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How to get mental health support

Mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Our mental health impacts on our thoughts and feelings, and how we act and behave. It also influences how we respond to stress, how we interact with others, and the choices we make.

Being diagnosed with a muscle wasting condition can often mean adjusting to a new and unexpected reality. Living with a muscle wasting condition can have an impact on every part of your life, including your mental health and wellbeing.

Many people tell us they feel isolated because of their condition. Others tell us that they can feel anxious or depressed as they adjust to their diagnosis.

The impact goes beyond those who are living with a muscle wasting condition; families and carers can also be affected too. It’s important that everyone has access to the right support for their mental health when it’s needed.

If you’re experiencing distress and need help, it’s important to reach out for support. Contact the NHS on 111 or through the 111 online service. If you’re in England, you can access this online tool to find your nearest NHS urgent mental health helpline.

 If someone’s life may be at risk, or you feel you can’t keep yourself or someone else safe, call 999 or go to the nearest emergency department (A&E). A mental health emergency or crisis should always be taken seriously.

When might I need support? 

If you, or someone you know, is going through a period of poor mental health, it can be hard to know when to reach out for help and who to talk to. You may feel uncertain about seeking help. It’s always okay to ask for help – there is support available.

You might want to reach out for help:

  • If you find you’re regularly feeling worried, upset, anxious, or depressed
  • If you’re experiencing little enjoyment in your day-to-day life
  • If you’re regularly having thoughts or overwhelming feelings that are difficult to cope with or affect how you manage each day
  • If you have difficulty sleeping
  • If there are changes to your eating habits
  • If you have low motivation or have lost interest in things which you used to enjoy
  • Following a new diagnosis
  • If there has been a recent change in your health or circumstances
  • If you’re a relative or carer of a person living with a muscle wasting condition and are experiencing any of the above
Where can I get support for my mental health?

There are different options available if you need help and support with your mental health. You may wish to speak to a professional in-person, get advice online, or contact a free helpline to speak to someone about how you’re feeling.

Talk to your GP

Make an appointment with your GP surgery to talk about your mental health. Your doctor is likely to ask you some questions about your life and may ask you to fill out a questionnaire about your mood, thoughts, and behaviour.

The information you give will help them decide what kind of support you might need. This could include referring you to local mental health services, discussing self-care techniques, or offering you treatment. They may also check your physical health, and ask you questions about your lifestyle.

Referred services

Your GP may refer you to a mental health service. These services may be accessed at your GP surgery, at a local health centre, a specialist mental health clinic, or at a hospital.

One of the services your GP may refer you to is a community mental health team (CMHT). This specialist service is made up of different professionals such as a mental health officer, an occupational therapist, a community psychiatric nurse (CPN), a psychologist or psychiatrist.

You may get help from the whole team, or just one or two professionals – depending on your needs.

What happens if I’ve been referred?

If you’ve been referred to a local mental health service, such as a community mental health team (CMHT) or NHS Talking Therapies, you may get an initial appointment, or a follow up phone call to ask you some more specific in-depth questions. This is called an assessment. It will help the CMHT get a better understanding of the difficulties you’re experiencing, and what support you may need.

Once the assessment is done, you should be told what will happen next. The team may discuss different treatment options or support available, such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It is also your opportunity to ask questions or share any concerns or worries you may have.

How long will I have to wait for support?

The waiting list for mental health support will vary depending on where you live. At your assessment, ask how long you may have to wait for treatment or support and check if you can access any interim support whilst you are waiting. Some services may offer group therapy sessions or courses to support you in the meantime.

Self-referral services for mental health support

If you live in England, you can refer yourself to your local NHS Talking Therapies service. This service offers different therapies, such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) that can be delivered individually or in group sessions.

Can I get mental health support privately?

Mental health support is available through the NHS for free, but you can also get support privately if you prefer.

Private therapy costs vary, and some local charities offer counselling to people in their area on a sliding scale of cost, depending on your income. They may also offer counselling for free.

