Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adults Mental Health Support

All About Mental Health


We all have mental health and we all have to take care of it. It affects how we think, feel and behave as well as determining how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Our mental health can change over time. Some people call mental health 'emotional health' or 'wellbeing'.

What are mental health challenges?

Changes in mental health are very common, for example with the stresses and strains of life. But if these changes don’t go away, and start to affect our everyday life, this can lead to challenges with our mental health.  Over the course our lives, if we experience mental health challenges, our thinking, mood, and behaviour can be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health challenges, including our genes and life experiences.

How common are mental health problems?

Anyone can experience challenges with their mental health from mild stress to diagnosable mental health challenges, and it is thought that at any one time at least 1 person in 6 is experiencing a mental health challenge.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


 Skip to: Anxiety, OCD, Phobias


What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life – for example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam, or having a medical test or job interview. During times like these, feeling anxious can be perfectly normal.

However, some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives. People with anxiety challenges tend to feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.

Anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions, including:

Although feelings of anxiety at certain times are completely normal, see your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or causing you distress.

Who can help?

If you feel that you or someone you know could be suffering with anxiety then you can always go to your GP for help; your GP will be able to refer you over to someone who can help you get treatment. You can also self-refer yourself to services that help with Mental Health Challenges to get treatment.


What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition in which a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

It affects men, women and children and can develop at any age. Some people develop the condition early, often around puberty, but it typically develops during early adulthood.

OCD can be distressing and significantly interfere with your life, but treatment can help you keep it under control.

If you have OCD, you'll usually experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

  • An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease.
  • A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to carry out to try to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.

For example, someone with an obsessive fear of their house being burgled may feel they need to check all the windows and doors are locked several times before they can leave the house.

People with OCD can be reluctant to seek help because they feel ashamed or embarrassed. But there's nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. It's a health condition like any other – it doesn't mean you're "mad" and it's not your fault you have it.

Who can help?

If you know someone or yourself is struggling with OCD you can visit your GP who will be able to refer you to someone to get help. You can also refer yourself directly to services that help with OCD and other Mental Health Challenges.

The following sites may be useful sources of support:

OCD Action, OCD-UK and TOP UK can also let you know about any local support groups in your area.

What are Phobias?

A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.

Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that's causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. You may not experience any symptoms until you come into contact with the source of your phobia.

However, in some cases, even thinking about the source of a phobia can make a person feel anxious or panicky. This is known as anticipatory anxiety.

If you don't come into contact with the source of your phobia very often, it may not affect your everyday life.

There are a wide variety of objects or situations that someone could develop a phobia about. However, phobias can be divided into two main categories:

  • Specific or simple phobias
  • Complex phobias

Specific or simple phobias

Specific or simple phobias centre around a particular object, animal, situation or activity. They often develop during childhood or adolescence and may become less severe as you get older.

Common examples of simple phobias include:

  • Animal phobias – such as dogs, spiders, snakes or rodents
  • Environmental phobias – such as heights, deep water and germs
  • Situational phobias – such as visiting the dentist or flying
  • Bodily phobias – such as blood, vomit or having injections
  • Sexual phobias – such as performance anxiety or the fear of getting a sexually transmitted infection 

Complex phobias

Complex phobias tend to be more disabling than simple phobias. They tend to develop during adulthood and are often associated with a deep-rooted fear or anxiety about a particular situation or circumstance.

The two most common complex phobias are:

  • Agoraphobia
  • Social phobia 

Agoraphobia is often thought of as a fear of open spaces, but it's much more complex than this. Someone with agoraphobia will feel anxious about being in a place or situation where escaping may be difficult if they have a panic attack.

Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, centres around feeling anxious in social situations. If you have a social phobia, you might be afraid of speaking in front of people for fear of embarrassing yourself and being humiliated in public. In severe cases, this can become debilitating and may prevent you from carrying out everyday activities, such as eating out or meeting friends.

How common are phobias?

Phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder.

They can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex and social background. Some of the most common phobias include:

  • Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
  • Claustrophobia  – fear of confined spaces
  • Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces and public places
  • Social phobia  – fear of social situations

Who can help?

If you have a phobia, you should seek help from your GP. They may refer you to a specialist with expertise in behavioural therapy, such as a psychologist. Or you can refer yourself to a service that helps with Mental Health Challenges.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


Skip to: Depression, Bipolar


What is Depression?

Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days.

Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you're depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

Some people think depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong – it is a real illness with real symptoms. Depression isn't a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together".

The good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.

Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms.

They range from lasting feelings of unhappiness and hopelessness, to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety. There can be physical symptoms too, such as feeling constantly tired, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive, and various aches and pains. However, some people may have little to no physical symptoms and are functioning professionals dealing with depression.

The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. At its mildest, you may simply feel persistently low in spirit, while severe depression can make you feel suicidal, that life is no longer worth living. Most people experience feelings of stress, unhappiness or anxiety during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short period of time, rather than being a sign of depression.

Luckily there are many ways of treating depression, the treatment you may receive will depend on the type of depression you have.

Different Types of Depression and possible treatments:

·         Mild Depression - wait and see, exercise, self-help groups

·         Mild to Moderate Depression - talking treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling

·         Moderate to Severe Depression – antidepressants, combination therapy, mental health

What are the different treatments?

Wait and see: if you're diagnosed with mild depression, it may improve by itself. In this case, you'll be seen again by your GP after two weeks to monitor your progress. This is known as "watchful waiting".

Exercise: there's evidence that exercise can help depression, and it's one of the main treatments for mild depression. You may be referred to a qualified fitness trainer for an exercise scheme. You can also find out more about starting exercise and exercise for depression.

Self-help groups: talking through your feelings can be helpful. You could talk to a friend or relative, or you can ask your GP to suggest a local self-help group. Find out more about depression support groups. Your GP may also recommend self-help books and online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 

Antidepressants: antidepressants are tablets that treat the symptoms of depression. There are almost 30 different types of antidepressant. They have to be prescribed by a doctor, usually for depression that's moderate or severe.

Combination therapy: your GP may recommend that you take a course of antidepressants plus talking therapy, particularly if your depression is quite severe. A combination of an antidepressant and CBT usually works better than having just one of these treatments.

Mental health teams: if you have severe depression, you may be referred to a mental health team made up of psychologists, psychiatrists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists. These teams often provide intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medication. 

Talking therapy: there are different types of talking therapy for depression, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling. Your GP can refer you for talking treatment or, in some parts of the country, you might be able to refer yourself. Some talking treatments include; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Online CBT, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and counselling.

Mindfulness: Mindfulness involves paying closer attention to the present moment, and focusing on your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the world around you to improve your mental wellbeing. The aim is to develop a better understanding of your mind and body, and to learn how to live with more appreciation and less anxiety.

Who can help?

It's important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed. Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression, but it's best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery. You can also refer yourself to other services designed to help with depression.



What is Bipolar?

Bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.

People with bipolar disorder have periods or episodes of:

·         Depression – feeling very low and lethargic

You may initially be diagnosed with clinical depression before having a future manic episode (sometimes years later), after which you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. During an episode of depression, you may have overwhelming feelings of worthlessness, which can potentially lead to thoughts of suicide. If you're feeling suicidal or having severe depressive symptoms, contact your GP, care co-ordinator or local mental health emergency services as soon as possible.

·         Mania – feeling very high and overactive (less severe mania is known as hypomania)

During a manic phase of bipolar disorder, you may feel very happy and have lots of energy, ambitious plans and ideas. You may spend large amounts of money on things you can't afford and wouldn't normally want. Not feeling like eating or sleeping, talking quickly and becoming annoyed easily are also common characteristics of this phase. You may feel very creative and view the manic phase of bipolar as a positive experience. However, you may also experience symptoms of psychosis, where you see or hear things that aren't there or become convinced of things that aren't true.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder depend on which mood you're experiencing. Unlike simple mood swings, each extreme episode of bipolar disorder can last for several weeks (or even longer), and some people may not experience a "normal" mood very often.

The high and low phases of bipolar disorder are often so extreme that they interfere with everyday life.

However, there are several options for treating bipolar disorder that can make a difference. They aim to control the effects of an episode and help someone with bipolar disorder live life as normally as possible.

The following treatment options are available:

  • medication to prevent episodes of mania, hypomania (less severe mania) and depression – these are known as mood stabilisers and are taken every day on a long-term basis
  • medication to treat the main symptoms of depression and mania when they occur
  • learning to recognise the triggers and signs of an episode of depression or mania
  • psychological treatment – such as talking therapy, which can help you deal with depression, and provides advice about how to improve your relationships
  • lifestyle advice – such as doing regular exercise, planning activities you enjoy that give you a sense of achievement, as well as advice on improving your diet and getting more sleep

It's thought using a combination of different treatment methods is the best way to control bipolar disorder.

Who’s affected?

Bipolar disorder is fairly common and one in every 100 adults will be diagnosed with the condition at some point in their life.

Bipolar disorder can occur at any age, although it often develops between the ages of 15 and 19 and rarely develops after 40. Men and women from all backgrounds are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder.

Who can help?

If you or someone you know is suffering with Bipolar Disorder, then we recommend getting help if you have not already done so. This can be by going to your GP and letting them know what is happening with your Mental Health, you can also refer yourself to a service that works with Mental Health Challenges.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm is when someone chooses to inflict pain on themselves in some way. It is a sign of distress and can take many forms. Often self-harm is someone's way of coping with feelings and is a sign that something is wrong. Self-harm can be dangerous, and it is a sign that there is an underlying problem, therefore you should get help.

It is important to realise that self-harm is not the same as suicide, with self-harm there is not always an intention to end life like in suicide. The intention is more often to punish themselves, express their distress or relieve unbearable tension. Sometimes the reason is a mixture of both. Although the intention may not be to end life when self-harming, it is important to still get help.

Treatment for people who self-harm usually involves seeing a therapist to discuss your thoughts and feelings, and how these affect your behaviour and wellbeing. They can also teach you coping strategies to help prevent further episodes of self-harm. If you're badly depressed, it could also involve taking antidepressants or other medication.

Who can help?

If you're self-harming, you should see your GP for help. They can refer you to healthcare professionals at a local community mental health service for further assessment. This assessment will result in your care team working out a treatment plan with you to help with your distress.

Below are some organisations that give more information on ways to cope with self-harm, you can also speak to your GP for further support.

