Getting help

Living with a long-term condition isn't always easy. Help is out there if and when you need it.

You can turn to others in the same situation as you or to trained professionals.

There are also practical techniques that can make a real difference to the way you feel.

This page looks at some of the options, including:

Self management programmes

Self-management programmes like those run by the Expert Patient Programme (EPP) can be very useful in helping you to adapt to life with MS.

They can help you manage your symptoms and emotions, as well as helping you to develop the skills needed to continue with day-to-day activities.

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Talking therapies

Talking therapies can help you come to terms with change, and overcome anxiety, depression and other emotional difficulties. They offer a chance to talk about the problems you face in a way that helps you to understand yourself and how you're feeling.

Using this understanding, you may be able to work out ways of taking positive and constructive steps towards improving the way you feel. You may also find you deal with situations in new ways that make them seem less stressful or difficult.

Talking therapies can also help all those affected by MS to feel less alone when dealing with distressing symptoms.

The MS Society Helpline also offers information and support to anyone with MS, their families, friends and carers.

There are a number of different talking therapies, including:

  • Counselling: This allows you to talk about the difficulties or troubles you are facing without being interrupted. Counselling is completely confidential
  • Psychotherapy: Tries to help you understand why you feel the way you do, and what lies behind your responses to other people and things that happen to you.
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy: Focuses on specific, practical problem-solving techniques.
  • Self-help groups: These groups, also known as peer support groups, are usually for people who want to overcome a shared problem. You can find out more about these different types of talking therapy from the mental health charity MIND or by asking your doctor. In Scotland, the Scottish Association for Mental Health has more information.

Local support group meeting

Your GP or MS nurse might be able to help you get access to talking therpaies - just ask them to refer you to a specialist.

Unfortunately, access to these therapies on the NHS is limited, and varies from region to region.

Your local MS Society branch may have information on counselling services, or may run a group or offer discounted counselling.

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Local support

Many MS Society local branches have regular support group meetings. Each branch also has a fully trained MS support officer who can provide support and offer guidance about other local services available. Counselling is also available from some regional MS Therapy Centres.

Live in Scotland?

COSCA is the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland.

There are lists of accredited counsellor or psychotherapist members and voluntary sector counselling services on its website. These lists can help you find someone in your area. There are also guidelines on how to select a counsellor.

Live in Northern Ireland?

MS Society NI provide a counselling service at MS Society NI Resource Centre every Friday.

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Page last updated: 18 Aug 2017

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