If you feel under pressure to keep saying ‘yes’, then contact Carers UK, Counsel and Care, or Crossroads Care for advice or help with respite care to enable you to recharge your batteries.

There are lots of practical things you can do to support someone who is ready to seek help. For example:

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Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

People with mental health problems sometimes experience a crisis, such as breaking down in tears, having a panic attack, feeling suicidal, or experiencing their own or a different reality. 

You may need to do some research, like finding out about the state pension, National Insurance top ups, pension credits, and buying an annuity.

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Caring for others can be rewarding, such as seeing your grandchildren taking their first steps or sharing a laugh with a neighbour. However, there can be stresses and strains along the way.

17.Understand that sometimes I can’t hang out, but not because I don’t want to. Accept that it’s in fact an illness and I’m not making an excuse.” — Shannon Trevino

These are some things that can cause worry as you get older:[12]

Email: support@carers.org

For online support and to find your local branch, visit their website.

You're not alone; talk to someone you trust. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.

Citizens Advice provides free, independent and confidential advice for a range of problems as well as providing information on your rights and responsibilities.

Good sleep doesn’t just mean lots of sleep, as the amount of sleep that each person needs is different. The Mental Health Foundation’s booklet ‘Sleep Well’[25] suggests ways that you can improve your sleep. You can also talk to your GP about sleep problems, as they may be able to change your medication or suggest solutions to other health issues that may be keeping you awake.

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Always make time for your own hobbies and interests. If you are a busy carer, you must still find time for your own interests in order to look after your own wellbeing.

Email: advice@carersuk.org

[31] Cornah, D. (2006). “Cheers? Understanding the relationship between alcohol and mental health.”

Your friendship may change for a while or it may change permanently. However, it doesn't have to vanish. Nor does it have to take over your life. Underneath everything that is going on, you're still the people who became friends in the first place. We all have our ups and downs and need the support of our friends.

3. “Don’t tell me to put my big girl panties, but do tell me you support me and love me anyway.” — Andrea Heer

Share your observations with your friend. Focus on being nonjudgmental, compassionate and understanding. Use these “I” (instead of “you”) comments to get the conversation started.

Physical activity can be as effective as anti-depressant medication in treating mild to moderate depression,[20] which is why exercise therapy[21]is available on prescription in many areas. Information is available at www.nhs.uk, or your GP may be able to help.

The human body and mind needs a mix of nutrients to work properly.[28] Eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day is recommended, and is a vital part of a healthy diet.[29]

Say "Why don’t you tell me how you are feeling?" rather than "I can see you are feeling very low". Try to keep your language neutral. Give the person time to answer and try not to grill them with too many questions.

"She has just been diagnosed as being bi-polar. When she drinks she gets very upset and angry so we rarely invite her to join us when alcohol is involved. I also make more of an effort to listen."

Mental Health And Good Friends

Helping you to better understand and support people with mental health problems

Friendship is a crucial element in protecting our mental health. We need to talk to our friends and we want to listen when our friends want to talk to us. Our friends can keep us grounded and can help us get things in perspective. It is worth putting effort into maintaining our friendships and making new friends. Friends form one of the foundations of our ability to cope with the problems that life throws at us.

Explore NIMH brochures and fact sheets. En Español.

Friendship takes time, and sometimes effort. It is easy to lose touch with people, especially if their life seems too busy for you or if you are feeling down. Having friends is a positive way to maintain good emotional health,[15] even when doing so may sometimes seem like hard work.

Mind provides information on a range of mental health topics to support people in their own area from 9.00am to 6.00pm, Monday to Friday. Call 0300 123 3393 or email info@mind.org.uk.

Being active doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym; t’ai chi, Pilates, gardening, dog walking, dancing, or being part of a walking group are all good ways to get some exercise. Being active doesn’t have to cost much money. Many councils offer activities at lower rates for older people.

Website: www.citizensadvice.org.uk

If your work or career is a major part of your life, consider how to deal with the changes to:

[15] Antonucci, T. C. (2001). Social relations: An examination of social networks, social support, and sense of control. In J. E. Birren (Ed.), Handbook of the psychology of aging (5th ed., pp. 427–453). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.

activity and quality of life in community-dwelling older adults with impaired mobility, physical disability and/or multi-morbidity: A meta-analysis. Ageing Research Reviews, 11, 136–149.

A guide to taking the first steps, making empowered decisions and getting the right support for you.

"I wanted my friends to know so they...would cut me some slack if I behaved oddly...don't think I'm just ignoring them...could help me."