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Mental health resources and links

Posted on: October 12 2020

Thank you to everyone in the MS-UK community who got involved with our World Mental Health Day event on Saturday 10 October. We just wanted to bring all the resources together in one handy place, so anyone can access them in the future. 

Here's a list of links for the resources. If you would like any support, please get in touch. MS-UK is here for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) and you can reach us on 0800 783 0518 or by contacting us via our online web form.

Blogs about mental health resources

Read our blog about mental health organisations

Read our blog about mental health professionals

Read our blog about mental health apps

Read our blog about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

MS-UK mental health services

Find out more about MS-UK Counselling

Find out more about our Single Session Therapy pilot

Our Loneliness and Isolation Report

This year we commemorated World Mental Health Day by sharing the findings of our Loneliness and Isolation Report. You can find out more about this piece of research by reading the full report below or visiting the web page

Read the report (PDF version)

Mental health organisations

Posted on: October 10 2020

Across the UK, there are a range of mental health charities and organisations offering support and information. Here we have listed some well-known organisations which you may find useful.

For a longer list of organisations that specialise in certain areas, visit the NHS website.

What to do if you need urgent help

The NHS urgent mental health helplines provide 24-hour advice and support for anyone living in England. You can find a helpline number using the NHS website

If you feel you or someone else is at risk of serious harm or injury, please call 999. 

Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation aims to help people understand, protect and maintain their mental health. The offer community and peer programmes, undertake research, give advice to people affected by mental health conditions and campaign for change.

Visit the Mental Health Foundation website

Mind

Mind provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. They run an Infoline, a Legal Line and produce publications about a wide range of mental health issues. 

Visit the Mind website

Local Mind organisations

Across the UK, Mind have a network of independent local Minds that are run by local people, for local people. They provide support like advocacy, counselling, housing advice and more.

Find your local Mind

Rethink Mental Illness

Rethink Mental Illness offer a network of 140 local groups and services and they offer expert information via their website. They also campaign to make sure everyone affected by severe mental illness has a good quality of life.

Visit the Rethink Mental Illness website

Samaritans

Samaritans offer a 24-hour helpline that anyone can contact if they are struggling with their mental health. You can call them any time, 365 days a year, on 116 123 for free. Samaritans also accept email enquiries, letters and have a self-help app on their website. 

Visit Samaritans website

Sane

SANE provides emotional support, guidance and information to anyone affected by mental illness, including families, friends and carers. 

Visit the Sane website

More information about MS and mental health

You can read our Choices booklet about MS and mental health online today or order a printed copy.

Visit the MS and mental health web page

Who to ask for mental health support

Posted on: October 10 2020

Image saying 'mental health professionals' with a green ribbonSaturday 10 October 2020 is World Mental Health Day. Here at MS-UK we are reflecting on the findings of our Loneliness and Isolation Report, hoping to bring these important issues into the light.

We are also sharing mental health resources live throughout the day on our Facebook page (join us on Facebook between 10am - 3pm). 

There are a number of health professionals who can help to support you if you are experiencing mental health issues.

Talk to your GP

This is often a good starting point if you are feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping or beginning to worry about your mental wellbeing. It can be difficult to start this conversation but your GP will be able to offer advice and refer you on to mental health services if they feel it is needed. Your GP may mention the IAPT programme, which stands for 'Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. You can find out more about IAPT on the NHS website.

Talk to your MS nurse

MS nurses are familiar with multiple sclerosis (MS) in a way that means they can spot signs of low mood or depression, sometimes before you notice them yourself. Talk to your MS nurse if you have any worries and they will be able to signpost you or refer you on to other support. 

Counselling

Counsellors do not offer advice and will not tell you what to do but can help you to talk about your experiences to make it easier to find a way forward. MS is an unpredictable condition and learning to live with this uncertainty can be challenging. Counsellors can help you to explore how MS may be affecting your wellbeing and how you are adapting emotionally.

MS-UK Counselling is a telephone service that is available to anyone with a diagnosis of MS. You can register online for MS-UK Counselling or ask a health professional to refer you. If you would like to try face-to-face counselling, check if your local MS Therapy Centre or local MS Society group offers this. You can also search for a therapist through the BACP website

More about MS and mental health

You can read our Choices booklet about MS and mental health online today or order a printed copy.

