more services to help. These are called primary mental health support services.
- If you are referred for a mental health assessment by your doctor, you should receive one in 28 calendar days.
- After assessment, you could go to a group session to find out about diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation.
- Other options include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), counselling and bibliotherapy (using books to help work through issues), but others will be available if appropriate.
- If your doctor refers you for more specialist treatment (called secondary mental health services) you are entitled to have what is called a Care & Treatment Plan – which is all about goals you are working towards.
- You will work closely with your care co-ordinator (psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse or social worker), to review the plan at least once a year, and make sure support is in place to help you achieve your goals.
- If you have been discharged by the secondary mental health services, but later feel unwell again, you can go back without seeing a GP first if you wish. This applies up to 3 years after your original discharge.
- If you are in hospital, whether voluntarily or as a detained patient, you can ask for help from an independent mental health advocate. The advocate will help you make your views known.
- All ages are covered by the Mental Health Measure, but for those under 18 the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will also be involved.
You can find out more about the Mental Health Measure here.