There are organisations that offer support and advice for people who self-harm, as well as their friends and families. These include:


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual assault is any sexual act that a person did not consent to, or is forced into against their will. It is a form of sexual violence and includes rape (an assault involving penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth), or other sexual offences, such as groping, forced kissing, child sexual abuse or the torture of a person in a sexual manner.
Sexual assault is an act that is carried out without the victim’s active consent. This means they didn’t agree to it. It is not uncommon for a victim of sexual assault to have no physical injuries or signs of their assault. But sexual assault is still a crime and can be reported to the police in the same way as other crimes.

What to do if you need help:

If you've been sexually assaulted, there are services that can help. You don’t have to report the assault to police if you don’t want to. You may need time to think about what has happened to you. However, consider getting medical help as soon as possible, because you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmiitted infections (STIs). If you want the crime to be investigated, the sooner a forensiic medical examination takes place, the better.

Try not to wash or change your clothes immediately after a sexual assault. This may destroy forensic evidence that could be important if you decide to report the assault to the police.

The following services will also provide treatment or support, and can refer you to another service if you need more specialist help (such as a sexual assault referral centre also referred to as SARC):

Sexual assault referral centres (SARCs) offer medical, practical and emotional support. They have specially trained doctors, nurses and support workers to care for you.

Services here to help:

  • Cambridge Rape Crisis Centre - Deliver a range of support services to women and children in Cambridgeshire who are survivors of rape, sexual abuse and violence.
  • Peterborough Rape Crisis Centre is committed to supporting and empowering female survivors of rape and sexual abuse, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexuality, age and other discriminatory factors respecting individual lifestyles through the provision of a confidential telephone help line, a face to face support service and other appropriate support mechanisms.
  • Victim Support - As an independent charity, we work towards a world where people affected by crime or traumatic events get the support they need and the respect they deserve. We help people feel safer and find the strength to move beyond crime. Our support is free, confidential and tailored to your needs.
  • The Survivors Trust - Living with the consequences of rape and sexual abuse can be devastating. At TST, we believe that all survivors are entitled to receive the best possible response to their needs whether or not they choose to report.
  • Women's Aid - We believe everyone has the human right to live in safety and free from violence and abuse. Women are the overwhelming majority of victims of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is a violation of women and their children’s human rights. It is the result of an abuse of power and control, and is rooted in the historical status and inequality of women in in society.
  • Survivors UK - We offer individual counselling, group work and helpline services from our base in Shadwell, London E1 for men who have been victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
  • Cambridgeshire Independent Sexual Violance Advisor (ISVA Service) - ISVA offers a Professional support and advise and a counselling service to survivors. Accepts Self and Professional referrals. An Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) is trained to look after your needs, and to ensure that you receive care and understanding. Click here for info about - who are ISVA, who are CHISVA and ISVA's Service Guide.
  • GALOP - LGBT+ anti-violence charity. If you’ve experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse, we’re here for you. We also support lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!


*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is Domestic Abuse? 

Domestic violence or abuse can happen to anyone. Domestic violence, also called domestic abuse, includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse in couple relationships or between family members.

Domestic violence can happen against women and against men, and anybody can be an abuser. If you're worried someone might see you have been on this page, find out how to cover your tracks online.

Signs of domestic violence and abuse

These are different kinds of abuse, but it's always about having power and control over you. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you might be in an abusive relationship. 

Emotional Abuse

Does your partner ever: 

  • belittle you, or put you down?
  • blame you for the abuse or arguments?
  • deny that abuse is happening, or play it down?
  • isolate you from your family and friends?
  • stop you going to college or work?
  • make unreasonable demands for your attention?
  • accuse you of flirting or having affairs?
  • tell you what to wear, who to see, where to go, and what to think?
  • control your money, or not give you enough to buy food or other essential things?

Physical Abuse

Does your partner ever:

  • threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • destroy things that belong to you?
  • stand over you, invade your personal space?
  • threaten to kill themselves or the children?
  • read your emails, texts or letters?
  • harass or follow you?

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, whether they're male or female.

Does your partner ever:

  • touch you in a way you don't want to be touched?
  • make unwanted sexual demands?
  • hurt you during sex?
  • pressure you to have unsafe sex – for example, not using a condom?
  • pressure you to have sex?

If you decide to leave

The first step in escaping an abusive situation is realising that you're not alone and it's not your fault. If you're considering leaving, be careful who you tell. It's important your partner doesn't know where you're going.

Before you go, try to get advice from an organisation such as:

Women's Aid has useful information about making a safety plan that applies to both women and men, including advice if you decide to leave.

Other sources for support and help

  • Refuge - helpline: 0808 2000 247 (freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run with Women’s Aid),
  • Men's Advice Line - helpline: 0808 801 0327 (Mon to Fri: 9am to 5pm),, Confidential helpline for all men (in heterosexual or same-sex relationships) experiencing domestic violence by a current or ex-partner.
  • Respect - helpline: 0808 802 4040 (Mon to Fri: 9am to 5pm),, Runs support services and programmes for people who inflict violence in relationships, including young men and women. Also runs the men's advice line, as above.
  • Respect not fear - Website for young people about domestic violence.
  • The Hide Out - Women's Aid website to help young people understand domestic abuse, and how to take positive action if it's happening to them.
  • The Forced Marriage Unit - helpline: 020 7008 0151,, Joint initiative between the Foreign Office and Home Office. It assists actual and potential victims of forced marriage, as well as professionals working in the social, educational and health sectors.
  • Ashiana Sheffield - helpline: 0114 255 5740,, aims to help prevent murder and serious harm to black, Asian, minority ethnic and refugee women in England, Wales and Scotland as a result of domestic abuse and forced marriage and 'honor'-based violence. Also supports children and young people.
  • GALOP - LGBT+ anti-violence charity. If you’ve experienced hate crime, sexual violence or domestic abuse, we’re here for you. We also support lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people who have had problems with the police or have questions about the criminal justice system.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically and socially, regardless of gender, age or size. A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health.

Although serious, eating disorders are treatable conditions and full recovery is possible. The sooner someone gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full recovery. Eating disorders are complex; there’s no single cause and not all symptoms will apply to all people.

Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are the most commonly spoke about eating disorders. However, there are several types of eating disorders and all of them are important.

Some of the main eating disorders are as follows:

  • Anorexia Nervosa -

People who have anorexia try to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough food or exercising too much, or both. This can make them very ill because they start to starve. They often have a distorted image of their bodies, thinking they are fat even when they are underweight. Men and women of any age can get anorexia, but it's most common in young women and typically starts in the mid-teens. 

  • Bulimia Nervosa - 

People who have bulimia go through periods where they eat a lot of food in a very short amount of time (binge eating) and then make themselves sick, use laxatives (medication to help them go to the toilet) or do excessive exercise, or a combination of these, to try to stop themselves gaining weight. Men and women of any age can get bulimia, but it's most common in young women and typically starts in the mid to late teens.

  • Binge Eating Disorder - 

Binge eating disorder involves regularly eating large portions of food all at once until you feel uncomfortably full, and then often upset or guilty. Binges are often planned in advance and the person may buy "special" binge foods. Men and women of any age can get binge eating disorder, but it typically starts in the late teens or early 20s.

  • Orthorexia -

It is currently not recognised in a clinical setting as a separate eating disorder, so you would not be officially diagnosed with “orthorexia” at the doctors, but the term would likely be brought up in discussion. Orthorexia refers to an unhealthy obsession with eating “pure” food. Food considered “pure” or “impure” can vary from person to person. This doesn’t mean that anyone who subscribes to a healthy eating plan or diet is suffering from orthorexia. As with other eating disorders, the eating behaviour involved – “healthy” or “clean” eating in this case – is used to cope with negative thoughts and feelings, or to feel in control. Someone using food in this way might feel extremely anxious or guilty if they eat food they feel is unhealthy.

  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) - 

It is common for symptoms to not fit with the exact diagnostic criteria for anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder, so it is classed as an OSFED – OSFED accounts for a large percentage of eating disorders.

Examples of OSFED's are: 

-  Atypical anorexia – where someone has all the symptoms a doctor looks for to diagnose anorexia, except their weight remains within a “normal” range.

-  Bulimia nervosa (of low frequency and/or limited duration) – where someone has all of the symptoms of bulimia, except the binge/purge cycles don’t happen as often or over as long a period of time as doctors would expect.

-  Binge eating disorder (of low frequency and/or limited duration) – where someone has all of the symptoms of binge eating disorder, except the binges don’t happen as often or over as long a period of time as doctors would expect.

-  Purging disorder – where someone purges, for example by being sick or using laxatives, to affect their weight or shape, but this isn’t as part of binge/purge cycles.

-  Night eating syndrome – where someone repeatedly eats at night, either after waking up from sleep, or by eating a lot of food after their evening meal.


Eating disorders do not always involve the physical aspect of being thin, someone with a normal or high BMI may still have an eating disorder; you just may not be able to see it. If you or someone you know could be suffering with an eating disorder, it is important to get help. You can always go to your GP who can pass you on to services and people who can give you support and advice.

 The Centre for Clinical Interventions has several resources available for self help and help for others struggling with an eating disorder along with helpful guidance with other mental health challenges.

Who can help?

If you are worried that you may have an eating disorder, visit your GP for support and access the following websites for more information:

  • Beat – has a range of services including a helpline and access to chat groups that can offer support if you are living with an eating disorder, or if you are supporting someone through recovery.
  • National Centre for Eating Disorders - Has information and professional training involving all eating disorders.
  • SEED - We are a group of ordinary people with first hand experience of eating disorders, who make a difference to those people whose lives are blighted by this devastating illness. All services can be accessed through self-referral. We provide support and services for people living in Hull East Riding and Out of Area.
  • MGEDT (Men Get Eating Disorders Too) - Men Get Eating Disorders Too’ is an award winning national charity dedicated to representing and supporting the needs of men with eating disorders. They provide essential information that is specific to the unique needs of men and an online space for men to get their voices heard as well as offer peer support via our forum.
  • Overeaters Anonymous - Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope are recovering from compulsive overeating. Welcomes everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively.
  • Weight Concern - The charity is committed to developing and researching new treatments for obesity. It is also working to increase the availability of the successful treatments it has pioneered in the UK via self-help programmes, self-help support groups and family based childhood obesity treatment.
  • Weight Wise - managed by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), with unbiased, easy-to-follow hints and tips - based on the latest evidence - to help you manage your weight for good. It will help you take a look at your current eating habits and physical activity levels, and offer a practical approach to setting your own goals for lifestyle change.
  • British Nutrition Foundation - Promotes the wellbeing of society through the impartial interpretation and effective dissemination of scientifically based knowledge and advice on the relationship between diet, physical activity and health.
  • Recover Your Life - One of the biggest and best Self Harm Support Communities on the Internet, offers help on a variety of topics surrounding self harm, including self injury, eating disorders, mental health issues, abuse and bullying, as well as drugs and alcohol and first aid.
  • The Mix - The Mix is a website for young adults. It has advice and will help you take on any challenge you’re facing - from mental health, eating disorders to money, from homelessness to finding a job, from break-ups to drugs. Talk to them via online, social or their free confidential helpline.
  • NHS Choices -website.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is Drug and Alcohol Abuse?