Visit the MS and mental health web page

Mental health apps

Posted on: October 09 2020

Image of a green ribbon with the words 'mental health apps'Mobile phone or tablet apps can be really useful for supporting your mental wellbeing, so this World Mental Health Day we take a look at what is available in the app store at the moment.

At MS-UK, we believe in offering people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) as much information as possible, so you can make your own informed choices. That's why we have listed as many apps as possible, but which ones you try out are up to you. Where we can, we have also included links to the app websites. 

You can download any of these apps via Google Play or the apple store straight to your smartphone or tablet.

Aura

This app helps people manage their emotions and get a restful nights sleep. It gives options to subscribe for personalised mindfulness meditations as well. The idea behind the app is to find strength and rest through using Aura when you feel stressed or anxious. Visit the Aura website

Breath 2 Relax

This app is all about managing your breathing to reduce stress. It features instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called 'diaphragmatic breathing'.

Catch It

This is a free app that helps you manage feelings of anxiety and depression by turning negative thoughts into positive ones.

Chill Panda

Another free app, Chill Panda measures your heart rate and suggests tasks to suit your state of mind. Visit the Chill Panda website

Headspace

This app is all about developing a mindful approach. It includes guided exercises, videos and meditation. Find out more on the Headspace website

Insight Timer

This is a free meditation app, with paid features you can subscribe to as well. Visit the InsightTimer website

My Possible Self

This app has simple learning modules to help you manage fear, anxiety and stress and tackle unhelpful thinking. It is free, but has some in-app purchases as well. Visit the My Possible Self website

Side by Side

This is Mind's online community, which used to be called Elefriends. It is a forum where you can listen, share and be heard thorugh posting, commenting and private messaging. Visit the Side by Side website

SilverCloud

This is an app that offers a free eight-week course to help you manage anxiety and stress, designed to be completed in your own time and at your own pace. You can find out more about the course on the SilverCloud website.

Smiling Mind

This app lets you track your mood for free and access targeted mindfulness practices. The app suggests you spend 10 minutes a day to help bring more balance into your life. Visit the Smiling Mind website

Togetherall

This is a free online community, offering digital mental health support for anyone aged 16 and over. You can find out more about the forum on the Togetherall website.

WorryTree

This free app aims to help you take control of your worries, one at a time. It helps you record, manage and solve your worries based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques. Find out more on the WorryTree website

More about World Mental Health Day

On Saturday 10 October, MS-UK is posting live on our Facebook page to commemorate World Mental Health Day. This year, the theme for the day is 'mental health for all' and we are sharing the findings of our Loneliness and Isolation Report to highlight how important mental health support is for people affected by multiple sclerosis. 

Follow our page on Facebook to join in

Read the Loneliness and Isolation Report

What is MS-UK Counselling?

Posted on: October 08 2020

At MS-UK, we believe in listening to people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). Over the years, we have heard from more and more people who have found that MS impacts their mental health. That's why we launched MS-UK Counselling a few years ago, which is a telephone service available to anyone in the UK who has recieved a diagnosis of MS. 

What is counselling?

Counselling is a talking therapy. It gives you the opportunity to talk and reflect in a confidential and supportive space with a qualified counsellor who is registered or accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Counsellors do not offer advice or tell you what to do but help you to talk about your experiences to make it easier to find a way forward.

How can counselling help people affected by MS?

Counsellors help you to explore how MS may be affecting your wellbeing and how you are adapting emotionally.

MS-UK Counselling can support you with:

  • a mental health issue such as anxiety, low mood or depression
  • coming to terms with your MS diagnosis
  • a difficult transition such as a relapse, change of symptoms or a move to a different environment
  • a life event such as work-related stress, relationship difficulties or bereavement
  • emotions such as guilt, anger, low self-esteem and confidence

What is involved?

First of all you will have an assessment with a MS-UK Counsellor, to make sure this service is right for you. If everyone agrees to go ahead, you will have six sessions that are on the same day and time each week. Each session lasts 50 minutes, and can be delivered over the phone or via a video link. All clients must be over 18. At the end you will have the chance to give us feedback, or seek further support if you feel you need it. 

