Waiting well

Person writing diary and thinkingWe want to provide you or the person you care for with help and support as soon as we can. Unfortunately, it can sometimes take a while for an appointment with a mental health professional or for a transfer to another service.

Even though this can be a frustrating time, there are things you can do to help while waiting for mental health services. We have listed some ideas below and in our Waiting Well leaflet. Try any of these and find what helps. Don’t worry if one thing doesn’t work for you; try something else.

Keep in touch with your health service

  • Keep your GP updated, they are still responsible for your care. They may be aware of other available services. Contact them if you need help, or are feeling unwell.
  • Let your mental health service provider (or your GP) know if you or the person you care for is getting worse.
  • If you’ve been prescribed medication, it may take time to work – sometimes over 4 weeks – ask about this. Don’t come off it without talking about it first with the person who prescribed it.

Talk to someone

Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. If you have problems with your mental health, you might feel sad, worried, confused, angry, frightened, hopeless or isolated. Having a friend of family member to support you can make all the difference.  It could be the difference between missing out on the things you care about; to getting the support you need to get better. It’s hard sometimes to explain how you feel, so
start small: text, phone, leave a note
try doing something together: go for a walk or picnic, go shopping, have a coffee
talk side to side rather than face to face: it might be easier
be open and honest as long as you feel safe

Keep a journal or diary

You can’t always remember things that happen every day, and recording things like feelings, thoughts, moods, worries, events, and behaviours can help you to understand them. This is something that you can take to your appointment to show your mental health professional. Think about what you want to ask at your appointment, and make a note of the things that are most important to you.

Plan to keep well

It is possible for someone to regain a meaningful life, despite mental illness. This includes:

  • Finding and maintaining hope 
  • Re-establishment of a positive identity 
  • Building a meaningful life 
  • Taking responsibility and control

You can work on a keeping well plan of your own to identify things that trigger problems, and things you can do to manage these. Take a look at the My Recovery Plan page, this may help you to discover your own simple, safe Wellness Tools:

  • Develop a list of things to do every day to stay as well as possible;
  • Identify upsetting events, early warning signs and signs that things have gotten much worse;
  • Develop action plans for responding at these times

Live well

Looking after your mind and body can help a lot. Think about:

Sleep: Get enough sleep if you can. Practice good sleep 'hygiene' by making your bedroom a calm haven that helps you to sleep well. Don’t drink caffeine or do exercise just before going to bed. Keep electronic devices like TVs, games, phones out of the bedroom. Advice is available in an NHS self help booklet - look for the leaflet called 'sleeping problems' - and on the NHS website.

Eating well: don’t skip breakfast! Take a look at the eat well guide for general advice on food and diet.

Relaxation: try yoga, relaxation tapes, mindfulness etc. Watch the YouTube video by another Derbyshire NHS trust, DCHS, for an example of a relaxation exercise. There are also NHS audio guides.

Exercise: Keep active, as this can help your mood. Go for a walk, go swimming, cycling, dancing or something else that makes you feel good. Find out more on the NHS Live Well website.

Vitamins: Taking a general vitamin supplement might help to improve your wellbeing. Beware of taking anything like St John’s Wort, which can have poor reactions with prescribed medications. Ask a pharmacist or health professional for advice.

Avoid non-prescribed drugs and alcohol: these don’t help, and can cause other problems.

Read a mood-boosting book: ask your librarian for advice or look at the Reading Well 'books on prescription' list.

Suggestions from Trust service users and carers include:

  • ‘How to be a Woman’ by Caitlin Moran
  • ‘Making History’ by Stephen Fry
  • ‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde
  • ‘Losing it’ by Helen Lederer
  • ‘The Buddha of Suburbia’ by Hanif Kureishi
  • ‘The Extra Ordinary life of Frank Derrick Age 81’ by J B Morrison
  • ‘Mort’ by Terry Pratchett
  • ‘Rules for dating a Romantic Hero’ Quick Reads by Harriet Evans
  • ‘Stressed Unstressed Classic Poems to ease the mind’ Anthology

Please note - these are only personal suggestions, and everyone's taste is different.

Small changes can make a difference to how you feel. You can find out more in our Recovery and Wellbeing section and in our Keeping Well section.

Remember the five ways to wellbeing:

  • Connect: with the people around you
  • Be active: regular physical activity is linked with lower rates of depression and anxiety for people of all ages
  • Keep learning: Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course
  • Take notice: Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual
  • Give: Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time.

Find other support

There may be services that can help and give you some support. Check out all sorts of support services. Many organisations have information about mental health in general and about groups.