Drug and Alcohol abuse is when someone is addicted to taking drugs or drinking or both, and cannot stop taking drugs/drinking when they choose as it is more than a matter of willpower.

Many people do not understand why people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. They mistakenly view drug abuse and addiction as strictly a social problem and may characterize those who take drugs or drink as morally weak. One very common belief is that drink/drug abusers should be able to just stop taking drugs if they are only willing to change their behavior. This is not the case.

What people often underestimate is the complexity of drug and drink addiction. It is a disease that impacts the brain, and because of that, stopping drink and drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower. Through scientific advances we now know much more about how exactly drugs work in the brain, and we also know that drug and drink addiction can be successfully treated to help people who want to stop abusing drugs/alcohol and live a full happy life.

Some people become addicted to drugs and alcohol due to many reasons. They may suffer from other mental health challenges, for example; depression, and the only way they feel like themselves again is by drinking or taking drugs. There’s a different story behind every drink/drug addiction and all of them are valid. What is also important is wanting to get help and finding services that will allow you to get help.

Who can help?

Your GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment. They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drink or drug service.

If you're not comfortable talking to your GP, you can approach your local drug/drink treatment service yourself.

Drug Addiction Treatments

Depending on your personal circumstances and also what you're addicted to, when you seek help you may be given a keyworker who will work with you to plan the right treatment for you

There are different types of treatment available. These include

·         Residential treatment – Residential treatment involves living at a facility and getting away from work, school, family, friends, and addiction triggers while undergoing intensive treatment. Residential treatment can last from a few days to several months.

·         Day treatment/Partial hospitalization – Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but wish to still live at home and have a stable living environment. These treatment programs usually meet at a treatment center for 7 to 8 hours during the day, then you return home at night.

·         Outpatient treatment – Not a live-in treatment program, these outpatient programs can be scheduled around work or school. You’re treated during the day or evening but don’t stay overnight. The major focus is relapse prevention.

·         Sober living communities – Living in a sober house normally follows an intensive treatment program such as residential treatment. You live with other recovering addicts in a safe, supportive, and drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are useful if you have nowhere to go or you’re worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse

Within your treatment, there is likely to be therapies and other treatments to help you get clean. These may include: 

·         Talking therapies – talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), help you to see how your thoughts and feelings affect your behavior.

·         Treatment with medicines – if you are dependent on heroin or another opioid drug, you may be offered a substitute drug, such as methadone. This means you can get on with your treatment without having to worry about withdrawing or buying street drugs.

·         Detoxification (detox) – this is for people who want to stop taking opioid drugs like heroin completely. It helps you to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.

·         Self-help – some people find support groups like Narcotics Anonymous helpful. Your keyworker can tell you where your nearest group is. 

·         Reducing harm – your drugs workers will help you reduce the risks associated with your drug-taking. You may be offered testing and treatment for hepatitis or HIV, for example.

Where will you have your treatment?

You may have your treatment while living at home or as a hospital inpatient.

If your drug-related problems are severe or complicated you may be referred to a residential rehab.

For more information about residential rehab, or to find a rehab near you, you can visit rehabonline.

Drink Addiction Treatments

 The treatment options for alcohol misuse depend on the extent of your drinking and whether you're trying to drink less (moderation) or give up drinking completely (abstinence). It is a good idea to go your GP and talk to them about your concerns and goals. Your GP may suggest different types of assessment and support options available to you such as from the local community alcohol services. You can also ask about any free local support groups and other alcohol counselling that may suit you.

If you are worried about your drinking, you may be offered a short counselling session known as a brief intervention. A brief intervention lasts about 5 to 10 minutes, and covers risks associated with your pattern of drinking, advice about reducing the amount you drink, alcohol support networks available to you, and any emotional issues around your drinking

Moderation or Abstinence

Moderation or abstinence are treatment options if you're: 

·         Regularly drinking more than the lower-risk daily levels of alcohol – 14 units a week

·         Experiencing health problems directly related to alcohol

·         Unable to function without alcohol (alcohol dependency) 

Cutting alcohol out completely will have a greater health benefit. However, moderation is often a more realistic goal, or at least a first step on the way to abstinence.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but there are circumstances where abstinence is strongly recommended, including if you

·         Have liver damage, such as liver disease or cirrhosis

·         Have other medical problems, such as heart disease, that can be made worse by drinking

·         Are taking medication that can react badly with alcohol, such as antipsychotics

·         Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant

Abstinence may also be recommended if you've previously been unsuccessful with moderation.

If you choose moderation, you'll probably be asked to attend further counselling sessions so your progress can be assessed, and further treatment and advice can be provided if needed. You may also have regular blood tests so the health of your liver can be carefully monitored. 

Your treatment may include

·         Alcohol Detoxification:

If you need medication to help you stop drinking, it can often be taken at home or when attending a local service daily.

However, some people will need a short stay in a 24-hour medically-supported unit so they can receive safe treatment of their withdrawal symptoms or other problems.

This may be in an NHS inpatient unit, or in a medically-supported residential service, depending on your situation and the assessed medical need. 

·         Intensive Rehabilitation:

Some people are assessed as needing intensive rehabilitation and recovery support for a period after they stop drinking completely; either through attending a programme of intensive support in their local community or by attending a residential rehabilitation service.

This type of intensive treatment is usually reserved for people with medium or high levels of alcohol dependence, and particularly those who have received other forms of help previously that have not been successful.

Who can help?

There are a number of specialist alcohol services that provide help and support for people with a dependence on alcohol or drugs and their friends and family.

  • Drinkline - is the national alcohol helpline. If you're worried about your own or someone else's drinking, you can call this free helpline, in complete confidence. Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am – 8pm, weekends 11am – 4pm).
  • CGL: Change Grow Live - provide help and support to adults, children, young people and families. There services cover a wide variety of areas including health and wellbeing, substance use, mental health, criminal justice, domestic abuse and homelessness. You can download and fill out their referral form here and a leaflet about the services here.

Recovery Motivators - Recovery champions are fundamental to the on-going support of service users accessing treatment. Inclusion is constantly seeking to utililise the skills of those individuals having experienced treatment and who are committed to recovery. If you feel you would like to support others in treatment please click here.

  • Narcotics Anonymous - A non-profit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. The only requirement for membership is to stop using.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) - is a free self-help group. Its "12-step" programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups.
  • Al-Anon Family Groups - offer support and understanding to the families and friends of problem drinkers, whether they're still drinking or not.
  • Cocaine Anonymous - Cocaine Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using cocaine and all other mind-altering substances. There are no dues or fees for membership; we are fully self supporting through our own contributions.
  • Marijuana Anonymous - is a fellowship of people who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction. “We who are marijuana addicts? We know the answer to this question. Marijuana controls our lives! We lose interest in all else; our dreams go up in smoke.”
  • Talk to Frank - support line for anyone with questions/concerns surrounding drugs.

  • Aspire - Aspire is available to provide support for those with substance misuse issues and support for their families and carers within the Peterborough area.

  • Addaction - is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families and communities to manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse.

  • Adfam - is a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol. Adfam operates an online message board and database of local support groups.

  • The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa) - provides a free, confidential telephone and email helpline for children of alcohol-dependent parents and others concerned with their welfare. Call 0800 358 3456 for the Nacoa helpline.
  • SMART Recovery - groups help participants decide whether they have a problem, build up their motivation to change and offer a set of proven tools and techniques to support recovery.
  • CASUS (Cambridgeshire Child & Adolescent Substance Use Service) - Telephone: 01480 445316 Email at:
  • Recovery Cafes : free, regular, no appointments needed, drop-in cafes where you can find lots of information on recovery from drug and alcohol use, chats with others in recovery and enjoy a tea or coffee.

    Cambridge: The Edge Café, Brookfield NHS Site, Mill Rd, CB1 3DF, Every Thursday 12-3pm

    Ely: The Countess Free Church, Ely, Every Monday 10am – 12pm


There are lots of tips and tricks to help you stay in control of your drinking, whatever the situation. What are your drinking levels like? Find out here:

You’ll find lots of tips, and other information here:

Downloadable Mobile Apps:

Use the NHS Choices interactive tools to calculate alcohol units, assess your drinking levels and track your drinking over time.

If you have an iPhone or iPod touch you can download the drinks tracker from the iTunes app store for free.


For more services here to help, check out our Who Can Help Me Page!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What Is Social Isolation?

Spending time alone is a good thing, and some people require more alone time than others. Introverts, for example, enjoy spending lots of time alone and can feel drained through social interaction, whereas extroverts prefer the company of others and are recharged through social interaction.

Social isolation is typically considered unhealthy when people spend excessive time alone, particularly when they no longer benefit from time spent alone. Socially isolating oneself can mean staying home for days, not talking with friends or acquaintances, and generally avoiding contact with other people. Any form of contact, however limited, is likely to remain superficial and brief, while more meaningful, extended relationships are missing.

Social isolation can increase a person’s feelings of low self-worth, shame, loneliness, depression, and other mental health concerns. Isolation itself is not a diagnosis, but it can be a symptom of depression, social anxiety, or agoraphobia. Other things that impair social skills can lead to isolation, though not necessarily by choice, for example; physical disabilities, homelessness or hoarding.

When deciding to tackle your isolation, remember to take it slowly. You could try:

  • You can start by going somewhere where you won’t be expected to talk to people but still be around them, like going to the cinema.
  • Talk to your GP, you may be able to do some social anxiety treatments to help you manage any other mental health challenges that may be holding you back.
  • Catch up with a family member or friend and let them know how you’re feeling.
  • You could find a class or group that involves a hobby you enjoy, and take along someone you know for support.
  • Volunteer at a local charity or community project. Helping others is great for improving your mental health.
  • Join an online community. This is a good start when meeting new people as going out to meet new people in person can be daunting.

Below is a list of some services that are here to help tackle social isolation and some of its causes.

