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 practices now have some form of counselling available. They
can also refer you on to specialist services if necessary. You can find out
more in the booklet in this series, HIV,
GPs & other primary care.
Information on HIV helplines which can provide information
and support are listed at the back of this booklet. The following counselling,
mental health and information 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
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393
There is also a Mind Legal Advice Line, which can be
contacted on 0300 466 6463
A national mental health charity, providing information and
advice on mental health topics and running services and support groups across
Helpline: 0300 5000 927, Monday to Friday, 10am to 2pm.
Mental health charity providing support and information by
telephone and email.
Helpline 0845 767 8000
PACE provides counselling for gay men and lesbians in
London on issues including HIV.
020 7700 1323
Confidential emotional support 24 hours a day
08457 90 90 90
The Royal College of Psychiatrists
This is the professional and educational body for
psychiatrists. It produces information leaflets on a range of mental health
problems and treatments.
Provides information on looking after mental health, and
getting help with mental health problems, or problems with alcohol or drugs.
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 and
are registered with the British
Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or the United Kingdom
Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). You can find their members at www.itsgoodtotalk.org.uk
and www.psychotherapy.org.uk. There is information on both websites about
choosing a therapist and the different types of talking therapies and of
Most psychologists in the UK are members of the British
Psychological Society (BPS). To search for a psychologist, visit www.bps.org.uk.
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 an HIV organisation, mental
health charities, your HIV clinic 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
(IAPT) initiative also provides online cognitive behavioural therapy. Generally,
access to this service is by referral from your GP, but you can self-refer to
some IAPT services. See what is available in your area at www.iapt.nhs.uk/services.
To find a complementary
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).
Who to contact if you
need urgent support
If you feel like harming or
hurting yourself or other people:
- Call 999
- Go to your nearest Accident and Emergency
department (A&E). You can search for your local department through the
NHS Choices website.
Mental health services
If you are already
receiving support from mental health services, you should have a care plan.
This will include details of who you should contact in a crisis.
If you can't find your care
During the day
Contact your Community
Mental Health Team (CMHT) and ask for your care co-ordinator or the person on
During evenings, weekends or
Call your local crisis
team. NHS 111 will be able to give you details of your local team.
Here are the details of just some of the organisations
which support people living with HIV. To find out about organisations in your
local area, call THT Direct (0808 802 1221), ask at your HIV clinic, or visit www.aidsmap.com/e-atlas.
& Soul is a charity providing support for children, teenagers and families
living with, or affected by HIV.
George House Trust provides a wide range of support and
other services for people living with HIV in the northwest of England, as well
as working to shape attitudes and raise awareness within the wider community.
GHT offers counselling services looking at circumstances including relationship
problems, bereavement, low self-esteem, isolation and loneliness to coming to
terms with a HIV diagnosis.
0161 274 4499
Living Well is a not-for-profit social enterprise. It
provides counselling, group peer support services and courses for people living
with HIV in London.
020 3137 3373
NAZ Project London provides sexual health and HIV
prevention and support services to selected black and minority ethnic (BME)
communities in London. NAZ offers a short-term counselling service for adults from
BME communities facing problems and questions about their relationships,
sexuality, sexual health and/or HIV.
020 8741 1879
A community-based HIV charity, providing a range of services for people
living with HIV or affected by HIV in East London. Positive East
provides counselling and psychotherapy services, offering free and confidential
one-to-one support around issues such as coming to terms with an HIV diagnosis,
sexual identity, relationships and personal crises.
020 7791 2855
Positively UK is a national charity providing
support for people living with
HIV. People living with HIV answer their helpline. They will ring you back free
020 7713 0444
provides culturally appropriate care and support services and free advice on
issues including sexual health, HIV treatment, emotional support, welfare
rights, social care, housing and immigration. 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 in
020 7735 6744
on HIV treatment, as well as on other aspects of living with HIV and support
and advocacy services throughout the UK, and details of these and services
provided by other HIV organisations.
0808 802 1221, Monday to Friday, 10am to 8pm