Seeking Help - Anxiety & Depression

I have been struggling with anxiety and to some extent, depression since I had my stroke 3 months ago. Some of these issues have probably been hiding under the surface long before my stroke but the stroke has made things considerably worse. After speaking with my advisor from the stroke association, it was recommended that seeking professional help may prove useful - either Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or counselling.

Unfortunately it has taken 2 months just to get a phone call with an NHS therapy triage nurse and the result of that was being told it would be another 2 months before I actually get to speak with a therapist / counsellor. I know from speaking to other people generally that waiting lists for mental health treatment are lengthy.

I was curious what other people’s experience was of getting help for mental health issues relating to stroke and / or whether anyone has any experience of getting treatment privately?


Hi @Rufus

You’re welcome to come along to one of the Thursday zoom sessions Thursday online ‘cafe’ (also Carers)
Because a pretty common element of conversation is about anxiety and possibly depression so you might find some " from the horses mouth there" . It will depend on who turns up

There is plenty of stuff on YouTube - it may lack something in terms of the one-to-one but it is instantly available . Mainly about meditation and mindfulness techniques to reduce the anxiety.

SSRIs get a very mixed review. I think because previously antidepressants have been seen as a problem - but I also know that others have had good relief on them - the recent posts from @joy.alliy For example report having use them for a while to good effect. @EmeraldEyes posted recently about how small stresses have a disproportionate effect on us and that is definitely part of the overall equation

There is a lot on here about people suffering in a way that would suggest to me that brain chemistry post stroke has a susceptibility to encourage these challenges or maybe those of us with undiagnosed tendencies end up having strokes? I don’t know.

as ever a question like this will evoke sympathetic responses but I know that the most information is sitting in the posts that have been made over the last few years and will be discoverable by using the magnifying glass above - It will probably be a moderate amount of reading but I’ll guess it’s more on point than searching the internet



Hi Rufus, @Rufus

I struggled mentally after my stroke. The “After Stroke” charity sent me a Counselor to my house for an hour a week. I think we had about 8 - 10 sessions, and I found them most helpful. Maybe they could help you out,

good luck, Roland


Hi Rufus @Rufus

I have also struggled with anxiety since I had strokes in January and February last year. I had a triage appointment with a psychologist in March and have then been on a waiting list, my actual psychology sessions started last week. In the meantime a psychologist would call me for a ‘check in’ every few weeks to see how I was doing.

In the meantime, I’ve had CBT sessions over the phone which were useful. My GP told me about our local NHS Talking Therapies service, I was able to self refer to that and the sessions started quickly so it would be worth finding out if there’s something similar in your area.

It’s also worth contacting your local MIND branch, they offer a number of things in my area. I’ve contacted them but I haven’t used them as I’ve had support from the other services.

I hope you find some support that helps.



Thanks Nigel. It was via the talking therapy service here in the north-west that the waiting lists are so long. Perhaps it is better in other parts of the country? Thank-you nonetheless, definitely a service worth trying if you can make it work.


Rufus @Rufus

It does seem to be very much a postcode lottery. I hope you find a service you can access that will help you, it might take a bit of work and ringing round to find something which isn’t always easy when you have anxiety. The charitable sector is definitely work exploring.

I wish you all the best, it’s a difficult journey.



This subject has been very important to me. After strokes my personality seemed to change tremendously, to a person I did not really recognize. Once depression set in, I was unable to accomplish anything. I am in the US but also could not find help. Someone here recommend an online site: 7 Cups of Tea which helped, as well as interacting with and most recently another site Action for Happiness. 7 Cups is actually for mental, emotional, behavioral and physical health issues. There are many folks to speak with both untrained and trained volunteers, and an opportunity for low cost professional help online. Here we are not volunteers, nor trained, but share lived experiences. Action for Happiness is for anyone, just to spread support, kindness and healthy practices, but the reminders are a godsend to me. I also am prescribed a low dose of Duloxitine (Cymbalta) for anxiety and depression. One day I won’t take it anymore, but it has helped me without side effects. I try to keep medications to a minimum, and have a mindset that if medicine, there should also be therapy. Just finding a therapist has proven impossible for me.


I had hypnotherapy a couple of months after I had a stroke. I’d suffered from depression before and knew that I would succumb if I didn’t do something quickly. I found a lady who was brilliant and let me rant about how unfair everything was. Went for about 3 months on a weekly basis and I managed not to drop into a depressive hole. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and she phones me regularly to make sure I haven’t chucked myself out of a window. It was funded privately.


Hi Rufus
Have you tried searching in Google your area and anxiety ?
The CBT course I went on wasn’t NHS from memory.
Another Nigel


Hi, I have self referred to mental health services as suggested by my GP, I am also in the North West. I was traged fairly quickly but the wait list is very long. Do you have a local Co ordinator from the Stroke Association? Mine is a wealth of information and help and she was able to refer me to a charity who can provide therapy. I have accessed private therapy in the past for bereavement which was very helpful but expensive, (not an option for me anymore). There is a counselling directory which will give you your local counsellors , all accredited and have information about themselves and the services they offer. I think alot if us on here suffer or have suffered anxiety and depression as a result of stroke. It is life changing and isolating even when you have family and friends around you. This forum is a wealth of information, experience and kind people.