  • Mind - Cambridge MIND have a mentoring scheme through which volunteer mentors can assist existing service users towards achieving a particular goal/s. What exactly is involved is agreed together with the mentor, client and one of our project workers when they set up the mentoring agreement. The main point to take is that to access this mentoring scheme the individual would need to be accessing our services as a client initially. Mind also have support for loneliness which can be found here.
  • Spice - Spice is a charity that has developed a system of Time Credits as a way of recognising and celebrating the time people give and encouraging more new people to get involved in volunteering. A Time Credit is ‘earned’ for an hour of volunteering and can then be ‘spent’ on an hour of something that person enjoys, such as the theatre, swimming or learning new skills.  Spice has a wide network of places that accept Time Credits, from local opportunities in Cambridgeshire to national opportunities such as the Tower of London and the British Museum.
  • Wintercomfort - Wintercomfort supports people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes in Cambridge. They offer a safe place where people can feel welcome and valued, basic amenities such as meals, showers and laundry facilities. The also offer a range of educational and recreational activities, opportunities to access other agencies (e.g. health service), legal advice and meaningful work and volunteering opportunities through our social enterprises.
  • Make Do And Mend - A creative and cooperative outlet for people with mental health needs to socialise and learn new skills through strengths-based workshops which are low-cost, sustainable, flexible and environmentally friendly. There is £10 joining cost.  A referral needs to be completed, but self-referrals are accepted. All activities are kept as low cost as possible.  A donation is asked for tea’s and coffees at activities attended.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is a personality disorder?

A person with a personality disorder thinks, feels, behaves or relates to others very differently from person to person. Someone with a personality disorder may also have other mental health challenges, such as depression or drug/alcohol addictions. It is important to realise that although you may have a personality disorder, your personality disorder is not all that you are, you are still a member of society like everyone else, you just have a mental health challenge and our mental health challenges do no define who we are as people.

There are several different types of personality disorder; and not any two people will have the same symptoms, emotions and challenges.

In mental health, the word ‘personality’ refers to the collection of characteristics or traits that we have developed as we have grown up and which make each of us an individual. These include the ways that we:

  • Think
  • Feel
  • Behave

By our late teens, or early 20s, most of us have developed our own personality. We have our own ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. These stay pretty much the same for the rest of our life. Usually, our personality allows us to get on reasonably well with other people.

For some of us, this doesn't happen. For whatever reason, parts of your personality can develop in ways that make it difficult for you to live with yourself and/or with other people. You may not be able to learn from the things that happen to you. You find that you can't change the bits of your personality (traits) that cause the issues. These traits, although they are part of who you are, just go on making life difficult for you - and often for other people as well. 

Other people may have noticed these traits from your childhood and early teens. For example, you may find it difficult to:

  • Make or keep close relationships
  • Get on with people at work
  • Get on with friends and family
  • Keep out of trouble
  • Control your feelings or behaviour
  • Listen to other people

If this makes you unhappy or distressed and/or often upset or harm other people, then you may have a personality disorder.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms vary depending on the type of personality disorder. You may also find that you have some symptoms of a personality disorder depending on what is happening within your life, for example if you've experienced a trauma or loss; and some of these symptoms are natural reactions to what has happened to you and will usually subside with some time. However, if you usually have these symptoms day to day and you are struggling to find a reason then you may want to consider that you could have a personality disorder.

Research suggests that personality disorders tend to fall into three groups according to the different emotional traits, these are as follows:

Cluster A - 'Odd or Eccentric' :

  • Paranoid - suspicious, feel that other people are being nasty to you (when evidence shows this isn't true), feeling easily rejected and tends to hold grudges.
  • Schizoid - emotionally cold, don't like contact with other people, prefer your own company and have a rich fantasy world.
  • Schizotypal - eccentric behavior, odd ideas, difficulties with thinking, lack of emotion or inappropriate emotional reactions, see or hear strange things and sometimes related to schizophrenia the mental health challenge.

Cluster B - 'Dramatic, Emotional or Erratic' :

  • Antisocial, dissocial – don’t care much about the feelings of others, easily get frustrated, tend to be aggressive, commit crimes, find it difficult to make close relationships, impulsive (do things on the spur of the moment without thinking about them), don’t feel guilty about htings you’ve done and don’t learn from unpleasant experiences.
  • Borderline, or Emotionally Unstable – impulsive, find it hard to control your emotions, feel bad about yourself, often self-harm, feel empty, make relationships quickly – but easily lose them, can feel paranoid or depressed and when stressed, may hear voices.
  • Histrionic – over-dramatrise events, self-centred, have strong emotions which change quickly and don’t last long, can be suggestible, worry a lot about your appearance, crave new things and excitement and can be seductive.
  • Narcissistic –have a strong sense of your own self-importance, dream of unlimited success, power and intellectual brilliance, crave attention from other people, but show few warm feelings in return, take advantage of other people and ask for favours that you do not then return.

Cluster C - 'Anxious and Fearful' :

  • Obsessive-Compulsive (aka Anankastic) – worry and doubt a lot, perfectionist (always check things), rigid in what you do, stick to routines, cautious, preoccupied with detail, worry about doing the wrong thing, find it hard to adapt to new situations, often have high moral standards, judgemental, sensitive to criticism and can have obsessional thoughts and images (although these are not as bad as those in obsessive-compulsive disorder).
  • Avoidant (aka Anxious/Avoidant) – very anxious and tense, worry a lot, feel insecure and inferior, have to be liked and accepted and extremely sensitive to criticism.
  • Dependent – passive, rely on others to make decisions for you, do what other people want you to do, find it hard to cope with daily chores, feel hopeless and incompetent and easily feel abandoned by others.

The symptoms and difficulties you can experience may not fit exactly into any one of these categories. You may see aspects of yourself in more than one category.

If you or someone you know may be suffering with a personality disorder then there are services available for you to get help. Your GP is a good place to start and they may be able to refer you to services to get help.

Services available to help you:

  • Springbank Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS - Springbank is a 12-bed inpatient recovery unit for women with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD) who are struggling to cope with the demands of life outside of hospital, despite the input from community psychiatric services. Funded by CPFT.
  • Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Community Team – Offer assessment and treatment advise, support, care plans and specialist interventions. Funded by CPFT.
  • Rethink - Offer loads of helpful links to services and information/advice.
  • Time to Change - Offers helpful advice on where you can get help and you can see other peoples stories.
  • ELEFriends - Elefriends is a friendly, supportive online community for anyone experiencing a mental health challenge.
  • MIND – Mind is a mental health charity that offers lots of helpful advice and services.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


While many people are aware that you can become depressed after having a baby, it's less well known that many women experience anxiety during and after pregnancy. In fact, it's common to experience depression and anxiety together.

Depression and anxiety are the most common mental health challenges during pregnancy, with around 12% of women experiencing depression and 13% experiencing anxiety at some point; many women will experience both. Depression and anxiety also affect 15-20% of women in the first year after childbirth. During pregnancy and the postnatal period, anxiety disorders, including Panic Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Tokophobia (an extreme fear of childbirth), can occur on their own or can coexist with depression.

Perinatal anxiety and depression are mental health challenges experienced during pregnancy or in the year after childbirth. You might hear it called:

  • Perinatal or antenatal anxiety and/or depression if you experience anxiety during pregnancy.
  • Postnatal anxiety and/or depression if you experience it after giving birth.

Perinatal mental health challenges are those which occur during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. Perinatal mental illness affects 12-20% of women, and covers a wide range of conditions. If left untreated, it can have significant and long lasting effects on the woman and her family. Perinatal mental health challenges can also have long-standing effects on children’s emotional, social and cognitive development.

There are different types of depression and anxiety that can happen during and post-pregnancy:

  • Postpartum ‘blues’: (affecting 60-80% of all new mothers) is often expressed as frequent and prolonged crying, anxiety, irritability, poor sleep, quick mood changes and a sense of vulnerability. It usually occurs within the first three days following birth, continues for up to two weeks and is usually self-limiting.
  • Postpartum depression & anxiety: (affecting 15-20% of all new mothers) is more debilitating and longer lasting than the ‘blues’ and is characterized by despondency, tearfulness and more intense feelings of inadequacy, guilt, anxiety and fatigue. There may also be physical symptoms such as headaches and rapid heart rate. A lack of feeling for the baby is of special concern. These feelings can appear any time during the first few months to one year after the birth. Unfortunately, women experiencing this form of depression rarely seek treatment although almost all respond well.
  • Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following childbirth: is usually triggered by trauma during the time leading up to, during delivery or shortly afterwards. It can effect up to 6% of mothers. The trauma leads the women feeling that either her life or the life of her baby is at risk.
  • Postpartum psychosis:(found in 0.1% of new mothers) is a serious, but relatively rare disorder, with reactions such as extreme confusion, refusal to eat, delusions, auditory hallucinations, hyperactivity and rapid or irrational speech. Most of these reactions occur within 3-14 days following the birth. Psychosis is serious and requires immediate medical attention and at times medication and hospitalization.

How do I know if I have perinatal or postnatal depression or anxiety?

A mother may:

  • Feel constantly tired
  • Cry often for no apparent reason
  • Feel panicky
  • Worry excessively about her own or the baby’s health
  • Have a lack of feeling for the baby
  • Have difficulty sleeping or eating
  • Have problems concentrating
  • Have frightening thoughts or fantasies
  • Feel an overwhelming sense of loss

What are the treatments?

There are a range of treatment options for depression and anxiety, any of which you might find useful to treat perinatal and postnatal anxiety and/or depression.

  • Talking treatments. You're likely to be offered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or your local mental health services may run specific counselling or group programmes for anxiety. You can speak to your doctor, or contact your local services to find out what they offer.
  • Self-help resources. Your doctor could give you access to online CBT programmes, or prescribe self-help books to help you learn to manage your anxiety.
  • Medication. There are several different drugs that can be helpful in managing anxiety. If you have any concerns about taking medication during pregnancy or breastfeeding, you can always discuss this with your doctor.

You may be offered a combination of medication and a talking treatment. Many people find that taking medication helps them feel stable enough to get the most out of a talking treatment. However, other people find medication or talking treatments alone are more helpful.

If there are long waiting lists for talking treatments in your area, your doctor may recommend that you try an antidepressant to help you manage your mental health in the meantime.

What can I do to help myself?

Although the best way to treat depression is to seek help from a healthcare professional, there are steps you can take yourself to reduce your chances of developing depression and help you recover once you've been diagnosed.

