Receiving a diagnosis and living with MS can mean you also experience mental health conditions, and living with these alongside MS can be a challenge. 

For people with MS, depression is the single most important factor affecting quality of life - even more so than disability or fatigue. Another common MS symptom can be anxiety. Stress and anxious feelings can affect the body's ability to fight disease, so it's important to learn ways of managing anxiety levels as much as possible.

A 2020 study published in the European Journal of Neurology concluded that people with MS are two to three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than the general population. Depression is very common amongst those who are newly diagnosed. 

This hub is a space to find out more about others experiences, use free resources to help take control of your mental health, as well as a list of mental health specific charities who can support you further. 

We have lots of insightful pages and resources that cover tips and ideas to help towards your mental health. This includes free guided meditations and a monthly meditation calendar to help maintain regular meditation practice. It is also important to surround yourself with people who understand your situation and can support you. Our OMS Circles offer you that support and understanding. Keeping your body moving, no matter how much can also be beneficial for your mental health, so try out some of our free guided exercises. 

Gratitude in uncertain times

Dr Rachael Hunter shares some useful tips on keeping positive in these uncertain times.

Staying positive while shielding

OMS facilitator Sam Josephs shares her thoughts and how her family are managing in self-isolation with COVID-19 restrictions.

Advice for combating worry

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis means that life will feel uncertain for a while. We take you through some simple actions you can take now to feel better.

Finding certainty in uncertainty

"MS is an uncertain condition and the process of accepting this as part of your prognosis can be a long one". Hannah, who is working on her PhD on the topic of psychological support in MS, reminds us to focus on the present and not the uncertainties of the future.

Mental health for all

Read three different OMSers experiences of mental health and find out how it has affected them and their coping strategies they have in place.

It's OK to pause

"My top tips are to stay connected with friends and family and use this time to pause, meditate and bring mindfulness into your life."

Ten quick and easy breath meditations

These meditations are great to try when you are maybe feeling slightly tense, uneasy or overwhelmed.

Time for reflection

Dr Rachael Hunter offers some useful exercises which can be helpful when facing challenges, or periods of chronic stress. You may find one, or both of them a helpful way to reflect on the year and step into the year ahead.

COVID-19 and mental health

Hannah Morris-Baker and Dr Aileen Ho share their findings from a phD study into psychological support in MS.

Stress, diet and how the OMS Program helps

Carolyn explains why stress can have such a big impact on our ability to keep track of our diet, and explains why the OMS Program can be so helpful.

Read more about mental health

a lady in bed suffering from depression
Depression

Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life. The severity can vary from mild to severe. The challenges presented by multiple sclerosis can increase the risk of depression.

a man leaning on a table with head in hand
Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are common and can be even more so in people that have received a diagnosis of MS. Stress and anxious feelings can affect the body’s ability to fight disease, so it’s important to learn ways of managing anxiety levels as much as possible. 

CBT
Online therapy

With more and more of our daily activities becoming online based, here is a personal account of how therapy for depression and anxiety can still be beneficial online.

Guided yoga sequences for anxiety

If you do not feel like you have anyone to talk to please try contacting one of the numbers below:

Australia:

Lifeline - 131114

Samaritans - 135247

Canada:

Crisis Services Canada - 18334564566

France:

Suicide Ecoute - 0033 145 39 4000

Germany:

Telefonseelsorge Deutschland - 0800 -111 0 222

Italy:

Samaritans - 800 86 00 22

New Zealand:

Lifeline New Zealand - 0800543354

South Africa:

Lifeline Southern Africa - 0861 322 322

USA:

Mental Health America - 1 800 273 8255

UK and RoI:

Samaritans - 116 123

Rest of world:

These links are accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world.

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IMALIVE

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Every Mind Matters

Although we have lots of advice, tips and resources for you and your mental health, we are not a specific mental health charity. However there are lots of amazing charities out there, ready to help and support you.