Where do I start looking for mental health support?
There is no one type of support that is best for everyone, and different things work for different people at different times. It is OK to stop a type of support if it is not working for you.
The type of support you might need
The type of support you look for can depend on several things, like:
How you are feeling and how much your mental health problem is affecting you
Not everyone needs the same level of support. Some people might feel they need tips to help them to look after their mental wellbeing while others might feel they are in need of specialist support.
What is available in your area
Not everywhere in the UK has the same services. The NHS has information about local mental health support in your area.
What kind of support you think would best suit you
This can include talking therapy, religious support or a support group. You might not know what you need at the moment and that is OK. Mind, the mental health charity, has more information on support options.
Your cancer diagnosis
You might want support from a service that also understands your cancer diagnosis and experience. Macmillan Cancer Support and Maggie’s has information and support services for people with cancer and their families.
For more information on the above organisations, visit our page on mental health support organisations.
Look for trusted and reliable online information
Trusted and reliable information is:
- regularly reviewed and updated
- has an identifiable author, such as an individual or organisation, that you can look up to find out more about their qualifications on the topic
- based on the highest level of scientific evidence where available
- make use of the input of specialists and people with lived experience
- has references you can check
- is regulated by an independent organisation such as the Patient Information Forum
How do I know I can trust a website?
It can be difficult to know whether a website can be trusted. Some websites, like the Cancer Research UK or NHS website, carry the Patient Information Forum mark (PIF tick). This shows the information has been through a professional research and writing process.
Not all information will have marks like this. So, look whether they are:
- a registered charity
- an official government organisation
- have references you can easily check
Many organisations also carry the Plain English Campaign logo. This means the information is written in plain English, and try to avoid medical jargon where possible.
Contact an information and support service
Contacting an information and support service when you’re newly diagnosed or struggling with your mental health is often a good place to start. You can do this if you have cancer yourself or if you’re a family member or carer of someone with cancer.
Some cancer hospitals are linked with Macmillan Information Services or Maggie’s Centres. They are available throughout the UK.
These centres can offer:
- emotional support, advice and information
- welfare and benefits advice
- wig and scarf-tying advice
- complementary therapies
- diet and nutrition advice
- psychological and emotional care
- a well-being programme of workshops, courses and events
With special thanks to Mind for their expert knowledge during the development of this information.