Try to:

  • look for the positive things in your life, however hard that may seem
  • involve your partner or someone you're close to in your pregnancy and baby
  • make time to relax
  • be open about your feelings
  • ask for help with practical tasks like grocery shopping and household chores
  • find out about local support groups (check out our Who Can Help page)
  • make time to rest
  • eat well  
  • find time to have fun
  • organise small treats every day, such as a workout or a coffee with friends

Try to avoid:

  • doing too much – cut down on other commitments when you're pregnant or caring for a new baby
  • getting involved in stressful situations
  • drinking too much tea, coffee, alcohol or cola, which can stop you sleeping well
  • moving house
  • being too hard on yourself or your partner

If you're looking for other women's pregnancy challenges, here's a link to a life story about a woman who suffered with post-natal anxiety.

Who can help?

  • Anxiety UK - was established to promote the relief and rehabilitation of persons suffering from agoraphobia and associated anxiety disorders, phobias and conditions, in particular, but not exclusively, by raising awareness in such topics.
  • No Panic - No Panic is a registered charity which helps people who suffer from Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and other related anxiety disorders including those people who are trying to give up Tranquillizers.
  • The NHS - has useful information and tips on how to cope with perinatal and postnatal depression and anxiety.
  • Tommy's - are an organisation that provides accredited midwife-led pregnancy health information for parents-to-be, and funds research into the causes of pregnancy loss.
  • PANDAS - Pre And Post Natal Depression Advice and Support (PANDAS) help support and advise any parent who is experiencing a perinatal mental illness.  They also inform and guide family members, carers, friends and employers as to how they can support someone who is suffering.
  • CPSL MIND - Mind have lots of helpful advice and information online about the different kinds of support you can get and they also run lots of workshops and courses. If you would like to self refer to Mind, We have added their Referral Form here and a link to their different services and referral forms!
  • CPSL MIND have several services available, for example: 

Connecting Mums, 6 week short intervention courses for mums who are socially isolated, this course also offers tips and tools on management and prevention for mental wellbeing. Mums can bring along their babies to the sessions and we have volunteers on hand to help look after the children while mum interacts in a group environment, babies are in the same room as mums. We deliver these from a number of different children’s centres in Peterborough.

Mums Matter, 8 week targeted intervention course, this course is for Mums who are that bit more poorly, we deliver the courses in children’s centres and pay for a crèche for the children, the crèche is always in the same building as the mums and we work with the mums in a separate room, this course is designed to help mums manage the everyday and dispel the myths. We use tools such as CBT, mindfulness, meditation and work on self-esteem.

We are launching a Mums Monthly Peers Support group that will be starting on the 2nd July 2018, this will be held at First Steps Children’s Centre, it will take place on the first Monday of each month from 1000 – 1200, this is a peer led support group and the volunteers that lead the group have accessed our services. Mums can bring children along to the group.

CPSL MIND can accept Mums who are pregnant and have a child who is up to 2 years old, Mums can self-refer by contacting them on 01733 362990 or they can accept professional or other organisations referrals.

Local Support - Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Authority Support: 

  • Health Visiting service– The health visiting service is a universal-progressive, needs-led, evidence-based service for children to age 5 years and their families, delivered by specialist community public health nurses.

    Family Nurse Partnership- The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a structured home visiting parenting programme, delivered by specially trained family nurses, from early pregnancy until the child is two years old to vulnerable teenage mothers. The family nurse and the young parent(s) commit to an average of 64 planned home visits over two and a half years.

    Peterborough Connecting Mums- Cambridgeshire, Peterborough & South Lincolnshire MIND (formerly Peterborough & Fenland MIND) deliver perinatal mental health programmes. Peterborough City Council have commissioned this organisation to deliver 5 perinatal mental health programmes per annum (Connecting Mums & Mums Matter), which have been specifically designed, piloted and evidenced by CPSL MIND.

    Presently, the programmes only operate in Peterborough and have an annual reach target of 45 women, although some partners/family members are also supported in a 'supporter' session, which is part of the Mums Matter course. From a commissioning perspective, the local authority are continuing to invest in this for the 2018/19 financial year, however ongoing funding is unclear; it is anticipated that this need will be picked up through the Better Births transformation.

    Early Help Hub - Single point of contact for all Early Help Assessments, Family Plans and Reviews that have been completed by any agency. Here's the Cambridge County Council Support Hub website.

    Child & Family Centres/Children’s centres- Deliver evidence-based parenting programmes and targeted support for Domestic Abuse in conjunction with the Early Help offer.

    Health Improvement antenatal- Address lifestyle/behavioural factors- smoking, diet & obesity, physical activity, drugs & alcohol, sexual health. Delivered by Everyone Health  in Cambridgeshire and Solutions for Health in Peterborough.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe long-term mental health challenge. It causes a range of different psychological symptoms.

Doctors often describe schizophrenia as a type of psychosis. This means the person may not always be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality.

Symptoms of schizophrenia include: 

  • Hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that don't exist
  • Delusions – unusual beliefs not based on reality 
  • Muddled thoughts based on hallucinations or delusions
  • Changes in behaviour

Some people think schizophrenia causes a "split personality" or violent behaviour. This is not true. The cause of any violent behaviour is usually drug or alcohol misuse. When someone with schizophrenia is hearing voices they are not always violent or angry, they can be playful, friendly and funny.

What treatments are there?

Schizophrenia is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy tailored to each individual. In most cases, this will be antipsychotic medicines and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

People with schizophrenia usually receive help from a community mental health team, which offers day-to-day support and treatment.

Many people recover from schizophrenia, although they may have periods when symptoms return (relapses). Support and treatment can help reduce the impact the condition has on daily life.

If schizophrenia is well managed, it's possible to reduce the chance of severe relapses.

This can include:

·         Recognising the signs of an acute episode

·         Taking medication as prescribed

·         Talking to others about the condition

There are many charities and support groups offering help and advice on living with schizophrenia. Most people find it comforting talking to others with a similar condition.

Who can help?

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, see your GP as soon as possible. The earlier schizophrenia is treated, the better. There's no single test for schizophrenia. It's usually diagnosed after an assessment by a mental health care professional, such as a psychiatrist. You can also refer yourself to services that offer help and support for people with Schizophrenia and other Mental Health Challenges.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder which you may develop after being involved in, or witnessing, traumatic events. The condition was first recognized in war veterans and has been known by a variety of names, such as 'shell shock'. But it's not only diagnosed in soldiers – a wide range of traumatic experiences can cause PTSD.

When is it diagnosed?

When you go through something you find traumatic it's understandable to experience some symptoms associated with PTSD afterwards, such as feeling numb or having trouble sleeping. This is sometimes described as an 'acute stress reaction'.

Many people find that these symptoms disappear within a few weeks, but if your symptoms last for longer than a month, you might be given a diagnosis of PTSD. Your GP might refer you to a specialist before this if your symptoms are particularly severe.

Are there different types of PTSD?

If you are given a diagnosis of PTSD, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe PTSD. This explains what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently – it's not a description of how frightening or upsetting your experiences might have been.

PTSD may be described differently in some situations:

  • Delayed-onset PTSD – if your symptoms emerge more than six months after experiencing trauma, this might be described as 'delayed PTSD' or 'delayed-onset PTSD'.
  • Complex PTSD – if you experienced trauma at an early age or it lasted for a long time, you might be given a diagnosis of 'complex PTSD'. (See our page on complex PTSD for more information.)
  • Birth trauma – PTSD that develops after a traumatic experience of childbirth is also known as 'birth trauma'. (See our page on PTSD and birth trauma for more information.)

There are lots of misconceptions about PTSD. For example, people may wrongly assume it means you are 'dwelling' on past events. They might even suggest that you should 'get over it' or 'move on'. But having PTSD isn't a choice or a sign of weakness, and it's important to remember that you are not alone.

For more information you can visit the following websites:

  • NHS - NHS website with helpful info on PTSD and other mental health issues.
  • PTSD UK - PTSD UK is a charity which aims to educate and raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; it's causes, symptoms and the treatments available, to help everyone experiencing PTSD.
  • The Warriors Journey - This service focuses on helping people who are ex-forces with their ptsd. The vision of The Warrior’s Journey is that warriors and their families will live in wholeness and be equipped to navigate the issues of life.
  • Anxiety UK - Anxiety UK was established to promote the relief and rehabilitation of persons suffering from agoraphobia and associated anxiety disorders, phobias and conditions, in particular, but not exclusively, by raising awareness in such topics.


Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What is Dementia?

Dementia is a term used to describe a range of disorders or conditions that are affecting the brain. There are several types of dementia, the most common and well known one is Alzheimer's disease. You can have Dementia at any age, not just as you get older, and everyone diagnosed with dementia will experience their own unique symptoms

What are the most common types of Dementia?

The most common types of Dementia are as follows:

Alzheimer's Disease - symptoms are usually mild to begin with and then worsen over time. (Difficulty with language, depressed or agitated and may withdraw from family and friends, memory lapses, problems with special awareness, difficulty making decisions, problem solving and/or disorientation of time or place, a person not recognizing a familiar face.)

Vascular Dementia - caused by small blood clots preventing oxygen getting to the brain. (Progression can be quite erratic as a person my not have a series of blood clots for sometime. People suffering will usually appear to be 'getting better', this is usually temporary, as the damage to the brain can eventually lead to difficulties; e.g. with daily living, attention, memory, decision making and motivation.) 

Frontotemporal - More common under the age of 65. Frontotemporal Dementia represents a group of conditions which are caused due to nerve cells in the brain dying and the nerve pathways becoming damaged in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. (Behavioural Variant Frontotemporal Dementia symptoms can be: changes in behavior or personality, apathy, obsessive or repetitive behaviours, loss of empathy, changes in appetite, difficulties making decisions, problem solving and concentration.)(Primary Progressive Aphasia, which consists of Semantic Dementia and Progressive Non Fluent Aphasia can have the following symptoms: language difficulties, speech or grammar problems, reduced understanding and difficulty recognizing familiar faces or objects.)

Dementia with Lewy bodies - Dementia with Lewy Bodies is caused by a build up of clumps and proteins in nerve cells in the brain, known as Lewy Bodies. (Symptoms of this are: fluctuating alertness, confusion and concentration levels, memory issues, mood changes, struggling with problem solving, spatial awareness, difficulty doing everyday tasks, tremors, slower movement, sleep disturbance, unsteadiness, an increase in falls and visual hallucinations.


