Helping a loved one

Reaching out.

If you are a parent, guardian, friend, or loved one of someone who is going through a difficult time and needs therapeutic assistance, it can be hard to know the best way to help them. Advising them about therapy and helping them to seek it is a huge step in the right direction.

You don’t have to be an expert on Mental Health to offer support

It can be very difficult to see someone who you care about becoming distressed and unwell. Show your support – If you know someone who has been unwell, don’t be afraid to ask how they are. Ask how you can help – Everyone will want support at different times and in different ways. Be patient – You might want to know more details about their thoughts and feelings, or want them to get help immediately. But it is important to let them set the pace for seeking support themselves.

You can make a difference

Understanding mental health is the first step to being able to look after ourselves, and it helps us to look after other people too. Here are few of the symptoms that your loved one might be experiencing. Don’t worry if you don’t know where to start, just click Get Help and we’ll take it from there.

1 in 4 people have reported worrying about how angry they can feel. We often learn unhelpful ways to deal with frustrating or upsetting situations. If you struggle to express your feelings in a safe and responsible way, particularly anger, you may find yourself low in mood.

Anxiety affects one 1 in 10 adults at some stage in their lifetime, and twice as many women as men are affected. If you find you are restless and unable to sit and relax, you are avoiding certain situations/people, or you are constantly worrying, you may have anxiety. Other symptoms include heart pounding or stomach-churning sensations.

If you find yourself thinking, ‘I don’t understand why I am so tired all the time’, you may be suffering from Chronic Fatigue. Other symptoms include aching muscles and body pains, a disruption to your sleep/ eating routine, inability to concentrate and struggling to complete daily tasks.

Depression occurs in 1 in 10 adults in the UK at any one time. If you find yourself thinking things like, ‘I can’t be bothered’ ‘It’s not worth going on’, or ‘things will never change’, you may be suffering from depression. Depression can cause us to lose sight of the positive parts of our lives, and this makes us lose motivation.

If you feel that you’ve lost control over how much/ when/ where you are eating, or you feel that you must make yourself sick after eating, you may be suffering from eating difficulties. Research has suggested that as many as 1.5 million people in the UK might be experiencing some form of eating difficulty.

1 in 5 people are affected by irritable bowel syndrome, which you may be suffering from if you have been urgently needing the toilet more often than usual, or you have constipation, diarrhoea, or bloating. IBS can simply be caused by overactive nerves and muscles in the gut and stomach, but it can also be triggered by stress, anxiety or pressure.

Living with a long-term health condition can be overwhelming, and impact negatively on your mental wellbeing. You may feel out of control, nervous and worried; you may also feel insecure about dealing with your difficulties or adjusting your everyday life.

If, after a bereavement you have stopped doing the things you enjoy, you are putting off dealing with practical tasks, or you are avoiding talking about the loss, you may be suffering from low mood or depression.

Self-confidence is how a person feels about themselves and what they do. Someone with low self-confidence will generally they are not good at things, don’t deserve love or support and that situations will work out badly for them. Experiencing feelings of low self-confidence can have a negative impact on your everyday life, family life and work life.

These types of symptoms are known as medically unexplained when they last for more than a few weeks, but doctors can’t find a problem with the body that may be the cause. Many people with medically unexplained symptoms also have anxiety or depression. Treating an associated psychological problem can often relieve the physical symptoms.

Obsessions are intrusive thoughts or ideas that come into people’s minds that they do not want to do. They can be distracting and distressing. Compulsions are things that people feel they have to do, even when they do not want to and they feel frustrated and worried unless they can finish them. Many children have mild obsessions and compulsions at some time. For example, a fear of contamination leading to rituals around washing and hygiene.

Panic can lead to panic attacks. This is an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to fear or stress. It is the rapid build-up of overwhelming physical sensations such as; a pounding heartbeat, feeling faint, sweating, feeling sick, chest pains and feeling shaky. Panic is often combined with anxiety.

