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.
Read more about mental health
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:
Lifeline - 131114
Samaritans - 135247
Crisis Services Canada - 18334564566
Suicide Ecoute - 0033 145 39 4000
Telefonseelsorge Deutschland - 0800 -111 0 222
Samaritans - 800 86 00 22
Lifeline New Zealand - 0800543354
Lifeline Southern Africa - 0861 322 322
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.
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.