Counselling is a safe and non-judgmental space for you to talk about any worries you might have about any aspect of your experience with MS. Any information we take down is kept on our encrypted servers here at MS-UK and is not passed on to any third parties unless you ask us to. We will only break confidentiality in the event of a safeguarding issue which would mean any form of harm to either you or someone else.

How to register

You can register online using our web form, or give us a call on 0800 783 0518 and we can support you to register for MS-UK Counselling. 

MS-UK pilots Single Session therapy

Posted on: October 06 2020

Single session therapy.png

MS-UK is piloting single session therapy as a response to the anxieties and concerns that MSers have shared with us about the impact of COVID-19. There are currently only 20 spaces available for this first pilot so book quickly, but should this pilot be successful we would look to continue to offer it as a regular service. 

 

What is Single Session Therapy?

Single session therapy is a focussed one-off session with an MS-UK counsellor who uses their counselling skills to listen and help you find a way forward with a specific MS-related issue that is impacting on your daily life right now. The session will be conducted either by telephone or Zoom to ensure the service is accessible UK wide.

 

How do I sign up?
If you want to find out more about this pilot then please email Diana Crowe, Head of Services at counselling@ms-uk.org who will send you more information about how to take part. Please note that you must have an MS diagnosis to qualify for this pilot. 

 

About MS-UK Counselling

MS-UK Counselling is a confidential service for people who have a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and live in the UK. It is the only service of its kind available in the country.

Counselling is a talking therapy. It gives you the opportunity to talk and reflect in a confidential and supportive space with a qualified counsellor who is registered or accredited with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). MS-UK is a BACP organisational member and our number is 275169.

Counsellors do not offer advice or tell you what to do but help you to talk about your experiences to make it easier to find a way forward.

Your mental health and emotional wellbeing are linked to your experience of MS so our counsellors have had training about living with MS.

Counsellors help you to explore how the pandemic and MS may be affecting your wellbeing and how you are adapting emotionally.

 

Sign up

Newly diagnosed with MS?

Posted on: October 05 2020

iStock-525737425.jpgIf you have recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), you may well be feeling overwhelmed. You may even feel a sense of relief that you now have some answers. A whole range of thoughts and feelings are whizzing around your brain and you are wondering what to do now and where to go from here.

A diagnosis of MS may make you think quite differently about your life. It is normal to worry about what is going to happen, if a little twinge is another sign or symptom, or how the condition might progress and how it might affect your life. You may also be concerned about the effect MS will have on your family, friends, employment or hobbies. There is no right or wrong way to react to a diagnosis. It is your MS and how it affects you will be unique to you. Do not be afraid to openly discuss your emotions with family, friends, healthcare professionals or charities like us.

Everyone differs in how long it takes to accept their diagnosis. Some people may even say that they still don’t after many years. Acceptance is important in enabling you to live your life to the full and to reach a point where you are empowered to do so. This will not happen overnight, don’t ever feel there is a time limit, as it will differ for everybody. Just remember to be kind to yourself and give yourself the time you need.

Our Newly Diagnosed Choices booklet has a wealth of information for anyone who has MS. You can download the booklet from our website or order a printed version by filling out a form.

Get Newly Diagnosed Choices booklet

Introducing Diana, Head of Services

Posted on: September 30 2020

Diana.jpgHi, I am Diana and I have been Head of Services at MS-UK for four years now. My role is to oversee the running and development of our local and national services. These include

  • MS-UK Helpline A national helpline for anyone affected by multiple sclerosis (MS) which provides information and emotional support. You can get in touch by phone, email or by using our Live Web Chat. We have a small helpline team that have about 1400 contacts per year. They also write all of our Choices booklets which is informed by the MS community and ensures that quality information is available to those that need it the most
  • MS-UK Counselling A national online counselling service for those with a diagnosis of MS. This can be provided by phone or video call and is focussed on supporting individuals mental health and wellbeing and finding a way forward with MS related issues that are impacting on their lives
  • Despite having to have made the heart-breaking decision to close our wellness centre Josephs Court, we remain committed to supporting people affected by MS both nationally and locally. We will work with the MS-UK steering group to explore how we can not only continue the remote services that we have provided since the pandemic began but also how we can expand our remote offering so that, in time, we may offer a wider range of digital services to provide holistic support to even more people affected by MS than ever before

Earlier this year we also launched our report on Loneliness and Isolation and how the MS community has been affected by this. We are now working towards bringing the recommendations within the report to life by starting to offer online mindfulness courses, developing an online MS community and developing meaningful campaigns that raise awareness about MS. There is a lot to do but we will keep you informed with progress.

