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Mental Health Advice

Afternoon all,

My son has been on furlough since the 1st April 2020 and during that time he has also been made redundent. He is 33 and worked hard all his life be it a short one and the effects of sitting at home doing nothing and losing the routine in his life has taken its toll.

He is agitated, anxious, not sleeping very well and completely out of routine.

His live in partner, mum & me have tried to talk to him and advise however we are not experts in this field and whatever we say or do tend to lead up a dead end street.

He has contacted his doctor who said he may as well go straight to MIND as he feels he needs to speak to someone. He has completed the application form and MIND have emailed him back however as you will appriciate in today's times appointments are few and far between. 

We have suggested going private and we have offered to pay for the course of treatment however where do you start looking for a therapist covering this area of expertise.

He lives in Bexleyheath so does anyone in this great CL family have any suggestions or recommendations for a good therapist?



  • I would phone MIND as well and ask if they can deliver or recommend wellbeing interventions online by ms teams or similar. They may have online support groups.
  • Thanks for that post Gary, very helpful.

    I can confirm we are all talking to him as much as we can however he has told us we are going over the top so it is a fine balance. His partner lives with him so she has the most access however we are mindful she is working full time out of the house so he is alone for long periods. His lack of sleep at night means he gets up late so we are on tenter hooks as to what time to call him etc.

    He will not struggle to find another job as he is very well qualified in his line of work however I do not think he is up to an interveiw at this stage meaning he will be out of work longer. The good news is his redundecy package will see him well past christmas finacially so there is no rush although its catch 22 as he will benifit from routine in his life which of course includes working. 
  • Hello mate.

    sorry to read of this, I can’t even begin to imagine how he is feeling, and how worried you all are. is a good website for counselors.

    have you tried contacting CALM.

    I did one of their inductions last year as I was looking to get on some volunteering for them.  They are an organisation aimed at the male aged 18-40 range.  They may be able to help.  Book of man is a media brand as well that offers support, again, aimed at men your son’s age.  It’s not specific help, but it might give you some ideas and help him relate to others in the same boat.

    I’m sure he’s already all over this, but any job may be better than no job, and it can help him keep busy.  I lost out on a job at the start of Corona and have subsequently had to take temporary work.  It’s not what I want to do, but having something to keep your mind occupied is a good way to help it feel like the situation isn’t going to consume you.  My partner also had no job and she spent a fair few months doing nothing.  I could see the toll it took on her.  She ended up getting work in a pub and although it wasn’t what she wanted to do, it made a difference.

    It’s a horrible situation and I really feel for everyone who has been adversely effected.  I am sure it will get better and it might not seem like you are making any headway, but I am sure it will come good.  

    Best of luck 
  • a therapist covering this area of expertise.

    When you say this area of expertise, does he have a specific diagnosis or are you referring to, He is agitated, anxious, not sleeping very well and completely out of routine. 

    Because a heck of a lot of people will be experiencing this, in this current climate, without it necessarily being unusual.

    Just trying to get a bit more clarity.
  • It is often a fine line between being supportive and appearing overbearing to someone, the important thing is that he knows that you are there. Texts can be useful here as there is no pressure for an immediate response. 

    How does he feel about interviews? It is good that there is no immediate pressure to find work but if with support he can get one and get up the courage to go through with it (lots are done over zoom etc at the moment), he may get a feeling of getting a bit of himself back.

    Another strategy that might be useful now, is seeing if he can get out for some exercise in fresh air everyday there are lots of places around Bexleyheath that will be full of autumn colours and there is a good amount of research that shows spending time in nature can be good for people’s mental health.
  • Sorry to read this.

     Samaritans are your first port of call. They are always available. They can be called on 116-123.

    You personally can ring them for advice on your concerns for your son too and they may be able to help speed up the process of setting up a proper therapist.

    I know it's a short answer, but may help.
  • a therapist covering this area of expertise.

    When you say this area of expertise, does he have a specific diagnosis or are you referring to, He is agitated, anxious, not sleeping very well and completely out of routine. 

    Because a heck of a lot of people will be experiencing this, in this current climate, without it necessarily being unusual.

    Just trying to get a bit more clarity.
    Just a figure of speech to be honest Martin.

    He used to be fun, always going out, enjoy a drink, take care of himself, get things done around the home etc.

    Now he is a recluse, hardly speaks, never goes out, lost touch with his mates, badly needs a haircut and beard trim, not touched a drop of booze for two months and does nothing indoors.

    I have offered to go to the barbers with him and I am desparetly trying to get him to come fishing with me however its a struggle to get him out the door as he is anxious. 
  • Sorry to hear this Mike. A mate of mine had something similar after a divorce and he spoke to Calm and they really helped him. I would also recommend them.

    He also suffered from anxiety and read a book called "The Chimps paradox" which gives you a clear idea of how the brain functions and why people get anxious and since he's read that he hasn't had anxiety since. 

    The changes with Calm and the book were significant, good luck mate.
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  • edited September 2020
    The best two sites for private sessions are;

    They charge counsellors different fees so will have slightly different counsellors on each directory.

    These two sites sometimes have counsellors not on the two above.

    Most will do a trial at reduced rate, around £20 - to check compatibility. If they don't, I would avoid them.

