Welcome to The Friendship Group. We are a group based in Nottingham operating social groups and trips for people who have previously experienced, or are currently experiencing mental health issues and their carers. Please see our 'About' page for more information about what we do.

From our experience in supporting people with mental health issues, it is apparent that in many areas resources are very limited. Community mental health teams are often overstretched and under funded, and key workers may not always be able to spend quality time with each individual in his or her care. Government funding is also very limited and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

One in four people suffer from some kind of mental health issue, which can often be as a result of neglect, emotional, physical, sexual abuse in childhood and/or considerable trauma in adulthood. It is important for anyone with mental health issues to try and regain some feeling of control in their own lives in order to move towards recovery.

To work towards recovery and integration into the community, those with mental health issues need to be given the opportunities to make their own choices and decisions wherever possible in order to start regaining some control over their own lives, and to help build up their confidence and self esteem.

The following may be helpful to anyone with mental health issues.

Ask for help when you need it - recognising when you are not coping and need support is a sign of strength - not weakness.

Keep a list of helplines and other useful numbers so you have these ready should your feelings become overwhelming and you are unable to cope.

Deal with one thing at a time - don't overload your head with too many things to deal with at once. It may help to write a list of the things you need to think about or things you need to do and work through the list at your own pace.

Try to keep your home as tidy and uncluttered as you can as this will help your mind to feel less cluttered.

Do your housework at your own pace, if you are not up to tidying up one room, then tidy part of the room one day and the rest of it the next day.

Try and get some fresh air and exercise each day and build this into your routine. It can be therapeutic to try and spend time in the park, countryside, where you can be at one with nature.

Try and interact socially with someone each day and get used to being around people for some part of the day - this could be going to the shop to get groceries, going to the library, a day centre, - somewhere you can be around people so you are not on your own all the time. However, if there are days you are not up to going out or talking to anyone that is fine - do things at your own pace.

Keep yourself as physically well as you can and eat a healthy diet.

Try to do something which you enjoy each day and something which you look forward to doing.

Try not to get frustrated if you have setbacks. This is natural and don't give yourself a hard time if you have days when you simply can't cope with anything. Spend that day relaxing, pamper yourself and do whatever you need to care for yourself. Don't put any added pressure onto yourself and if not answering the phone or the door helps then don't answer it - just give yourself peace and quiet.You should find in recovery that the bad days get less and you are able to recover more quickly from a bad day.

Try not to get frustrated if you feel you are not making progress as quickly as you would like. Focus on what you are able to do today as compared with what you were able to do six months ago, a year ago.

When you have a good day it may help to keep a journal where you can list the things you have been able to do and look back at this if you feel depressed or frustrated as it will help to focus your mind on the improvements you are making, the things you are able to do on your well days.

If something doesn't work out how you would like don't blame yourself and feel you are a failure. Nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. Tell yourself you will deal with things differently the next time.

Talk to yourself in the same way you would talk to a friend - if a friend made a mistake you would not call your friend a loser and a failure - you would say something like don't worry about it - you did your best. Say that to yourself instead of negative comments.

Don't assume that other people are looking at you or talking about you - most people are too busy and worried about their own lives and what they are doing to focus on other people. If someone is talking about you they may be saying something good and positive about you.
Think always in a positive way - when you have a negative thought try and give yourself a positive thought.

Try to focus on the solution to a problem - not the problem itself.