Post-natal depression is experienced after childbirth. Common signs and symptoms include; feeling sad or low, becoming tearful for no apparent reason, feeling hostile or indifferent to your partner or baby. Around 10 to 15% of new mothers develop post-natal depression. It usually develops within 6 weeks of giving birth and can come on gradually or all of a sudden.

You might develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if you experience something where you feel really frightened, helpless or like you might die. The three main symptoms are; flashbacks or nightmares, avoidance and numbing,, and being on guard and unable to relax. PTSD is common in people who have served in the armed forces, have been victim of crime, experienced a natural disaster or suffered a traumatic childbirth.

Body image is defined as how people feel about the way they look and the way their body functions. This can include a person’s thoughts and feelings about their weight, shape, skin colour, size, height and their appearance more broadly. Media is influencing many people’s views of their own bodies. When they feel negative about their body, they can become increasingly depressed or anxious. It can also lead to eating disorders. Mothers can struggle with their body image after childbirth because of the changes their body goes through.

There is no medical definition of stress and healthcare professionals often disagree whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them. Stress can cause mental health problems and make existing problems worse. For example, if you struggle to manage feelings of stress you might develop anxiety or depression. Mental health problems can cause stress, you might find coping with the day to day symptoms of your mental health problems, as well as potentially needing to manage medication, healthcare appointments or treatments can become extra sources of stress.

Benefits of therapy


Talking it through

Sometimes simply voicing their troubles to someone new can help your loved one feel more positive and less isolated.

Finding purpose

It’s hard to witness those we love feeling lost. Talking to a therapist can help people regain a sense of purpose and attain their goals.

Feeling in control

If someone you know is feeling helpless, learning how to cope and direct their own path to healing through therapy can be an empowering experience.

Make medication simple

Therapy can help your loved one to make a fully informed decision about medication and, having done so, we can make sure they know how to maximise its effects, as well as about any unwanted effects.

Healing together

Having someone beside you can make the path to recovery even smoother. Therapy can teach you how to support each other through the most difficult times.

Fighting the fear

If someone you know struggles in social situations, therapy can give them the confidence and tools to make positive change, and we can advise you on how best to support them.

I feel so thankful I found DRCS during a difficult time in my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better therapist to guide me through this time. Thank you Katie!

Olivia (17), Derby

Frequently asked questions

You’re not alone in this. Here are the questions asked most often by people just like you, who are thinking about helping someone seek therapy.

If you are 16 and over you can ask your GP to refer you or self-refer by calling 0800 047 6861 or by using our online form.

All of our therapies are free, but we depend on donations to run them. Click here to find out how you can support us.

We believe no problem is too small, nobody should feel like they can’t ask for help.

If how you’re feeling is affecting your daily life in a negative way, then therapy might be the answer.

You will be offered an assessment during which you will be asked questions and your assessor will determine which course of treatment will be most suitable for you.

Talking therapy is a great way to get to grips with how you feel: just click Get Help, give us a call or drop in, and we can help you decide what’s best.

You can ask your therapist anything in complete confidentiality: they won’t judge or criticise. Depending on the type of therapy, they’ll ask about your history, your daily interactions and thoughts and feelings, as well as about any medication you’re on, and about any physical illness you may have.

Approach treatment with an open mind, trust your therapist and try to practise coping methods at home. But don’t be afraid to tell us if you feel something’s not quite right.

Your first session will provide an opportunity for you to get to know your counsellor and to figure out how many sessions you will require. It will also give you the opportunity to ask any questions.

It depends on the type of treatment you are having: check out the info on the therapies page for a guide.

Should you feel that your therapist or type of therapy is not right for you at this time, if possible, please discuss this in the first instance with your current therapist.  If you do not feel able to do this, please contact the service on 0300 123 0542 and tell them that you would like to talk to someone about changing therapist.  Our administration team will arrange for a member of our team to discuss other individualised treatment options with you.

Our core working hours are 9-5pm.  On occasion, we may be able to offer appointments outside of these times.  However, this may mean an additional wait.

We’re waiting to help.
Help is just a click away.

I feel so thankful I found DRCS during a difficult time in my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better therapist to guide me through this time.

Olivia (17), Derby

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