Resources

It is understood that many of our members will have challenges other than social anxiety. Depression, alcohol or drug addiction, and other anxiety related difficulties such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and generalised anxiety have all been found to commonly exist along side social anxiety. It is likely that the social anxiety support group will not be able to provide adequate help or support for these difficulties and so what follows is a collection of organisations and websites, both local and national, that may be of help to members looking for other resources. If you feel as if we have not covered something particularly relevant to social anxiety then please get in touch with us.

Local groups and services

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

AA is a large network of support groups for people who feel that their consumption of alcohol is out of control and who wish to recover from alcoholism. Meetings follow a 12-step program to aid recovery and are held in numerous places around Bristol, Bath and other parts of England. www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk

Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK works to relieve and support those living with anxiety disorders by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including one to one therapy services. It is the leading UK charity for those experiencing difficulties with anxiety. www.anxietyuk.org.uk

b-eat

b-eat covers all aspects of eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and overeating. It has a monthly support group in Bristol and offers email, telephone and postal support as well. www.b-eat.co.uk

Battle Against Tranquillisers

Battle Against Tranquillisers aims to help people withdraw from benzodiazepines, sleeping pills and drugs with similar effects. These drugs are sometimes prescribed to people with social anxiety but can occasionally cause problems with addiction and withdrawal symptoms. Several support groups are run in Bristol and a help-line is also provided. www.bataid.org

Bristol and District Tranquilliser Project

The organisation helps people who are involuntarily addicted to prescribed medication, mainly tranquillisers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants. All these drugs can be prescribed to someone with social anxiety and sometimes cause difficulties. Withdrawal groups, individual counselling and a help-line are provided. The service is funded by the NHS and is free and confidential. More Info

Bristol Domestic Abuse Forum (BDAF)

Offers information and services to help people experiencing domestic abuse in Bristol. They have help-lines and links to all the organisations that can help people going through a form of abuse, be that physical or emotional. They can help you get shelter and advice. www.bdaf.org.uk

Bristol Mind Advocacy Service

The Bristol Mind Advocacy service offers support and advice for those using mental health services in the NHS. They can help you know your rights, challenge your treatment, make complaints and make sure you are treated with respect while you are using NHS services. http://www.bristolmind.org.uk

Changes Mutual Support Groups

A support group for people in Bristol and the surrounding areas with various mental health challenges. Meetings follow a set agenda and the self-help program used is based on the 12-step philosophy and other established techniques. www.changesbristol.co.uk

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous (FA)

Groups in Bristol and Bath offering a free Twelve Step recovery program for anyone suffering from food obsession, overeating, under-eating and bulimia. Everyone is welcome, including those who think they may have a food problem or are concerned about someone who may. call Barbara (01761432713) or visit www.foodaddicts.org

GayWest

An established organisation for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered. They provide a social support group in a safe and supportive environment within the Bath, Bristol and surrounding areas as well as offer social activities. gaywest.org.uk

Help! Counselling

Located in Bristol, Help! provides counselling and psychotherapy for young people aged 9 to 25. They ask clients to choose a payment to cover their costs. There is no restriction on the number of sessions or issues they deal with. www.help-counselling.org.uk

Mindline

Mindline provides a telephone number you can call if you or someone you know is experiencing distress. Trained volunteers are there to listen to you and provide a safe and confidential service. www.bristolmind.org.uk

Off The Record

Provides confidential counselling for people of 25 years and younger. It also provides free, confidential information, advice and informal support for all ages through a drop-in and telephone help-line. www.otrbristol.org.uk

Overeaters Anonymous

Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. Various meetings are held in Bristol and the method of help is based on the 12-step program. www.oagb.org.uk

Rethink

Rethink is the largest severe mental illness charity. It offers services such as advocacy, career support, help lines and help with housing. Their local Bristol service assists individuals through one-to-one and group support and helps them form a recovery plan. www.rethink.org

Samaritans

If you feel hopeless, are having suicidal thoughts or are in any kind of crisis then the Samaritans can help. You can call into their Bristol branch 10.30am to 9pm (37 St Nicholas Street, BS1 1TP) or ring their 24 hour phone lines on 0117 983 1000 or 08457 90 90 90. Alternatively you can email jo@samaritans.org. www.samaritans.org

Self-Injury Self-Help (SISH)

SISH is a self-help group for men & women who self injure. Weekly meetings are held in central Bristol and are facilitated by an experienced facilitator. More Info

Speaking-infront

Public speaking courses/workshops run in Bristol. Aimed at people at all levels but possible more suitable for people who do not have severe social anxiety or for people who want to specifically work on public speaking. www.speaking-infront.co.uk

North Avon (Toastmasters) Speakers Club (NASC)

