Treatment and Therapy



The primary treatment for mental illness is usually medication, which is either taken orally or by slow release injection. Medications have been developed to relieve different symptoms, so that one may be taken for something specific, or more than one in a combination to deal with different symptoms at the same time.

Medications can be categorised according to their function:

  • antipsychotics, to relieve symptoms of psychosis
  • antidepressants to relieve symptoms of depression
  • mood stabilisers to moderate extreme mood changes
  • benzodiazepines, for the relief of anxiety

Whilst medications are often effective, they can also cause variable side effects, so it is important to find a medication that works for you with minimum disruption. A review of medication being taken should be carried out by a doctor annually, but if side effects are causing problems, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about looking for an alternative choice.

Talking therapies

The second most common type of treatment is talking therapy. There are different models of talking therapy which have particular goals, and an individual should be referred to a method of therapy relevant to their needs. These models include:

  • cognitive behaviour therapy, which changes problematic patterns of thinking or behaviour
  • cognitive analytical therapy, which focuses on improving the client's coping habits so that future problems are easier to deal with
  • dialectical behaviour therapy, which focuses on learning how to react normally to emotional triggers
  • psychotherapy is based on the client using their own insight to solve current problems
  • family intervention, which engages the family unit as part of the therapeutic process
  • creative therapies (e.g. art and drama) to deal mainly with emotional conflicts
  • counselling, which is about being able to talk without fear of judgement or criticism

Complementary Therapies

Other treatments for mental illness include complementary therapies, to be used alongside more conventional treatments such as medication and therapy such as mediation, art therapy, massage and other relaxation techniques and practices.

Useful resources

Boost your happiness and create a kinder world while doing it with the Action for...
Handle stress and anxiety on the go
Support to resist self-harm
Guided meditations
Personalised Exercise Plans
Here2Help has been developed by a local initiative from people who want to make the range...
Active 10 is a free and easy to use walking app that tracks your walking and shows you...
Learn to manage negative thoughts and look at problems differently
Fabulous! Is a motivational app that uses challenges to help build physically and...
MoodMission helps you learn new and better ways of coping with low moods and anxiety...
Clear Fear is an app developed for teenage mental health charity Stem4 which uses the...
MindShift CBT is a free self-help anxiety relief app, that helps you reduce worry, stress...
Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM) offers a range of self-help methods to help you...
What's Up? can help you cope with anxiety, stress and feelings of depression. It has...
Moodpath: Depression and Anxiety is a written mood journal that uses progress reports and...
Guided meditations
It’s an easy to follow programme known the world over, and perfect for those new to...
SuperBetter is a tool created by game designers to help you build resilience and get...

Helplines & Web Chats

Action Mental Health
Association for Post-Natal Illness Helpline
Aware NI - Support Groups
Aware NI - Online Support Groups
Mind - Side by Side Online Community