  • To find out ways of improving your wellbeing take a look at our Recovery and Wellbeing Centre  
  • Infolink resource directory can off advice on community support
  • The Derbyshire Directory also allows you to search voluntary and community groups in Derbyshire where you might find activities or groups that you are interested in. 
  • Think about any contacts you have with Faith support services. Talk to your local faith leader to see if there is any help they can offer.
  • Peer support services are often quite close, and have people who are in the same position as you who will understand, to find out about peer support services near you try the Derbyshire Peer Recovery and Support Service in Derbyshire, Tel: 01773 734989 or Life Links in Derby City, Tel: 0800 032202
  • Community activities are a great way to keep involved and active. Try volunteering in a charity shop, or join in a community activity such as a choir or walking group
  • Self-help booklets are free to print and can be used to help with issues you are troubled by, such as sleep, alcohol, anger, obsessions, stress, and depression and a low mood a guide for partners
  • You might also like to read the Mental Health and Wellbeing Guide produced by Derbyshire County Council, which can help you discover more about support and services in your area and gives useful tips on how to stay well

Get informed

Understanding all that you can about mental health issues and available services can help you to better understand things. It can help you to know what questions you want to ask. There are many excellent websites as well as informative books and videos. Be cautious though and look only at reputable sites and avoid chatrooms. Try:

NHS: visit the NHS website for health advice 
Medication: To find out about medication visit the Choice and Medication website
Moodzone: an anonymous online peer support community
Big White Wall: for on-line peer support
NICE guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence give you the standards that services should be trying to reach
Biographies of people who have been through problems, such as:

‘Coming back to me’ by Marcus Trescothick
‘Absolutely Foxed’ by Graeme Fowler
‘Reasons to stay alive’ by Matt Haig

Reading well books on prescription help you self-manage conditions such as depression and anxiety. Your local library can find these for you

We live in a digital age and applications (apps) have been developed for smartphones and other digital devices which can help you manage and take care of your mental wellbeing.  These apps can be downloaded and used as a way of helping you think about the best ways to keep well.  Visit the NHS Apps library to download apps which might be helpful, they are all NHS approved so you can be sure they are safe and secure.

Ways to cope with stress

Stress is what we feel when we are under pressure. It’s not an illness, it’s our body's reaction to feeling under threat; the ‘fight or flight’ response. A certain amount of pressure can be quite helpful and motivating, however sustained stress can be really bad for our health. Identify the sources of your stress, and try the free self-help booklet.  You can think about: Relaxation; Controlled breathing; Exercise; Hobbies; Self-care.

Carers need to look after themselves too

Carers and families need to look after themselves. If you are a carer and you get ill, you can’t support your friend or loved one. Caring can be a rewarding experience, and it can also be stressful. As a carer you have a right to help. You can also self-refer to Talking Mental Health Derbyshire

  • Avoid isolating yourself. You may tend to withdraw from others, but to stay well we need to stay connected. Ring a family member or good friend who will be understanding and empathetic.
  • Ask family and friends for help and support. It’s much easier to cope if you have support from others. Friends and family might be able to give you a break by helping with care, errands or household tasks. Or they could just be there for you; listening when you need to talk. Often people want to be supportive but they just don’t know how.
  • Get professional help. Speak with your GP, or see a mental health professional if you are having your own troubles with mood, anxiety, depression, or having difficulty coping. You can try ringing Talking Mental Health Derbyshire on: 0300 123 0542
  • Connect with self-help and peer support groups. Support groups can help you learn about other community resources, as well as offering practical advice and support that professionals cannot provide.  Look at the Carer and Family handbook for information about groups or activities for carers or ask for a copy of the Who Cares? Newsletter for carers on 01246-515974
  • Talk about information sharing and confidentiality. You can sign an Advance Statement that gives permission for things to be shared by health professionals. Ask for our booklet ‘Sharing Information with family and carers’ which has an agreement in it, on 01246-515974.
  • Know how to ask for help. If you are worried about the health of the person you care for, you can ring and ask for help. Use our SBARD card ‘How to get help: families and carers’ to record the Situation, Background, Assessment, Review, and Decision that is reached, and who you’ve been talking to
  • The Carers in Derbyshire website can provide you with lots of information about how to get advice and support and you might find services that are able to help. 

Know what to do in an emergency

If things get difficult enough that you need some extra help in an emergency, keep a list of numbers you can ring. You could try:

  • Your GP or NHS 111 If you feel like you're unable to manage your symptoms and feel unsafe. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, call 999.
  • In an emergency you can go to your local Accident and Emergency Department.
  • The Samaritans on 116 123 (free, open 24 hours)
  • Campaign against living miserably (CALM) for men on 0800 58 58 58 (5pm - midnight)
  • Papyrus for people under 35 on 0800 068 41 41 (10am – 10pm)
  • Visit the Mind website for useful information 
  • Social care Telephone:

o Derby City Careline 01332 640777. For out of hours support, please call 01332 786968

o Call Derbyshire - Call 01629 533190.  For out of hours support call 01629 532600

  • Safeguarding: If you’re worried about a child or adult experiencing or at risk of abuse, you can ring the Police on 999 or 101 for non-emergencies, or contact:

o Derbyshire County Council on 01629 533190 or 01629 532600

o Derby City Council on 01332 642855, or 01332 786968

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