Although there is no known cure for Dementia just yet, there is still support out there for you, anyone looking after someone with Dementia and anyone looking for more information. Here are some services here to help with Dementia:

Local Services:

  • Huntingdonshire Dementia Action Alliance  - Dementia Action Alliance brings together leading organisations across England committed to transforming health and social care outcomes for people affected by dementia. Dementia Action Alliance captures and promotes best practice, enabling it to benefit many more people. They do this through member Action Plans. These are made public on their website. Members come together to share best practice and learn about the latest trends and innovations from across health and social care. We enable this through our events programme that includes roundtables, conferences and webinars. Members come together to influence system-wide change and campaign on major issues within health and social care affecting people living with dementia.                                        
  • Dementia Carers Support Service The Dementia Carers’ Support Service (DCSS) provides support for carers of people with dementia throughout the journey of their caring role. This is achieved by linking current carers of people with dementia with those who already have first-hand carer experience. These experienced carers are a befriender or buddy and become Dementia Carers’ Support Volunteer.                        
  • Dementia Support Service Cambridgeshire - The Alzheimer's Society dementia support workers offer information and practical guidance to help you understand dementia, cope with day-to-day challenges and prepare for the future. They offer information to people who are worried about their memory and ongoing support to people affected by dementia face to face, over the phone or in writing.                                                                                                                                                                
  • Peterborough Dementia Action Alliance - Dementia Action Alliance brings together leading organisations across England committed to transforming health and social care outcomes for people affected by dementia. Dementia Action Alliance captures and promotes best practice, enabling it to benefit many more people. They do this through member Action Plans. These are made public on their website. Members come together to share best practice and learn about the latest trends and innovations from across health and social care. We enable this through our events programme that includes roundtables, conferences and webinars. Members come together to influence system-wide change and campaign on major issues within health and social care affecting people living with dementia.                                             
  • Love to Move - Love to Move is a seated exercise and movement programme, packed with fun, music and laughter and specially designed to help improve the fitness of mind and body. This exercise programme is unique in the UK and proven to have significant physical, emotional and cognitive benefits for all participants, particularly those living with dementia. Each session lasts one hour and is delivered by an experienced and enthusiastic tutor.                                                                                                                                                                            
  • Dementia Compass - Founded in 2010, Dementia Compass works to support individuals with a cognitive impairment and their families and care partners. We are a volunteer-led, not-for-profit organization based in Cambridgeshire, England.                                                                          
  • Dementia Compass - D'Music'a Community Choir - We welcome anyone who loves music, especially those with memory challenges. We are a group consisting of individuals diagnosed with a dementia or mild cognitive impairment, their care partners and people who are keen on singing, having fun, and supporting opportunities for people living with dementia.

Local Dementia Cafés:

A Dementia Café is a café that people suffering with dementia can visit and be social, along with their friends, families and carers. The cafés are relaxed are give people the opportunity to talk with staff and other people about dementia whilst having a cup of tea and cake. Some cafés host regular talks by a range of local services who promote wellbeing and safety.

National Services:

  • Dementia UK - This site offers support and helpful information about dementia and how you can get in touch for more help and info.
  • Alzheimer's Research UK - Alzheimer’s Research UK is the UK’s leading dementia research charity, dedicated to causes, diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure. Backed by our passionate scientists and supporters, we’re challenging the way people think about dementia, uniting the big thinkers in the field and funding the innovative science that will deliver a cure.
  • Alzheimer's Society - This site has great information about getting help and getting involved in supporting people with Alzheimer's.
  • Age UK - Age UK's vision is to make the UK a great place to grow older. They do this by inspiring, supporting and enabling in a number of ways.
  • Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk - We support family carers of all ages across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk. We also offer flexible, professional care services to adults and children with a range of disabilities and health conditions.

For more services available for all Mental Health Challenges please check out our Who Else Can Help Me Page!


*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


What happens when you go through bereavement?

It is devastating when you lose someone close to you. Everyone’s experience of grief is unique, but there are some common things that lots of us will feel. You might feel numb, angry, exhausted or guilty for something you did or didn’t do or say. Your mind will be distracted so you may also find it hard to concentrate as well as you would do normally. These feelings are normal and will pass, but it can take time.

Speaking to someone can help, and you may get all the support you need from family and friends. If you don’t feel able to open up to people that you know, or you feel you are struggling, then there are organisations and sources of support that can help. These include:

  • Cruse Bereavement Care - Offers face-to- face, telephone (0808 808 1677) and email ( support.
  • Help is at Hand – A booklet specifically written for those bereaved by suicide by those who have also been affected by suicide. The booklet gives practical information as well as details of further support.
  • Samaritans – Provide a safe place for you to talk. They will listen and try to understand what you’re going through and help you make your own decisions that are right for you. You can get in contact with them via telephone (116 123 [free 24 hour helpline]), email, letter or face-to- face.
  • CPFT Bereavement Support Group - These are held on the second Monday evening of each month, but please ring to check the date if you were not at the previous meeting. The meetings take place from 6pm-7.30pm at: Quaker Meeting House 21 Thorpe Road Peterborough PE3 6AB. If you are attending the group for the first time, it’s really important you contact us first so we can get some details from you and have a chat about the format of the meetings. Please give us a ring (details in leaflet link).

Sometimes it isn’t just your own grief that you have to deal with, but that of your children. Children need time to grieve too, and it’s important to try and talk to them about their feelings as well as your own. Try to encourage them not to hide their feelings, but instead talk about them. As much as possible try to keep to the routine that your family had before the death to give a bit more stability, as hard as this may be.

These services provide specific support for young people and their families who are bereaved

  • Hope Again - Provides advice for young people after the death of someone close to them including personal stories of other young people who have been bereaved.
  •  Child Bereavement UK – supports families and educates professionals when a child or baby of any age dies or is dying, or when a child is facing bereavement.
  • Cruse Bereavement Care - Offers face-to- face, telephone (0808 808 1677) and email ( support.
  • Stars Children's Bereavement Support Service - Stars provides specialist bereavement support and counselling for any child or young person, aged 0-25 years who has experiences the death of someone close to them. We also provide support for young people when someone close to them is dying. Email:, Telephone - 01223 863511.
  • Grief Encounter - A national service providing support to bereaved children and teenagers including e-counselling and materials to help to support bereaved children. Email:, Telephone: 02083 718455.
  • Centre 33 - Provides free counselling to young people aged 13-25 years. Email:, Telephone: 01223 316488.
  • Compassionate FriendsA charitable organisation of bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents dedicated to the support and care of other similarly bereaved family members who have suffered the death of a child or children of any age and from any cause. Email:, Telephone: 034512 32304.
  • YMCA Cambridgeshire and Peterborough - Provides free counselling to young people ages 13-25years. Email:, Telephone: 01733 373170.
  • Keep Your Head - Provides details of more services and information on children's mental health.
  • Kooth - Kooth is a free, confidential counselling service, provides mental health self-help information and support online for people aged between 11 and 19 years.

Other local healthcare services:

  • Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice - The hospice’s family support team offers individual and group support pre and post bereavement. Trained staff and volunteers also facilitate the monthly walking group Wayfinders. Support for bereaved children aged six to 11 is available through the Charlie Chimp Club.
  • Arthur Rank House Hospice, Cambridge - Offers bereavement support to the families of patients who have received care from one of their services. Keith Morrison (Chaplain), Email:, Tel: 01223 675777
  • Sue Ryder St John's Hospice - Offers bereavement support to families and friends of patients cared for at the hospice. Jane Maxfield, Family Support & Bereavement Co-ordinator.
  • The Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre - The Alan Hudson Day Treatment Centre based at North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech, is a day centre supporting people who are living with a life-limiting illness. They also run a support day three times a year for bereaved relatives.
  • Cambridge University Counselling Service - This free service is for enrolled students and staff of the University of Cambridge.
  • Anglia Ruskin University Counselling and Wellbeing Service- The Counselling and Wellbeing Service is available to all students at Anglia Ruskin University and offers a free and confidential service to promote mental health and wellbeing.

Voluntary organisations

  • Age UK - Provides advice and information for older people through an advice line‚ publications and website.
  • The Samaritans - Provide confidential emotional support at all times of day and night.
  • Cambridgeshire Consultancy in Counselling - Provides an individual counselling service with a range of fees according to ability to pay.
  • Cogwheel Trust for Counselling - The Cogwheel Trust is a charity, motivated by its Christian ethos, working throughout Cambridgeshire to improve the emotional and psychological well-being of local people. 

For more information on bereavement and dealing with grief please visit the NHS Choices bereavement webpage. Click here for a printable bereavement leaflet full of services for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area.

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


Being a victim of a crime and witnessing a crime can be very traumatic. This can cause harm to your mental health, this can happen instantly or develop over time. Getting help is nothing to be ashamed of. 

If you report a crime you will be asked questions to find out how you have been affected by the crime. You may be asked about your personal circumstances to help identify if there is any additional support that you might need and to understand how you'd prefer to be contacted thereafter.

You will usually receive either a letter with information about the support available to you as a victim of crime, or a telephone call from a skilled victim and witness care coordinator.  They will work with you to assess your needs and create a personalised plan to help you cope and recover from the effects of crime. They will also ensure you receive your entitlements under the Victim’s Code of Practice, acting as your single point of contact, should you need them.

This support is also available to victims who do not wish to report a crime. If you have been a victim of a crime but don't want to report it, you can still speak with a member of the Victims and Witness’ Support coordinators. You can also go online to your local authority and they will have a victim and witness information and support area for you.

Everyone copes with the after-effects of crime differently and can vary from person to person depending on their personality, the support of friends and family and their personal circumstances. All reactions to crimes are completely normal and you should not be embarrassed.

Anyone can become a victim of crime. A victim is defined as “a person who has been harmed (physically, financially or emotionally), injured or killed as a result of a crime, accident or other event or action”. The definition of a victim can also include;

  • Families or friends of a person who has died as a result of criminal conduct
  • Families or friends of victims in fatal road collisions
  • Nominated representatives of a business that has been the subject of a criminal activity.

If you have seen or been a victim of a crime, you will be called a witness. As a witness, you play a vital role in helping solve crimes and deliver justice. The criminal justice system cannot work without witnesses and are the most important part in bringing offenders to justice. Witnesses can be:

  • Victims of crime
  • Someone who saw a crime or incident
  • Someone who knows something about a crime or incident
  • Someone with specialist knowledge
  • Someone who knows someone involved in a case, known as a character witness.

There are lots of support services out here for you; the different support services will be able to offer advice and support to help you manage your mental health challenges, we listed a few below:

The Cambridgeshire Constabulary - Provides a Hub of support and advice for victims and witnesses to help them get through the after-effects of crimes.

