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Where to go for emotional and mental health advice and support

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.

Mind

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

www.mind.org.uk

The Royal College of Psychiatry

This is the professional and educational body for psychiatrists. It produces information leaflets on a range of mental health problems and treatments.

www.rcpsych.ac.uk

PACE

PACE provides counselling for gay men and lesbians in London on issues including HIV.

020 7700 1323

www.pacehealth.org.uk

Positively Women

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

www.positivelywomen.org.uk/

Shaka Services

Shaka 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

www.shakaservices.org.uk

Saneline

Mental health charity providing support and information by telephone and email.

Helpline 0845 767 8000

www.sane.org.uk

THT Direct

The gateway to Terrence Higgins Trust’s services.

0845 12 21 200

www.tht.org.uk

Samaritans

Confidential emotional support 24 hours a day

08457 90 90 90

www.samaritans.org

NHS Choices

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.

To 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 www.psychotherapy.org.uk.

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 psychologist’ button.

Counsellors 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.

To find a complementary therapist:

Finally, 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).

HIV, mental health and emotional wellbeing

Published June 2010

Last reviewed June 2010

Next review December 2013

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this booklet.

This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.