NDD Local Services and Support - Mental Health
What is mental health?
We all have mental health, just like we all have physical health. Sometimes we feel well, and sometimes we don’t.
Mental health is complicated because it’s about how we think, feel and act, and this is always changing.
When our mental health is good, we enjoy being around other people and we feel able to take on challenges and new experiences. But when our mental health is not so good, we can find it much harder to cope.
Remember, if you or your child is struggling with how you think, feel or behave, you are not alone and things can get better. You deserve all the help and support you need to feel confident and comfortable being yourself so that you can enjoy life.
What is a mental health problem?
We all have good days and bad days, but when negative thoughts and feelings start to affect your daily life and stop you doing the things you enjoy, or your ability to feel ok, this means you probably need some support with your mental health.
For example, nearly everyone gets anxious before an exam, a job interview or a first date. But if we feel anxious all the time, constantly worrying that the worst could happen, and this stops us sleeping well or meeting up with friends, we might benefit from some help.
What causes mental health problems?
There are lots of reasons why we might start struggling with our mental health. These can include:
difficult things going on in your life
life experiences, such as trauma, violence or abuse
physical health problems
pressure at school, work, or about money
difficult relationships with partners, family or friends
family history of mental health problems
Often it isn’t just one of these things and sometimes there is no obvious cause. Whatever the reasons you might be struggling it’s important to remember that it isn’t your fault and that things can get better.
Life affects us all differently. No one is the same. That’s why the right mental health support will look different to different people. What works for one person might be not work the same for you, and that’s ok.
How do I know when to get help with my or my child’s mental health?
Most of us will struggle with our mental health at some point in our lives, just like we all get sick once in a while. If you notice a negative change in how you’re feeling, or you find yourself doing things that worry you, speak to someone you trust.
Trust your instincts – you know if something is up. Don’t wait for things to get really bad before reaching out. The earlier you get help, the more likely it is that you can stop your problem getting worse.
Here are some signs to look out for:
feeling hopeless – struggling to see the positives in life, or wishing you didn’t exist
getting into lots of arguments or fights
feeling sad all the time
feeling angry all the time
feeling anxious all the time
numbness – not feeling any emotions at all
extreme highs and lows, or mood swings
changes to your eating patterns – starving yourself, over-eating, making yourself sick
hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there
hurting yourself on purpose
keeping away from friends and family
relying heavily on alcohol, drugs or sex
obsessive behaviour or thoughts – feeling there is something you have to do/think about all the time or something bad will happen
experiencing nightmares, flashbacks or upsetting thoughts
obsessing about how you look
Constant unwanted thoughts
If you recognise any of these signs, or anything else that seems out of the ordinary, or not ‘normal’ for you, then it is important to reach out for help. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have a mental health problem, but it’s likely that some support will help you on your journey to feeling your best.
Below you will find a list of services that are available both locally and nationally to support in this area. These services have been listed under the following categories:
Universal – These services are available to everyone, without the need for any referral
Targeted – These services provide more targeted support to address a need. In most cases a referral is required
Specialist – These services provide specialist, targeted support and a referral is required. A number of these services are provided as part of the ‘intervention’ stage of our NDD Pathway.
We have also worked with the Council for Disabled Children to create a list of useful resources that are available through national organisations.
Autism Bedfordshire - Skills 4 Success various skills courses
Autism Bedfordshire - "Autism & Mental Health Workshop"
Autism Bedfordshire - Wanted Fun Youth Group
CAMHS Emotional and Behavioural Team
CBT and other evidence-based treatments for Children and Young People with ASD, LD and other neurodevelopmental difficults CAMHS and CHUMs