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More needs to be done to help those suffering with mental health problems, says Derbyshire counsellor Kim Heappey.

Kim works for Derwent Rural Counselling Service (DRCS), the largest provider of counselling in Derbyshire.

Kim, who is a clinical supervisor and senior counsellor talked about the ways that therapy can help.

She said: "Awareness is beginning to shift and it is heading in the right direction with more emphasis on mental health, but we need to do more to help those who are suffering the effects of mental health problems at an earlier stage.

"It has been said that people who commit suicide are being selfish, but this is completely wrong and very misleading.

"People who take their own lives are not choosing death, they have reached a point where they do not feel that they can carry on living, that life is too difficult for them. They may also view themselves as a burden to others or believe others would be better off without them."

Kim said "the great tragedy" of suicide is that is often stems from depression which forces individuals to become mentally isolated.

But she added that therapy and medication are key to resuming normal life again.

She said: "One of the problems with depression is that sufferers do not feel right talking about it, they are frightened they will be judged.

"For some people there is still some stigma attached to opening up about how they feel, they may feel it is wrong to do so, and yet despair is a normal human state.

"It is also very difficult to identify those who may be suicidal as the symptoms for suicides are similar to the symptoms for depression - but fortunately most people experiencing depression will not take their own life.

"The ability to talk about a negative state of mind, abnormal feelings and other symptoms of depression is the first and most important step in recovery.

"There are people who dread the start of every day, who feel that they have no self-worth and there is a fundamental lack of understanding about how talking can change the way we feel about things that have happened in life."

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Kim said we are only "scratching the surface" in terms of overcoming mental health illnesses.

She said her role at DRCS is to help people to build resilience to the pressures of life which are difficult to cope with.

She said: "What we set out to achieve through therapy is to help people to find the hope and to think that things can get better in the future.

"Attending sessions with a therapist can help a client regain their hope and make a good recovery, all they need to do is call us or contact us through our website to arrange an assessment appointment.

"This is why it is so important that they seek to talk about how they feel - either with their family, partner, friends or family doctor. It can be enough to steer that person towards considered treatment and ultimately, back to normal life."

DRCS try to ensure that a first appointment for an individual is scheduled within 28 days from receipt of the referral, with a second appointment scheduled within 28 days of the first appointment.

Last year they achieved an average waiting time of 16 days - the national average is 25.

Here's how you can get help from DRCS.

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on Derby Telegraph

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