Unfortunately, accessing stroke services is very much a post code lottery
I had my cerebral infarction plus multiple TIA’s in 2016.
I contacted stroke association for help back end of 2016 early 2017 and was told that they only see stroke people in the first 6 months.i then contacted them in 2021 and went straight to the CEO, who passed it to the regional director of my area, I had various emails and phone calls and one visit from her.
All she could offer me was a coffee and chat meeting once a month with no stroke association people there.
I’ve been twice and have found it unacceptable,useless and I don’t get anything from it.
I get more from going to see my mates as and when I can.

1 Like

Wow @Jontybeever that certainly sounds a strange experience

Are you sure you talked to the CEO of the stroke association? Juliet Bouverie - I’m surprised! And had a visit!!

Certainly talking to your mates works well. We do it via zoom on Thursday afternoons click the blue text to follow link

We often talk about anxiety!! :slight_smile:

We are a group of strokes and we don’t have stroke association people present because we prize the lived experience we share.

The stroke association certainly does provide support for people outside of 6 months. The helpline can advise.)



Yes I sent an email to the CEO of the stroke association , but she passed it on to Samantha Jones the North East director. What I typed in my previous post is correct.
I have the saved the email conversations


hello Rufus. I am caring for my husband and I am also very depressed and feel I am holding on by a thread, so from November i spoke to GP and got a nurse triage in January and now also tole yes i am stressed and anxious and in need of urgent support but i am added to another waiting list for another 2 months. so sad that we cannot get the support. I know my husband also needs support as he is very depressed and we are now on palliative care so awaiting help as well. even to get a GP appointment is like an hold hold on phone to be told all appointments fully booked. hope you get some support. I am attending carer support groups and the stroke support group. I am also religious so prayer is helping me and I am blessed to a few very good friend who i can talk to. hope you have support from friends and family.
sending you well wishes and know you not alone we all here to chat

The carers cafe is trying to build up a regular group - & has been asking what time slot is best for folk but defaults to Friday 1500 UK time

Come and support & be supported?
It’s run by @BakersBunny she used to run the SA Scotland engagement team’s zoom cafe (They are now conserving resources)

See this topic for details Online Zoom Carers Cafe

Your husband is also welcome to come to the Thursday cafe that runs from 1pm on more detail in Thursday online ‘cafe’ (also Carers)



Can you get a push doctor appointment so that you can speak to someone sooner ? Is that available on the surgery’s website ?


Hi @Rufus ,

After my stroke ( 2 years ago now!) I suffered from a real sense of loss, low self esteem and mild depresion. It was my wife who persuaded me to go get help, but I gave up on the NHS system and found someone locally who I could talk to as a private patient. Through this process I also realised that there were a number of things that I’d been keeping ‘under the surface’ for many years and can now understand myself a lot better than I did even before my stroke.

This has been a slow process but if I don’t quite feel ‘like the old me’ , I am now feeling excited about the rest of my life and am able to deal with those dark feelings when they come.

I can’t be much help with the fight to get help from the NHS , but would just say that getting help is very much worth it and to ‘stick with it’ , things will eventually get better.

1 Like

Hi I have also suffered a brain hemmoragoc stroke and now been told I have a AVM a condition that needs attention with radiotherapy as too dangerous to operate on. I have just been accepted for CBT myself starting next tues I had my stroke oct 7th 2022 . I also suffer with terrible anxiety as had no warming at all before hand. I hope you get some help soon yourself.


I will try to attend the friday 3pm meeting as i have a nurse appointment tommorw
i did go today for a carers coffe session and its nice to meet other in silimar situation .
my husband is eating a doing a little better and drinking more now. he is on good pain meds and i feel i am copying bettter now i have good carers who help with my husband, so i can go out for awalkto the park when they come home as they sit with him for 45 mins and even off er him food, he likes them so much and is happy to see them. . this is also helping me feel more supported. thanks again for all the support over the last month


Hello, I had my TIA’s last august and was being treated for anxiety at the time. As seems often the case, the anxiety really accelerated to the point where it was becoming the dominant feature of my existence. My gp referred me to the nhs CBT talk programme that I accessed 3 months later and which I found most helpful. In the interim my wife found a local therapist who was really excellent during weekly sessions and who now see monthly.
I also decided to try meditation and tried several offerings of the multitude available on YouTube before settling on the Wu Wei series that really resonated with me. In addition to this I was prescribed medication by my gp.
It sounds a lot, but it is working for me and I am eternally grateful for all the help that I have received. None of of us are alone with these struggles but progress can and does happen although sometimes the progress seems glacially slow.