Emotional and Mental Health Resources
Here are a selection of articles and resources that address some of the emotional and mental health challenges that can arise for people designed to help with living with congenital heart disease. For additional information please see our main page on Emotional and Mental Health.
One in five people can experience depression at some time in their life.
Dealing with Low mood and Depression has more information and self-help strategies on depression.
If you need help now because you feel despairing or suicidal please contact
The Samaritans Helpline: 116 123 available 24 hours a day, free of charge calls from mobiles and landlines.
How to Access Counselling and Psychological Services is a brief guide to the main ways you can find a counsellor or contact psychology services. Here is the Department of Health Leaflet Which Talking Therapy for Depression which outlines what psychological help may be available for mild to moderate depression through your local IAPT service (in England). Contact your GP and ask about talking therapies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as different arrangements apply.
Breathing Space Scotland offers an accessible first stop and listening service for people who are feeling down and depressed as well being able to put you in the direction of help. Helpline 0800 83 85 87 (6pm-2am).
Aware Northern Ireland is a National Charity that aims to support people who are experiencing depression.
In Wales the Community Advice and Listening Line, Mental Health Helplinecan put you in the right direction in getting local help and support for depression. Helpline 0800 132 737.
Here are a number of resources on coping with different aspects of anxiety.
Ways into Relaxation describes the practical breathing and relaxation techniques that can be helpful, as well as other aspects of anxiety management.
Me, My Heart and Anxiety explores how we can move towards befriending ourselves and our anxious thoughts and feelings
Here are some links to other guided relaxation breathing exercises and visualisations.
Read the pdf on Breathlessness and Anxiety in ACHD by the Imparts Team (Guys, St Thomas and Kings College).
Panic attacks can be really scary, the article Coping with Panic Attacks from GUCH News, outlines some ideas for dealing with them.
See also this pdf Panic Attacks! What are they and how can you help yourself from Anxiety UK.
Anxiety UK has more information on anxiety and needle and injection phobia. Anxiety UK also run a Helpline: 08444 775 774 (Mon-Fri).
Check out this pdf from the Imparts team on Overcoming your fear of needles.
Mindfulness is a mind-body approach that has become popular to help people manage anxiety, stress, recurrent depression, pain and long term medical conditions. More information can be found in So what is Mindfulness? and this video, What is Mindfulness.
Traumatic and post traumatic stress can be a common experience as a result of medical interventions and surgery. Read more about traumatic and post traumatic stress. If you are experiencing intrusive memories of traumatic events, getting panicky and feeling overwhelmed at times, if can be helpful to find ways to ‘ground’ yourself in the present moment. There are many ways of doing this, learn more about what might be supportive in this pdf on Grounding Techniques.
If you are worried about surgery or other medical procedures you will find some helpful suggestions in these articles. Preparing for and Coping with Surgery and How to deal with worry during medical procedures. Read about Rosie’s experience of surgery in her article for GUCH News + James Cobb shares his thoughts in Facing up to Anaesthesia.
Our sleep can become disrupted for all sorts of reasons such as worry, bereavement and depression. Newcastle Hospitals Community Health have developed this comprehensive guide which is full of information and practical suggestions: Improving Sleep.
Changes in Health
Changes can occur in our health due to many factors including ageing and issues relating to living with a congenital heart condition. See our pages on Deterioration in health and Advanced Stage Care for further information and additional resources.
Dealing with Deterioration in Health offers insights about the emotional impact of when things don’t get better.
Here is a list of organisations that have more information and offer support with bereavement.
Our Patient Helpline 0800 854 759 provides support for people born with a heart condition or those close to them.