Our World Mental Health Day campaign is all about how awareness is just the start and it’s now time to act – whether that’s encouraging people to try Mind’s supported self-help programme, sharing story like Janette has done, or doing something completely different. Find out more about supported self-help here.

Whatever action you take, you’ll be helping to fight for mental health. Find out how to get involved with World Mental Health Day here.

Lauren, from Brecon, blogs about how the Mind programme enabled her to regain her confidence.

When I initially accessed supported self-help through Brecon Mind, my mental health was at its lowest and I found it difficult to have the courage to ask someone for help, as well as talking about my problems.

I am lucky to have a parent working at Mind who was able to direct me to what was the best option for me and my health at the time. This helped a great deal as I struggled to find the confidence to ask for help from a ‘stranger’ myself.

“I felt relieved and lighter, having someone to talk to confidentiality about my mental wellness.”

Supported self-help is a free, one-to-one six-week guided programme. Mind gives you the materials to understand and manage your feelings, and their practitioners use counselling based skills such as
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

I quickly found that building trust with my practitioner and following the steps to better mental health would obviously take time and practice. I was unsure at the beginning whether this was the best route for me. But I got over this initial feeling and found myself feeling relieved and lighter, knowing that I had someone to talk to confidentiality about my mental wellness.

I got on with my practitioner really well. She was friendly, approachable, kind, and caring – she became more like a friend, and I quickly found comfort in talking to her weekly on the phone.

I took the anxiety pathway, but also dipped into some of the other areas offered in the programme. As well as anxiety, support is offered for depression, self-esteem, stress, feeling alone, managing anger, grief and loss, and menopause.

Boosting physical health too

Supported self-help not only benefited my mental health, but I also found myself becoming physically healthier. The steps I took through the sessions not only helped in the moment, but I have been able to adapt and use them in my daily life – even now, two years on. The techniques learnt are versatile and are provided in an encouraging way.

“I was lonely, anxious, low, and depressed. After having self-help, I became more confident in meeting new people.”

My experience at university changed dramatically after having supported self-help. In my first year when I accessed it, I was lonely, anxious, low, and depressed. I hardly left my room, stepped away from most social situations and distanced myself from my friends at home because of feelings of being left out and unwanted.

After having self-help, I became more confident in meeting new people and even joined the committee on the University Ladies Cricket Club. I’ve gone on to become team captain and vice-president this year. I think this reflects the benefits that supported self-help gave me. I still use the tools, especially the Mental Health Toolbox – a list of things I know will make me feel better.

Techniques and tips will stay with me

My mental health now is at a much higher level, although there are still days or even weeks where I drop, but thanks to what my practitioner taught me, I now know I can step back, look at the situation and find the best technique to help me. I did go on to antidepressants at the same time as receiving supported self-help, although not long-term. They have aided me, but I know that the techniques and tips learnt through supported self-help will stay with me. I would recommend it to anyone who needs even a small amount of support or someone to talk to.

The feeling of getting thoughts and emotions out of my mind, and to receive another person’s perspective was reassuring and helped me immensely. I continue to be a member at Brecon Mind and now I volunteer. I wouldn’t be as confident, brave, or outgoing without having this programme.

Find out more about Supported self-help