Cambridgshire & Peterborough Victim Services - You don't need to have reported your crime to the Police to receive support. For free, confidential and tailored advice on which service can best suit you you can visit this website.

Victim Support (VS) - Give you the support you need to move forward. Our services are free, confidential and available to anyone in England and Wales, regardless of whether the crime has been reported or how long ago it happened. Choose from a number of ways to contact us.

GOV Website - Get free help and advice if you’ve been a victim of crime.

You & Co - You & Co is Victim Support’s youth programme that helps young people cope with the impact and effects of crime. You do not have to report the crime to the police to get support from us.

Crime Stoppers UK - an independent charity helping law enforcement to locate criminals and help solve crimes. We have an anonymous 24/7 phone number, 0800 555 111, that people can call to pass on information about crime; alternatively people can send us information anonymously via our Giving Information Form. You don't have to give your name or any of your personal details. We do not trace calls or track IP addresses.

SAMM - SAMM is a national UK Charity (No 1000598) supporting families bereaved by Murder and Manslaughter. We also provide advice and training to many agencies on issues relevant to the traumatically bereaved.

Karma Nirvana - is an award-winning British human rights charity supporting victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. Honour crimes are not determined by age, faith, gender or sexuality, we support and work with all victims.

SARI Stand Against Racism & Inequality (SARI) is a service user/community-oriented agency that provides support and advice to victims of hate, and promotes equality and good relations between people with protected characteristics as defined by law. Most SARI staff have some direct experience of dealing with hate motivated behaviour and all staff have a clear understanding of and commitment to the objectives of SARI.

Stone Wall - We're here to let all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, here and abroad, know they're not alone. We believe we're stronger united, so we partner with organisations that help us create real change for the better. We have laid deep foundations across Britain - in some of our greatest institutions - so our communities can continue to find ways to flourish, and individuals can reach their full potential. We’re here to support those who can’t yet be themselves.

FASO - FASO is a voluntary organisation dedicated to supporting anyone affected by false allegations of abuse. False allegations affect people in all walks of life, in personal or professional contexts, and often without any warning or forewarning.  FASO is here to support you.

Murdered Abroad - A support group for families, partners and friends of the victims of murder and manslaughter abroad.

True Vision - True Vision is here to give you information about hate crime or incidents and how to report it. On this website, you can find out what hate crimes or hate incidents are, find out about the ways you can report them, report using the online form and find information about people that can help and support you if you have been a victim.

Equality Human Rights - We are an independent statutory body with the responsibility to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and protect and promote the human rights of everyone in Britain. The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation – these are known as protected characteristics.

Hundred Families - Offer accurate information and practical advice for families bereaved by people with mental health problems along with evidence based resources for mental health professionals and others interested in serious violence by the mentally ill.

Support Line - SupportLine provides a confidential telephone helpline offering emotional support to any individual on any issue. The Helpline is primarily a preventative service and aims to support people before they reach the point of crisis. It is particularly aimed at those who are socially isolated, vulnerable, at risk groups and victims of any form of abuse.

Suzy Lamplugh - Our mission is to reduce the risk of violence and aggression through campaigning, education and support. We help and support people to stay safe from violence and aggression through the provision of free safety tips, managing the National Stalking Helpline and delivering community projects.

Action Fraud - Action Fraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime where you should report fraud if you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cyber crime.

British Transport Police - We police Britain’s railways, providing a service to rail operators, their staff and passengers across the country. This website provides advice, information and support to anyone who has been affected by a crime whilst on British Transport.

For more services here to help with your mental health challenges, check out our Who Else Can Help Me? Page!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


If you are feeling stressed, you're not alone. Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure, and pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. A bit of stress is normal and can help push you to do something new or difficult, but too much stress can take its toll.

There are things you can do, and people or services that can help you to get on top of what is causing you to worry. Check out One You information on stress and try some of these top tips:

Talk to Someone - Sharing how you feel can really help. Start by telling a friend, family member or someone else you can trust just how you feel. If you've tried self-help techniques and they aren't working, you could speak to a health professional who will be able to give you more guidance and suggest other sources of support.

Take Control of Money Worries - A common root of many people’s worries is money problems. There are lots of organisations that can help you manage your situation, so don’t feel alone. Visit the NHS Choices website for information on charities that can help.

Stopping Smoking - Stopping smoking is not only beneficial to your physical health, but can also improve your mental health and relieve stress. It’s a myth that smoking helps people to relax, it actually can increase anxiety and stress. There is lots of help available to support you. As a first step call the local Stop Smoking service on:

Cambridgeshire - 0800 018 4304

Peterborough - 0800 376 56 55

Get Active! Being physically active can boost your mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reduce your risk of stress. Often the easiest way to build activity into your day is through walking or cycling instead of taking the car. Visit the One You website for more information on ways to get active or visit:

Be Well Cambridgeshire

Healthy Peterborough

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!


*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


Sleep allows your mind to unwind and de-stress. It also helps your brain to make sense of the day, and enables your body to fight illnesses better. Sleep and mood effect each other, so try and boost how much good quality sleep you are getting each night.

A few tips to help you sleep well:

  • Try making a list of the things you need to do tomorrow before you go to bed so that they aren’t on your mind when you are trying to sleep.
  • If you can’t sleep, then don’t lie in bed worrying about it, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy before returning to bed.
  • Moderate exercise (that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe faster and feel warmer) on a regular basis can help to relieve tension and aid sleep.
  • Cut down on caffeine, particularly in the evenings, as it can interfere with falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Try switching to a warm milky drink or herbal tea instead.
  • Try to have a regular routine for your sleep – going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time each day can really help.
  • Avoid using phones, tablets or watching TV for around an hour before bed.
  • Think about the room you are sleeping in – is it a good temperature? Is it dark enough?

For more tips and advice on sleep visit the One You and NHS Choices websites:

One You logoNHS choices logo

Mental health challenges are common but help is available and with the right support many people recover completely. Check out our Who Can Help Page for lots of services who are local and national!

*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


If you’re someone that works within the emergency services, it’s likely you’ve been face to face with difficult and potentially traumatic situations. It’s important to keep your mental wellbeing healthy, as you live with this day-in day-out, and it’s what gets you through the stressful situations you see every day in your job.

Working in an environment where you are helping other peoples traumatic and stressful situations every day doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to have mental health challenges of your own. Mental health challenges are completely normal and are different for everyone. Your mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing, and you need to maintain both in order to stay fit and healthy.

Your mental wellbeing can be affected by work-related factors like:

  • Repeated exposure to traumatic events
  • Workload pressures
  • Long working hours
  • Lone working
  • Dealing with people who may be physically or verbally abusive

There are lots of ways you can get some help if you feel that you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing. You can talk to your GP, refer yourself to mental health services or you can talk to friends and family about it.

Here’s a list of services available to help:

Policing Services:

  • The Police Treatment Centres provide timely and effective treatment and support for our police family patients, in order to improve their health, fitness and wellbeing.
  • Blue Lamp Foundation  Blue Lamp Foundation helps support our injured emergency services heroes.
  • Flint House The flint house provides planned rehabilitation services for both mental and physical health to warranted serving police officers, retired police officers, special constables, PC SO’s and designated detention officers.
  • Safe Horizon SHUK is a charity that provides support and assistance when dealing with mental health stigma and Disability Discrimination in the workplace.  We understand the impact of psychological injury on you, your work and your relationships.
  • Disabled Police Association Our Association seeks to ensure the fair treatment of everyone in the police service, but works particularly hard to ensure that it is the ability of disabled officers and staff that is recognised, rather than the employee’s limitations.
  • MIND Blue Light Infoline The Blue Light Infoline offers confidential, independent and practical support, advice and signposting around mental health and wellbeing. The Infoline is just for emergency service staff, volunteers and their families, to help keep you or those you care about well for work.

Ambulance Services:

  • The Ambulance Staff Charity (TASC) We provide confidential, impartial and independent advice and access to a range of support services, including rehabilitation when recovering from illness or injury, mental health support; bereavement support; debt and welfare advice; financial grants and other support.
  • Blue Lamp Foundation  Blue Lamp Foundation helps support our injured emergency services heroes.
  • MIND Blue Light Infoline The Blue Light Infoline offers confidential, independent and practical support, advice and signposting around mental health and wellbeing. The Infoline is just for emergency service staff, volunteers and their families, to help keep you or those you care about well for work.

Fire and Rescue:

  • The Fire Fighters Charity Provides support with rehabilitation, health and wellbeing, nursing, recuperation, children/family, advice, support and much more.
  • The Big White Wall Big White Wall is an online mental health and wellbeing service offering self-help programmes, creative outlets and a community that cares. When you're dealing with everyday stressors or major life events, they'll help you get through it.
  • Women In The Fire Service Formally known as Networking Women in the Fire Service, WFS was formed in 1993.  It is a voluntary, not for profit organisation with members from across all roles within the FRS community which offers support and advice.
  • Blue Lamp Foundation  Blue Lamp Foundation helps support our injured emergency services heroes.
  • MIND Blue Light Infoline The Blue Light Infoline offers confidential, independent and practical support, advice and signposting around mental health and wellbeing. The Infoline is just for emergency service staff, volunteers and their families, to help keep you or those you care about well for work.

Search and Rescue:

  • Blue Lamp Foundation  Blue Lamp Foundation helps support our injured emergency services heroes.
  • MIND Blue Light Infoline The Blue Light Infoline offers confidential, independent and practical support, advice and signposting around mental health and wellbeing. The Infoline is just for emergency service staff, volunteers and their families, to help keep you or those you care about well for work.


*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


Managing your Well-Being with a Long-Term Condition:

Living with a long term health condition can take its toll on your mental well-being. Long-term conditions can lead to frustration, anxiety, low mood and other mental health challenges. If you live with a long-term health condition it does not mean you will suffer with mental health challenges, everybody had mental health and we all cope with stress and things like health conditions in our own ways. 


Managing your well-being with diabetes:

Having the long-term condition of diabetes means that you have to juggle managing your condition along with everyday life. This can be very overwhelming, stressful and can cause frustration. Changes in mood are very common because of this. Research suggests that if you have diabetes, you are more likely to experience challenges with anxiety and depression.

National clinical health guidelines have demonstrated that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is useful for people who are struggling with managing their diabetes. CBT can enhance peoples’ understanding of diabetes care and has also been shown to improve mood and glycaemic control.

