Sarah Day from the Stroke Association's Helpline at her desk

A stroke is sudden and shocking. It can have a huge impact on the emotional wellbeing of stroke survivors and carers. When emotions are overwhelming it can be easy to think that things won't get better. But you're not on your own. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Sarah Day from our Stroke Helpline shares some guidance on how to access support:

How can I get NHS support with my mental health?

A good place to start is speaking with your GP. They may be able to refer you to a mental health specialist, such as a psychologist or counsellor. Medication can often help too. It can be hard to discuss feelings, but try to be open and not down-play how you feel.

In some areas, you can refer yourself for talking therapies. You can find local services via the NHS's Improving Access to Psychological Therapies service.

If you feel like harming yourself, or ending your life, call 999 or the Samaritans on 116 123.

Where else can I go to get help?

Some charities also offer free or low-cost talking therapies, including branches of Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Turning Point and Mental Health Matters.

Alternatively, you can pay for private therapy. You can use websites such as the Counselling Directory or the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) to find registered professionals. Private therapy can be rewarding but expensive, so check charges and ask about discounts that might apply.

What support can the Stroke Association offer?

Our Here For You telephone service connects stroke survivors and carers to trained volunteers, who can help you to understand and cope with the impact of stroke.

Many people also find our stroke support groups helpful, because you can talk to others who know what you're going through. We have groups all around the UK, which offer friendship, advice and support.

You can also chat to other stroke survivors and carers 24/7 via our online community at My Stroke Guide. We've also just launched a new Online Stroke Activities Hub, where you can meet others remotely and take part in activities, talks and quizzes as well as support sessions.

Get more information and support

Read our 'Emotional changes after stroke' guide or contact our Stroke Helpline on 0303 3033 100 or by email.

Stroke News magazine

This article is featured in the winter 2022 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.

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