Are you struggling to cope, or feeling very low, anxious or distressed? You are not alone. It is OK to ask for help – and talking to someone can really help.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, or at breaking point, it’s really important to seek help as soon as possible. OpenPAWS doesn’t offer crisis support, but you can access support in a number of different ways.
If your life is in danger, call the emergency services on 999
If you need help urgently, but it’s not life threatening, call NHS 111 (open 24/7)
Call your GP, Midwife or Health Visitor and ask for the first available emergency appointment. You can talk to them about your mental health and they can refer you to another service if necessary.
There are also several other support options that you can try:
Samaritans is open 24/7 to talk about whatever you’re going through. Tel: 116 123
Mind (the charity) has an info and text line that can give you information on a range of topics including different mental health problems, where to get help (including finding local support), medication and alternative treatments and advocacy. Tel: 0300 123 3393 Text 86463 (open 9am to 6pm)
They also have a supportive online community, where you can share your experiences and get support: https://www.elefriends.org.uk/
If you are looking for non-urgent digital support, the NHS Apps Library has a list of approved Mental Health Support apps that you might want to try: https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/category/mental-health/
If you are looking at this page because you are currently having (or feeling like you might be about to have) a panic attack, you might want to try our breathing exercises, tense and release exercises, or positive visualisations. And reading the following might help:
These thoughts may seem scary, but they are just thoughts – they don’t represent what is really going on, and they don’t mean that something bad or catastrophic is about to happen. Your thoughts are just causing your body to produce a fight or flight response, powered by adrenaline, which is speeding up your heartbeat, and breathing, and making you feel frightened and unwell. Panic feels dangerous… but it isn’t! And it will pass! Adrenaline doesn’t last for very long, so you will find your symptoms will start to go away on their own, even if you do nothing.
When you panic, you breathe too fast (or hyperventilate), which can make you feel dizzy, faint and like you have tightness in your chest. It can also lead to pins and needles in your hands, or elsewhere in your body. One way to help you feel better is to slow down and equalise your breathing.
To do this, try breathing through your nose (rather than your mouth) as it can really help to slow things down and stop you from over breathing. As you breathe in through your nose, slowly count to 4 (taking about a second for each number: 1… 2… 3… 4…); then hold your breath for a couple of seconds (count 1… 2…); before breathing out again (again, through your nose), slowly counting 1… 2… 3… 4…; and hold again (counting 1… 2…) – repeat these four steps. Breathing like this for at least two minutes should help your panicky feelings start to fade away.
Allowing yourself to feel the panic, and breathe through it can help you to face your fears and realise that your thoughts are just that – thoughts. This can help to reduce panic in the future.