I have supported fundraising events in the past and have raised money for MS-UK by completing the Yorkshire Three Peaks a couple of years ago. I also supported my husband and his work colleague last year to complete Prudential Ride London which is the 100 mile bike ride for MS-UK. He also completed the virtual event this year for MS-UK which was a somewhat different experience!

An update Amy Woolf, Chief Executive

Posted on: September 29 2020

Josephs Court 2.jpgI write to you today with some very difficult news. MS-UK has been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The team have worked incredibly hard to offset the huge reduction in our fundraising income this year while adapting our service delivery to ensure no one is left to face multiple sclerosis (MS) alone. As a result, we have seen a significant rise in the demand for digital services, but our prospects for 2021 look set to be even more challenging.

Given the impact that the pandemic has had, and will continue to have on fundraising events and our economy generally, and therefore all our income streams, it is unlikely that we will have the funds to continue to operate in our current form beyond next year.

We also recognise that the pandemic has accelerated the digital agenda and presents us with many opportunities to support even more people affected by MS than ever before.

We felt it was only right to review our strategy to ensure that despite the adversity MS-UK is facing we can stay true to our values and continue to support as many people affected by MS as possible in their time of need.

However, this has led us to make some very tough decisions to ensure we can still be here in the future. After long and careful consideration it brings me great sadness to tell you that the board of trustees and management team at MS-UK have made the very difficult decision that we will no longer offer face-to-face services. This means that we will be closing our wellness centre, Josephs Court. We do not wish to leave our clients unsupported, who we know will be as upset by this news as we are, so we will be working with our clients to establish how we can best support them through a transition period to online services.

We remain committed to supporting people affected by MS both nationally and locally. We will work with the MS-UK steering group to explore how we can not only continue the remote services that we have provided since the pandemic began but also how we can expand our online services so that, in time, we may offer a wider range of digital services to provide holistic support to even more people affected by MS than ever before.

We know that Covid-19 isn’t going to go away overnight and the country will be dealing with the repercussions for months and even years to come. The road ahead is uncertain and we will continue to consider every available opportunity with the best interests of the charity and the people we support at heart.

Amy Woolf

Chief Executive

All dressed up and nowhere to go…

Posted on: September 11 2020

Gregg Rice Photo low rice.jpgThis evening we should have been getting ready for a night to remember at MS-UK’s annual Summer Ball.

It should have been a busy week for the fundraising team assembling prizes donated by many generous donors and businesses for our raffle and auction and getting all the finishing touches ready for a very special evening.

Each year we welcome around 150 lovely supporters for an evening of fine dining, fun and great entertainment in glamorous style at the luxurious Le Talbooth in Dedham, Essex near MS-UK’s home town of Colchester.

Every year, this black-tie event raises thousands of pounds for MS-UK so we can continue our work supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis.

Last June, we raised over £16,000 at our Summer Ball which is enough to fund our national helpline for over six weeks, providing vital information and emotional support to empower anyone that needs it.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic and like many other events, the ball has been cancelled this year. This is a huge shame for both our guests who are missing a great night out and our fundraising.  

If you would like to make a donation to our urgent appeal to help us at this difficult time, we would be most grateful. You can donate at www.justgiving.com/campaign/MS-UKAppeal.

One day we shall go to the ball and we are already looking forward to making the MS-UK Ball the biggest and best ever in 2021.

The date planned for 2021 is Friday 17 September 2021. If you would like to find out more information about the event please contact me on 01206 226500 or email Jill@ms-uk.org

Thank you for your continued support.

Stay safe and well,

Jill

MS-UK Fundraising Manager

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