If you are looking for a therapist privately, it’s important to check that they are registered with a professional body. The following organisations list only registered therapists:

Mental health services for young people and adults


NHS 24 mental health services are available to everyone in Scotland, of all ages. The services are delivered by psychological wellbeing practitioners and include listening, offering advice, and guiding you to further help if required.

Living Life is a free service that can provide cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) by trained therapists over the phone, to people in Scotland aged sixteen and over. You can refer yourself for an assessment.

Northern Ireland

Lifeline is Northern Ireland’s 24/7 crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing crisis. No matter what your age or where you live in Northern Ireland, if you or someone you know is in distress or despair call Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.


SilverCloud is a free, self-referral online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy service available to people aged 16 and over and registered with a GP.

SilverCloud works with the NHS to help meet mental health and wellbeing needs and is also partnered with some NHS Trusts in England.

Community Advice & Listening Line (C.A.L.L.) provides support and information on mental health. Anyone concerned about their own mental health, or that of a relative or friend, can access the service on 0800 132 737 or text help to 81066.

Mental health support for children

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

CAMHS covers all services that work with children and young people who need support with their emotional or behavioural wellbeing. If you feel your child would benefit from emotional support or therapy, your GP will be able to refer to your local CAMHS.

Play therapy in hospital and at home

Play therapy can be beneficial for younger children who have a health condition or disability, particularly where they may need to undergo medical and surgical procedures as part of their treatment. Play therapy is often offered in hospitals to help children make sense of frightening or unfamiliar experiences. It can help to calm children and help them cope with pain. CAMHS can often refer you to play therapists or specialists, and they can also advise parents and carers about how to implement play therapy as part of your child’s emotional care at home.


YoungMinds is a charity providing information and advice on mental health support to children, young people, and parents. They have a Guide to CAMHS, which explains how to get help from CAMHS, what to expect, and understanding your rights as well as a Parents’ guide to CAMHS.

 Organisations and helplines for mental health support

There are many charities across the UK who can provide support to people who need help with their mental health.

Support following a bereavement

We know that no-one can understand exactly what your loss feels like to you. However, we also know that sometimes it can be easier to talk to someone who is not directly connected to you, about the impact of bereavement, grief, and loss on your life. Have a look at our bereavement, grief and support page for helpful information and advice.

Bereavement, Grief, and Loss – Muscular Dystrophy UK

Support for students

Attending university, college, or studying towards something can be an exciting time, but it can also present lots of new challenges. You may be away from home for the first time. You may also have deadlines and exams or find yourself having to balance lots of responsibilities.

There is usually support available within universities and colleges if you feel you need emotional support while studying. You can check your university or college website for more information or speak to your student services team to find out. You can also still access support through your local NHS services.

If you’re a student, these organisations provide mental health support:

Support in employment

It’s very important to look after your mental health and wellbeing at work to avoid experiencing burnout and mental health problems. Factors such as work environment, workload, and capacity, and working conditions can have a significant impact on mental health.

Mental health at work: statistics | Mental Health Foundation

Mind have resources and advice about looking after your wellbeing when you are at work.

Mental health at work | Mind – Mind

Support for carers

Caring for someone else can be physically and emotionally exhausting and could impact on your mental health and wellbeing. If you’re supporting and caring for someone else, it’s important to look after yourself, and your own mental health, and to know where you can get support, if you need it.

Most local areas have carer support groups and advice lines for carers and young carers. The NHS website has a location search which may be useful to find out what support is available for carers in your area:

Carers UK offers support and advice to carers and their families -

Mind has information about supporting yourself while caring for someone and where you can find support if you are a carer - Where to find support for carers – Mind

We’re here to support you

Our support services

Webinars, Information Days, and support groups for our muscle wasting community. Our life-changing support is here for you.

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Advice for living with or caring for someone with a muscle wasting condition.

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