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Free UK Mental Health Services and Support

Free mental health services are available.

What Help is Available to Those Struggling with Mental Health?

Mental health should not have to be a privilege, and everyone has a right to receive support and help when they need it most.

Numerous mental therapy health services are available locally and nationally, but many people often wonder what the differences are between free and private mental health and addiction treatment.

When considering mental health services, an important starting point is to ask yourself the following questions.

This will help you search for the right services – either free or private – for you:

  • How urgently do I need care?
  • Am I willing to pay for therapy? And if so, how much?
  • Do I want a specialised therapist?
  • Is a 12-step programme or self-help course enough to help me?
  • How much do I value confidentiality and privacy?
  • Do I want to choose therapy or have someone decide for me?
  • How long do I want to be in treatment?
  • Do I want a higher success rate for recovery?

By knowing the answers to these questions, along with a list of the services available, you can narrow down your options.

What are free services available on the NHS?

1. Assessment and referral from your GP

One of the first steps to receiving three NHS mental health care is by making an appointment with your GP for a diagnosis and referral.

Find your local GP.

Whereas this first stage may be relatively quick, there is a very long waiting list for referrals to residential rehab, funding and in-person therapy sessions. More about outpatient therapy options.

The local mental health services will depend on where you live and which mental illness you are suffering from.

Some cities and urban areas such as London, can have a waiting time of up to a year for in-person therapy.

So, if you need mental healthcare urgently, you must consider these waiting times.

2. Online Mental Health Counselling

If you are struggling with mental health issues such as porn addiction, mild depression or anxiety, online mental health counselling might be suggested, rather than in-person sessions with therapists. Some free online mental health therapy tools are available online and therapy is accessible through the NHS.

Online Addiction Therapy is available with CATCH Recovery who have a network of BACP accredited therapists throughout the UK.

Online therapy can be very effective for treating mental health conditions. Numerous studies and research have shown that online therapy, also known as teletherapy or e-therapy, can be as beneficial as in-person therapy for a wide range of mental health concerns.

Here are some key points to consider when looking into online therapy:

Accessibility: Online therapy provides greater accessibility to mental health support. It eliminates geographical barriers, allowing you to access therapy from the comfort of your own home or any location with an internet connection. This is especially beneficial for those who live in remote areas, don’t like to enter clinic settings, have limited mobility, or struggle with transportation.

Convenience and flexibility: Online therapy offers flexibility in scheduling sessions, making it easier to find a time that works for both the therapist and the individual seeking therapy. It can be particularly helpful for individuals with busy schedules, childcare responsibilities, or demanding work hours. Online counselling can be conducted through video calls, phone calls, or text-based messaging, providing options that suit different preferences and needs.

Anonymity and reduced stigma: Some people may feel more comfortable seeking therapy online because it offers a certain level of anonymity. Engaging in therapy from the privacy of your home can reduce the perceived stigma associated with seeking help for mental health problems like anxiety, depression or gambling addiction or porn addiction. This increased comfort can facilitate open and honest communication, leading to more effective therapy outcomes.

Evidence-based effectiveness: Research has shown that online therapy can be effective for various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. Several studies have demonstrated comparable treatment outcomes between online therapy and traditional in-person therapy. However, it’s important to note that certain conditions or severe cases may still benefit from face-to-face therapy or a combination of in-person and online sessions.

Continuity of care: Online therapy can provide continuity of care, allowing individuals to continue their therapy even during times of travel, relocation, or other disruptions. It ensures that individuals can maintain their therapeutic progress and receive consistent support without interruption.

It’s important to choose a reputable online therapy platform or provider, ensuring that they adhere to ethical guidelines, employ licensed mental health professionals (ask about the accreditations of any therapist you are booked to engage with) and engage with evidence-based therapies. Each person’s experience with online therapy may vary, so it’s crucial to find a therapist who is the right fit and who specialises in the specific mental health concerns that you have.

Some free online resources are available at the following:

Online mental health programmes should include an assessment, CBT therapy conducted over Zoom or a similar platform, and the option for group therapy. Some counselling sessions will include exercises which you can complete in your own time.

Online self-help courses are unlikely to be effective for those with a complex mental health condition. In this circumstance, it is advisable to have an online consultation with a Consultant Psychiatrist who can help to diagnose your condition and recommend further treatment.

Helplines are available for those struggling with mental health.

3. Helplines and Talking Therapies

The NHS offers helplines where individuals can talk through their problems confidentially over the phone.

Advice and support are available, and you will speak with a healthcare professional. They will perform an assessment over the phone and decide on the best course of care for you.

Other charities such as MIND, FRANK and The Samaritans also have helplines which offer free advice to those in need. 

Learn more about NHS talking therapies here.

4. Local mental health services

If you would like to browse NHS services near you, you can use the link below:

Find mental health services.

These services include GP surgeries, self-help groups, and therapists locally based on you.

However, be mindful that if you are based in a city, waiting times for these services might be longer.

5. Charities and self-help groups

There are many charities and organisations that offer support groups, helplines, and free online advice:

Charities for mental health:

Organisations such as AA and NA, offer support groups which use a 12-step programme to motivate individuals to maintain long-term sobriety.

These support groups also currently available online, making them accessible to all.

AA Find a Meeting

NA Find a Meeting

What if I want private mental health treatment?

While NHS services usually come with a waiting list, private admissions and services are immediate. Online counselling does not usually have a waiting list.

If you need urgent care, you will be able to see a registered therapist or be admitted into a residential facility within a few days.

While the NHS comes with the appeal of being free, waiting months or even a year for your desired treatment can end up costing you.

What’s the difference between NHS and private rehab?

Find the right treatment option for you today. Call us on 0808 1150 446.

Private treatment is immediate and cost-effective.

Private mental health and addiction care will give you the access you need to the UK’s leading consultant psychiatrists, who are trained to diagnose and medicate specific mental health and complex co-occurring conditions.

Want private rehab, but not sure if you can afford it? There are many funding options. Take a look.

Private treatment programmes will allow you to choose and tailor the therapy you want, whereas the NHS services will give you the type of therapy they believe to be the best.

NHS therapies tend to be short-term and limited, unlike private therapy which is fully integrated and well-rounded.

See what treatment options are available privately

A problem shared is a problem halved

If you are struggling with mental health problems, we are here for you; to tell you that there is so much support available, and recovery is possible.

Chat to us today on our confidential helpline. Call 0808 1150 446.

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Last Updated on January 10, 2024 by Ravi Kirthy