An important part of maintaining positive mental health and recovering from mental illness is having a strong support system.
Having a strong support system decreases our feelings of loneliness and isolation, improves feelings of self-worth, and helps us manage times of crisis. If we know we have people there for us, it can help to take some of the strain off when we’re really struggling.
There are lots of options in terms of building a support system, and you may not find all of these options useful to your particular situation, but hopefully you will find at least one of these options helpful.
This one may be difficult if you don’t have a partner and/or have a strained relationship with your family, however, if at all possible, it is helpful to have these core people in your support system.
- Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN)
- Social Worker
- Support Worker
There are many support groups you can join, for example, there are local Mind groups, and in my area (Staffordshire, UK) there is an organisation called Changes. There are also more hobby-oriented support groups, such as Borderline Arts (Derby, UK) which is an art group for adults with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
There are many online communities that work as part of a person’s support system. One of the best ones that I know of is the Mental Health Crisis Angels on Twitter. These guys provide peer support for anyone who is struggling with their mental health and just needs someone to talk to. It’s entirely volunteer-run, and I believe that the majority (if not all) of their volunteers have lived experience of mental illness, so you can talk to someone who truly understands your situation. This is a great resource to have in your support system for times when you just need a supportive chat.
The bigger your support system, the more likely you are to have someone available to help you when you need it. If you can have a variety of options, this can only be helpful for you.
Who is in your support system? Let me know in the comments!