Talking & Support


I have a mental health problem. Should I start talking about it?

There are no strict rules for talking about your own mental health. You should never feel under pressure to tell people that your mental health has become a problem but talking about it can help to alleviate the intensity of it. However this is not an easy conversation to start for everyone. Also, people’s responses sadly aren’t always that helpful so it may be helpful to consider the following before initiating the conversation.

  1. Be prepared. Consider the positive or negative reactions this person may have so you’re prepared for either.
  2. Timing. Choose somewhere you feel comfortable and a time you are available without having to rush off soon.
  3. Initial reactions may not last. The person might initially react in a way that’s not helpful – maybe changing the subject, or responding with unhelpful advice or clichés rather than listening. But give them time – it might be the first time they’ve ever had a conversation about mental health.
  4. Keep it light. People may not know what to say to your situation, or know how to help. By keeping it light you can both feel a bit more relaxed about the situation.
  5. Tell the right people. Talk to someone you feel comfortable with whom you can trust. Telling the wrong person can be damaging if you don’t feel respected or understood. People who really care will make the effort to understand.
  6. Opening up is courageous and it may just inspire the other person to want to talk too. It can be a great way to strengthen a relationship.


If you do need support, here is a list of local services within Bristol where you can get help:

1625 Independent People – Specialising in Housing support and advice for young people.

AWP/BSL space – Sign language videos giving information on local mental health support.

Barnardo’s BASE project – Support and action for young people those affected by sexual exploitation.

Bluebell – Bristol based charity supporting families with depression related to pregnancy and birth.

Bristol Hearing Voices Network – Info, support and self help groups for those who experience hearing voices / intrusive thoughts.

Bristol Mental Health – A new model of mental health services in Bristol. A guide to local services working together to improve mental health in Bristol.

Bristol MIND – Advocacy, telephone support, information and training. Bristol MIND also offer a Trans+ helpline.

Bristol Wellbeing Therapies – NHS funded access to local courses, support and talking therapies.

Changes – Providing peer support groups throughout Bristol for people suffering mental distress.

Rehab 4 Addiction – Is a free and confidential helpline for people suffering with drug and alcohol addiction.

Rethink – Advice, information, services, groups, and campaigning.

The Sanctuary – Out of hours (7pm-2am) service providing a safe place for people to come Friday – Monday if you are experiencing emotional distress.

Samaritans – A confidential 24 hour telephone support service.

SANE – Offers emotional support and information to anyone affected by mental health problems.

Second Step Housing Association – offers supported housing for people with mental health difficulties.

Self Injury Self Help (SISH) – Bristol based charity providing weekly support groups, training, research, and monthly wellbeing workshops.

Switchboard – an LGBT+ helpline where all phone operators identify as LGBT+.

Time Out for Men – Mental health support group for men which runs on Tuesdays from 2pm-4pm at the Wellspring Healthy Living Centre in Barton Hill, Bristol.

Well Aware – An online guide to health, wellbeing and community services in Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset.

Womankind – Provides women in Bristol with free or affordable professional counselling, psychotherapy and on-going support.

Young Minds Parents Helpline – Provides confidential support and advice for parents worried about children.


When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information – about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues – is vital. Mental Health Charity; Mind have provided these excellent comprehensive guides to better understanding conditions.

Types of Mental Health – An in depth guide to common mental health conditions.

A – Z of Mental Health – For anything else, it is likely to be found in this comprehensive A-Z of mental health.

NHS Choices; 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing – Information on evidence based steps we can all take to improve our well being.

Friends of Freedom of Mind

Freedom of Mind collaborates with some great organisations. Below is a list of these relationships.

Bristol Independent Mental Health Network (BIMHN) – BIMHN was established to provide people who have experienced mental ill health with a platform to share their experiences and needs, which are then fed back to local services and commissioners.

Bristol Health Partners – Bristol Health Partners is a strategic collaboration between the city’s three NHS trusts, three clinical commissioning groups, two universities and its local authority.

Community Access Support Bristol (CASS) – Promoting better links between communities and mental health services in Bristol.

Off The Record – Based in central Bristol, Off The Record provide free and confidential mental health support and information to young people aged 11-25 in Bristol. They also run various services and projects across Bristol and South Gloucestershire which you can find out about here.

Time to Change – Time to Change is England’s biggest ever campaign to end the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems face. It is run nationally by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness with funding from the Department of Health, the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief.

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