Finding Support

CPFT Psychological Well-being Service works alongside and collaborates with GPs, hospitals, diabetes specialist nurses and consultants.  We will help you recognise if you are experiencing anxiety or depression and how this might affect health and management of your diabetes.  Therapists have training and experience in working with people with diabetes and other physical health conditions. Together, we will be able to talk about the range of therapy options that would be most helpful and suitable for you.


Managing your well-being with a heart condition:

People living with heart conditions typically experience higher rates of mental health challenges. Some research suggests that you can be three times more likely to suffer with anxiety and/or depression if you are living with a heart condition. Anxiety is the most common symptom (77%) and over half (51%) of people with a heart condition experience symptoms of depression. Despite these strong feelings, many people do not speak to anyone about the emotional or psychological impacts of having a heart condition.  

It can be really helpful to talk with someone about your heart condition. Improved management of stress and depression can help support future changes to your physical and emotional health. This in turn will help to improve your cardiovascular risk profile and lower your risk of further cardiac events.

Finding Support

CPFT Psychological Well-being Service works alongside and collaborates with GPs, hospitals, cardiac specialist nurses and consultants.  We will help you recognise if you are experiencing anxiety or depression and how this might affect health and management of your heart condition.  Therapists have training and experience in working with people with cardiac conditions and other physical health problems. Together, we will be able to talk about the range of therapy options that would be most helpful and suitable for you.


Managing your wellbeing with Respiratory Disorders:

People living with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) or other chronic respiratory diseases can find themselves feeling low and/or anxious. Research shows that people with COPD are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the general population. Symptoms such as breathlessness, coughing and fatigue can contribute to feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. These feelings can lead to reduced activity levels, which may worsen your condition.  Cognitive behavioural therapy techniques have proven to be successful in psycho-educational breathlessness/health promotion groups as well as individually  in primary and secondary care, with positive outcomes on: psychological wellbeing, coping strategies and use of health services.

Finding Support

CPFT Psychological Wellbeing Service works alongside and collaborates with GPs, hospitals, respiratory specialist nurses and consultants.  We will help you recognise if you are experiencing anxiety or depression and how this might affect health and management of your respiratory condition.  Therapists have training and experience in working with people with lung conditions and other physical health problems. Together, we will be able to talk about the range of therapy options that would be most helpful and suitable for you.


Who is CPFT's Psychological Wellbeing Service for? Is if free? And how can I refer myself?

The service is for people aged over 17 years who are normally resident in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are registered with a GP in one of these areas.  We do not have an upper age limit.

The service is free of charge as it is an NHS service.

You can refer yourself Here! You can also call their self-referral team on 0300 300 0055 and they will guide you through the process, let them know that you have a Long-term Condition. The telephone line is open from 9am to 5pm Mon-Fri.

The Psychological Wellbeing Service provides psychological therapy that recognises the difficulties for some patients with long-term physical health conditions including COPD, Diabetes and Cardiac disease including heart failure.

CPFT's Psychological Wellbeing Service aims to help you to improve your well-being, support you to manage your health problem and help you to look at how you can live your life in a more positive way.

We offer a range of treatment options including courses as well as individual therapy, which case take place via the telephone, online or face to face depending on the treatment you receive. The type of therapy we predominantly use is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (see therapies section).

We are based in a variety of locations across the county to make access easier, including at our base sites in Huntingdon, Cambridge, Wisbech, March and Peterborough.  We also work out of many GP surgeries, various rooms in the community such as libraries and some hospital settings.  However, we do not see people in their own home.

For information on managing your long term condition, check out the CPFT website here!

*Some information gathered from and .


What is a learning disability?

A learning disability is something that affects a way in which a person learns new things throughout their life. A learning disability can affect a person’s ability to:

  • Understand new or complex information
  • Learning new skills
  • Coping independently

Learning disabilities can vary in severity. They can be mild, moderate or severe.

Some people who have a learning disability will find talking easy, and can live independently but may need slightly longer to learn new skills; whereas other people may struggle with communicating and could have other disabilities as well. A persons’ ability to live independently can depend on the level of care and support they need and receive.

Young people and children with learning disabilities may also have special educational needs (SEN).

Most learning disabilities are diagnosed in childhood, but they can be diagnosed at any time in a person’s life. Down’s syndrome for example, is diagnosed at birth, whereas some others may only be discovered when a child is old enough to talk and walk.

After a diagnosis of a learning disability, your GP can refer you for any specialist support you may need. You can then get to know the team of professionals that will be involved in the care of your child.

People with a learning disability can live as full and independent a life as possible with the right support from some of the following professionals:

  • GPs
  • Paediatricians
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Educational and Clinical Psychologists
  • Social Care Workers

What causes learning disabilities?

A learning disability happens when a person’s brain development is affected, either before they’re born, during their birth or in their early childhood.

Affects in brain development can be caused by things such as:

  • The mother becoming ill during pregnancy
  • Problems during the birth that prevents enough oxygen getting to the brain
  • The unborn baby inheriting certain genes from its parents that make having a learning disability more likely – known as inherited learning disability
  • Illness, for example, meningitis or injury in early childhood

Sometimes there isn’t a clear or known cause for a learning disability.

Certain conditions are often associated with having a learning disability because people with these conditions are more likely to have one. For example, everyone with Down’s syndrome has some kind of learning disability, and so do many people with cerebral palsy. People with autism may also have a learning disabilities, and around 30% or people with epilepsy have a learning disability.

What is a profound and multiple learning disability (PMLD)?

A profound and multiple learning disability is when a person has severe learning disability and other disabilities that significantly affect their ability to be independent and communicate.

A person with PMLD can have severe difficulty seeing, hearing, speaking and moving. They might have complex health and social care needs or other conditions.

People with profound and multiple learning disability often need a carer/carers to help them with most areas of everyday life, for example, eating, washing and going to the toilet. With support, lots of people can learn to communicate in different ways, be involved in decisions about themselves, do things they enjoy and achieve more independence.

Living with a diagnosis of a learning disability:

It can be quite a shock to be diagnosed with a learning disability; it isn’t always clear what caused it or what the learning disability is.

Some children can be late when reaching milestones in development, such us walking or talking, this is usually nothing to worry about. Some developmental challenges can have a definite cause, like a hearing or sight problems, learning disabilities or autism.

If you’re worried about your child’s development, speak to your GP.

To ensure a person with disabilities or long-term health conditions get the right care for their needs, they will be assessed. This can be finding the right health treatment and support, education and training. If someone needs more than one kind of assessment, they should be combined together.

*Some information gathered from and .


What is Autism?

Autism is a spectrum disorder, which can be diagnosed as autism spectrum disorder or Asperger syndrome. Autism is a lifelong condition that can affect people in how they communicate and interact with others.

Autism can affect people in different ways, however most autistic people see, hear and experience the world differently to how people without autism experience the world.

1 in every 100 people are estimated to be autistic in the UK. Men and boys are diagnosed as autistic more often than women and girls; however, it is thought now that older women and girls may manage autism differently and therefore go through life without a diagnosis.

There is no “cure” for autism, with the right support many autistic people live fulfilled with active lives.

What are the signs and characteristics of autism?

Every person is different, so the characteristics and signs vary widely. There are however, two common characteristics:

  • Repetitive behaviour, activities and routines – such as fixed daily routine and repetitive body movements.
  • Difficulties with social communications and interactions – autistic people can find it hard to make friends or join in conversations.

People with autism can also be under or oversensitive to certain noises, colours, lights and other things, known as sensory sensitivity. These characteristics are present over time and have noticeable effect on daily life.

Certain health challenges and conditions are more common in autistic people. These include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Epilepsy
  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Dyspraxia

It’s important that these conditions should be identified and treated properly, and are not thought of as a part of the autism spectrum.

Getting a diagnosis

The main signs of autism, for example, difficulties with social interactions and communications, can often be recognised in early childhood. Some signs of autism may not be noticeable until a situation change, such as when the child starts nursery, changes school or leaves school.

Many adults have not had a formal diagnosis, but there are benefits to getting a diagnosis, including:

  • Protection under the Equality Act
  • Understanding your differences
  • Access to support services

See a GP or health visitor if you notice any signs of autism in your child or yourself, or if you’re worried about your child’s development. It can also help you get educational, health and care support without a diagnosis of autism, getting one makes sure your child gets the right support when they need it.


*Some information gathered from and the services listed.


How can being active help your mental health?

Evidence shows that being active is good for your physical health and fitness and can have a positive impact on your mental well being too. Being active does not mean that you need to be spending several hours a day in the gym, if that isn't something you enjoy. You can stay healthy by finding an activity which is, in broad terms, active that you enjoy, and do that instead.

Scientists believe that being active helps maintain and improve mental and physical well-being. It has been said that physical activity can help people who are living with anxiety and depression. Being active is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help our mood in a positive way. It is also believed that being active helps build self-esteem, confidence and resilience.

How can you get more active?

It is generally recommended that an adult over the age of 19 years old should do at least 150 minutes (2 1/2 hours) per week of moderate to intensive activity. Find an activity you enjoy doing that involves being active, because this will help you make being active a normal part of your life.

Some places have programs that are free for people who have been diagnosed with mental health challenges, for example; Invigorate offer a range of different activity groups to anyone who has mental health challenges and their support system, you can find out more here.


Here we have a list of campaigns you can get involved in!

·         STOP Suicide

There is a range of suicide prevention resources available as part of the STOP Suicide Campaign. These include self-help leaflets for those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts as well as those who are concerned that someone they know might be at risk. There are also posters giving the key campaign messages, STOP Suicide pledge cards for you to carry in your wallet and ‘I’d Ask’ badges to help you spread the word. Click here to go to the website for more information!


·         Stress LESS

Stress LESS is a county-wide, pilot campaign that launched across the county during National Revision Week, 18–22 April 2016 and peaked during Mental Health Awareness Week (16-22 May 2016). The campaign seeks to empower students (aged 12–18) to find positive ways of coping with school/college and exam stress. Click here to go to the website for more information!


·         Time to Change

Time to Change is a growing social movement working to change the way we all think and act about mental health problems. We've already reached millions of people and begun to improve attitudes and behaviours. Join thousands of campaigners in workplaces, schools, communities and online who are making stigma and discrimination a thing of the past.  Click here to go to the website for more information!


·         Heads Together

Heads Together is a mental health initiative spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry, which combines a campaign to tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health with fundraising for a series of innovative new mental health services. Click here to go to the website for more information!


*Some information gathered from and the services listed.

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