Becoming a carer is not easy.

It may have been an easy decision because, after all, caring for someone you love is one of the most natural things in the world.

However caring for someone – whether they have a severe physical or learning disability or debilitating medical condition is both challenging and lonely.

It cannot be understated what a huge step it is to realise that you’re experiencing challenges. An even bigger one to access mental health services in order to do something about it.

Knowing which service to access or the level of support you need may feel bewildering at a time when you’re in real need for clarity.

We also advise that in the first instance you should consult your GP. Always be very clear with the receptionist that you’re experiencing mental health issues and they will do everything they can to get you seen as soon as possible.

Doctors, nutritionists and the media will regularly – and passionately – extoll the virtues of eating your five a day, cutting down on alcohol and red meat and the benefits of regular exercise. All to improve our physical health.

There isn’t a great deal said of our mental health.

Granted, the signs of physical ill-health are far more overt and potentially more life threatening. Conditions like obesity and diabetes cost the NHS £20 billion a year and that figure is expected to rise significantly over the next 30 years.

32% of single homeless people report mental health problems, 10 times more than the general population. There are services available to help and assist these people. Our infographic outlines the challenges homeless people face and the services available to assist them.

If you're worried that someone you know is at risk of homelessness or experiencing mental health issues, contact us and we will put you in touch with the right people. 

It's important to remember that the post-Christmas period is challenging for everyone. However if you face low mood or depression, these months can be more difficult than most. Take a look at our infographic to help guide you through these darker months. 

There are around 700,000 people with autism in the UK in one form or another.

A neurodevelopmental disorder, autism will be present in the individual from birth but may not manifest until years later – often in childhood.

The disorder is often characterised by difficulties with social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, repetitive behaviours, restricted behaviours and sensory processing.

However this is a broad generalisation in order to categorise the condition. No two people with autism will think and behave the same way and so it’s really important not to treat them as such.

Anyone who remembers the US television series Nip Tuck will have some understanding of the crazy world of cosmetic surgery. Or at least a highly glamorised version with some truly bizarre plot twists thrown in.

What it highlighted however was a cultural obsession with perfection: the idea that an individual is somehow deficient or needs improving.

It’s important to understand that we are not slamming cosmetic surgery. There are times when it is entirely reasonable or even necessary to go under the knife for cosmetic reasons.

However, where cosmetic surgery becomes a problem or even a danger is when there is an overriding need to correct something the individual incorrectly perceives as critically flawed.

Living with a learning disabilities or enduring mental health issues can sometimes mean that a lot of decisions are made for you. Either because your challenges dictate no other choice or because whichever choice you make, the options are being provided by a number of different experts.

This isn’t necessarily a negative – providing you are made to feel like you also have the option of saying no too – but it can start to feel like your freedoms are being eroded through circumstance.

Domiciliary care is the provision of services that enable a person to remain living in their own home.  This service is available to anyone, at any stage of his or her lives from children to adults and can address issues that might emerge suddenly or have developed over time.

Essentially domiciliary care allows a person to retain that normality, independence and familiar surroundings whilst getting the support they might need with anything from physical disabilities or sensory impairment through to mental health issues or learning disabilities.

Mental health issues take many forms and have dramatically different levels of severity.

For some reflection techniques and a reliable support circle is sufficient to get through those difficult days.

For others on going treatment, support and even medication is required.

Whatever the condition and whatever the level of support, it’s important for the individual to be able to make their feelings known and for the appropriate action taken that reflects their outcomes and goals.

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