    Good luck.
  • Thanks for all your help, comments and best wishes so far, it is very much appreiciated.
  • I work for the NHS in Mental Health Services in Sussex covering East Sussex, West Sussex and City of Brighton. The set up should be similar county wide.
    You should have a designated mental health support line in your area most operate 24/7 ours in Sussex does. They should be able to signpost you to free NHS counselling or therapy that you can self refer too. Here it’s called Time to Talk in West Sussex and Health in Mind in East Sussex and Well-being in Brighton these do operate in other parts of the country. Your help line should be able to advise. 
    GP will help to begin with but if he needs more specialist help the GP will refer him to Mental Health services and he will be designated Lead Practitioner (new word for CPN).

    all the best

  • Hi Mike
    My advice, for what it's worth, is to get an appointment with a Dr that he feels comfortable with speaking to. GPs see this sort of thing the whole time. To them, it's a health concern, like any other.
    Perhaps it would also be worth his partner being involved in the conversation.
    There are some really good prescription medications that can help alleviate anxiety, agitation, insomnia etc. in a relatively short space of time. (I'm not just talking about Prozac)
    Then, once he is hopefully feeling a little better in himself, he may be more receptive to counselling, which can help provide a good long term solution for him.
    All the best.

  • edited September 2020
    Read up on the free PSTEC tool, download it and give it a go - the process takes less than 15 minutes.

    It does an amazing job of getting rid of unwanted emotions. You just have to sit down, listen and follow the instructions.

    I came across it around the start of this year after seeing a hypnotherapist for problems with my sleep. I've used it to stop feeling anxious about the night (a vicious cycle as that just made my sleep worse) and things that were bothering me like worrying about our club being thrown out the league. The feelings don't come back, and if they do I probably just need another session or two to get rid of them.

    Download here and user reviews -

    Why it's better than Mindfulness -

    Why it's better than CBT (cognitive behavioural therpay) -
  • Sorry to hear of your son's current issues , Mike .

    One of the huge positives in this situation is that he has fantastic ongoing  support from his parents and partner. Boosting his delicate ego and morale whenever appropriate will help enormously , albeit not immediately.

    My thoughts in addition to finding him suitable counselling/professional support are that he would benefit from a project or a set task ideally using skills he has or would be keen to develop. 

    This could be something home or garden based or possibly volunteering in the area. When I worked as a Lone Parent Advisor in the Employment Service, I'd refer those returning to work following a long break raising children to the local Volunteer Bureau. 

    Not only would this provide recent work experience for their CV but also motivation to care for their appearance, ensure they were where they needed to be at certain times etc but also instilled much needed confidence in their abilities. 

    IF your son drives, the authorities are always looking for volunteers to take the elderly in particular to hospital or doctor's appointments with petrol costs paid. However, there are varied options , I'm sure which would give your lad a reason to get up in the mornings and to take pride in doing something worthwhile at this moment in time.

    Please let us know how he goes. And don't underestimate the value of the support and love you give him 24/7.
  • MIND should be a good starting point for therapy. The therapy options should be able to manage a good introduction to therapy. That would be a springboard to something more skilled if deemed necessary. The key thing to begin with, is just that, begin.

    Not to cause any panic, but if you or your son do become overwhelmed and aren't sure if you are out of your depth, ring the local crisis team. 

  • Once again many thanks for the latest batch of advice and best wishes. We are going to study this thread in more detail now and put together a plan of action.

    I will keep you posted.

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  • edited September 2020
    Good luck Mike. GP should always be the first port of call, and a MIND in Bexley have a few different support structures. Go to the council website and search mental health
  • A lot of great stuff in this thread already.
    My own suggestion would be a blend of professional therapy, informal chats with family and decent mates (which you are doing already), but your son may want to go in another direction (therapy isn't for everyone), so also something or mix of constructive things like;

    A course- part time evening in a subject of interest, doesn't have to be work related. Will be online and not too late to enrol as many start in October. 

    Exercise- at least a regular walk, maybe running/cycling, and/or swimming. Crook log is open and swims can be booked by calling them.

    Voluntary work. Sign up as an nhs responder (gets you out of yourself and the app means you make yourself available when you're up to it (shopping for someone sheltering or picking up prescriptions etc), or something else via
  • Sorry to hear this, others have already given lots of good advice and places to phone/call upon, just for reference I was in lockdown from mid March so working from home and was made redundant 31.7 (although in reality I didn't do any work from mid June) I start a new job tomorrow. But what I did was;

    1. I tried to keep in a working routine, by that I still got up with the alarm clock every morning and went for a walk (I would usually have walked to the station and a walk to the office the other end). Usually about 3 miles.

    2. I tried to set mini goals for each day, whether that was to check share prices, wash up, hoover, golf, snooker, collect daughter from school, whatever, just a bit of a routine for the day so I don't just mull around and lets the hours pass by with nothing more than looking here! (although I did a bit of that as well......), it almost doesn't matter what it is.

    3. Early evening I would again go for a walk (to emulate coming home from work).

    So I tried to keep busy, separate leisure time, weekends from week days etc, and also kept in with my work industry to get another job.

    What line of work was he in?
  • Hi Mike,

    Really sorry to hear about your son, my son of 20 lost his job last week, and it was a real bolt from the blue, and kick in the teeth, I wish you well trying to get him the help he needs.

    Losing a job at any time is not a good thing, losing a job during Covid conditions is doubly hard, sadly I think there’s going to be a tsunami of job losses coming as furlough comes to an end.

    Just a thought, I don’t know if there are too many restrictions on at the moment due to Covid, but could your son contact and help out at his local food bank?
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