A good place to start would be your HIV clinic.
Your HIV doctor should take your mental health as seriously as your physical
health. Many of the larger HIV clinics have expert HIV mental health teams.
GPs can also provide help and support with
mental health problems. Many GP surgeries now have some form of counselling
available. They can also refer you on to specialist services if necessary.
Information on HIV helplines which can provide
information and support are listed at the back of this booklet. The following
counselling and mental health organisations may also be useful.
A national mental health charity, with local
branches, providing information and advice on a wide range of mental health
problems and treatments.
Mind Info Line 0845 766 0163
The Royal College of Psychiatry
the professional and educational body for psychiatrists. It produces
information leaflets on a range of mental health problems and treatments.
PACE provides counselling for gay men and
lesbians in London on issues including HIV.
020 7700 1323
Positively Women is a national
charity providing support for women
living with HIV. Women living with HIV answer their helpline. PW will ring you
back free of charge.
020 7713 0222
Services provides confidential counselling and emotional support on HIV and
related issues for people from African and Caribbean communities living with or
affected by HIV/AIDS in London.
020 7735 6744
Mental health charity providing support and
information by telephone and email.
Helpline 0845 767 8000
The gateway to Terrence Higgins Trust’s
0845 12 21 200
Confidential emotional support 24 hours a day
08457 90 90 90
You can find out more about looking after your
mental health, and getting help with mental health problems, or problems with
alcohol or drugs, at www.nhs.uk.
find a counsellor or therapist:
The best way to find a supportive counsellor or
therapist is often through personal recommendation. Alternatively, you can ask
at your clinic, another HIV organisation or GP surgery about their services or
contacts they may have.
You can also find a counsellor or therapist through
a nationally recognised organisation.
Many counsellors are registered with the British Association for Counselling and
Psychotherapy (BACP) and psychotherapists with the United Kingdom Council for
Psychotherapy (UKCP). Click the ‘find a therapist’ buttons at www.bacp.co.uk or
Most psychologists in the UK are members of the
British Psychological Society (BPS). To search for a psychologist, call the BPS
on 0116 254 9568 or visit www.bps.org.uk and click the ‘find a
or therapists who are not registered with one of these bodies may still be well-trained
and very experienced, but it’s a good idea to check their qualifications and
see if they belong to a professional body.
Alternatively, you can ask at your clinic,
another HIV organisation, mental health charities or your GP about local therapy
services or specialist services for issues such as addiction or postnatal
depression. Again, always make sure these therapists belong to a nationally
recognised organisation and/or that they have a licence to practise.
The NHS’s ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’
initiative also provides online cognitive behavioural therapy. You can get a
prescription for this service from your GP.
find a complementary therapist:
many people find that complementary therapies, such as acupuncture or massage,
can be very beneficial in reducing physical discomfort or stress. Again, always search for a practitioner via a
reputable agency such as the Complementary Therapists Association (CThA), which
is recognised by the Department of Health (www.complementary.assoc.org.uk).