NASC focuses on personal and career development by improving our self-confidence, communication and presentation skills through the tried and trusted Toastmasters programme. Reasonably priced fees apply, but you can try one session for free. www.northavonspeakers.org.uk

Triumph Over Phobia (TOP)

TOP provides several self-help groups in Bristol and Bath for people with phobias and obsessive compulsive disorder. They use graded exposure to help people overcome their challenges. "Living with Fear" is used as a self-help manual. www.topuk.org

Local Social Groups

You may find the following organisations useful as a means of meeting new people and generally becoming more socially active. There is also a vast variety of other groups in Bristol and likely one that suits your particular interests. Martial arts classes are excellent for building confidence, are inexpensive and often require very little talking!

Avon Outdoor Activity Club

Avon Outdoor has a large number of members and membership is open to people over the age of 18. A large variety of social, sporting and other activities are organised by volunteers in the group. They offer a discount for people who are students or unemployed. aoac.co.uk

Bristol Active Social Club

Bristol Active Social Club is a group for people in Bristol and Bath, UK, aged between 20 and 40 looking to make new friends and enjoy a wide range of social activities. It's free. bristolactive.20six.co.uk

Bristol YES! Group

The Bristol Yes Group a club dedicated to achievement, self improvement and community development. Events are held monthly and offer one or more speakers on various aspects of personal development as well as a chance to chat to people before and after the event. yesbristol.co.uk

Templegate Dojo (Aikido)

Aikido is non-competitive and focuses not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you. Templegate is the largest Aikido dojo in Europe and offers classes on most days of the week in Bristol. www.templegatedojo.org.uk

Useful Websites

These websites may be particularly useful if you are experiencing social anxiety. They can provide valuable information and ways of talking to other people who are experiencing similar difficulties.

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership

Provides information on how mental health services within the NHS are developing, descriptions of local NHS services and provides information for service users and carers. www.awp.nhs.uk

Living Life To The Full

Offers free Cognitive Behavioural Therapy courses over the internet that you can follow and learn from without having to interact with anyone. Courses cover general self-help topics such as changing unhelpful thinking and being more assertive. www.llttf.com

Mental Health Foundation

Exists to help people survive, recover from and prevent mental health problems. The website has well structured information on different mental health challenges and lists associated resources. www.mentalhealth.org.uk

MentalHelp.net

Provide much information on mental health generally and the different types of difficulties people experience. The site also provides access to a free "Psychological Self Tools" online book to help people overcome their mental health related challenges. mentalhelp.net

Mind

Mind is a large nationwide organisation that works towards improving services and quality of life for people with mental health related challenges. The website provides numerous downloadable booklets on most aspects of mental health. www.mind.org.uk

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Provides guidelines for professionals working within healthcare, one of which covers anxiety. These guidelines are evidence based and can help you convincingly challenge the treatment you are receiving from the NHS if it doesn't follow NICE's recommendations. www.nice.org.uk

OFear

The Ofear Phobia Forum is a caring community of people from all over the world discussing and giving advice on all aspects of phobias. ofear.com

Social Anxiety UK (SA-UK)

SA-UK is the main website for social anxiety and shyness in the UK. It offers social anxiety related news, success stories, a list of support groups in England, a highly active discussion board and chat rooms. www.social-anxiety.org.uk

Social Phobia World

The site mainly consists of a highly active discussion board that brings together people with social anxiety from all over the world. It also offers some social anxiety related information, personal stories and photos of its members. www.socialphobiaworld.com

Associated Challenges

These are short descriptions of some of the commonly associated challenges that people with social anxiety may be living with. The aim of this list is help you identify if what you are experiencing is a recognised condition and point you towards more information. Sometimes just knowing that someone else could understand your difficulties and that you are not alone with them is of great help.

Agoraphobia

You fear being in crowded situations and experience anxiety and distress, especially when you are in a confined space. This may cause you to feel unable to leave your home and venture outdoors. Being in cars, buses or airplanes where escape might be difficult could seem hard or even impossible for you to do. More Info

Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Feeling that your alcohol or drug consumption is out of control and feeling that you need drugs or alcohol to cope with social situations or life generally. Your dependence may be causing other parts of you life such as relationships and finances to deteriorate. Alcohol Info / Drug Info

Anger

You find yourself often getting angry about things or with people and may often argue with them resulting in damage to your relationships and self-esteem. You may get caught up in your feelings and physically harm others or yourself. You might feel hurt and treated unfairly by others while also feeling very frustrated, inadequate and worthless. You may feel unable to control your anger and reactions to people. More Info

Anorexia Nervosa

You get very anxious about your body weight and feel the need to reduce your food intake or exercise excessively to lose weight even though you are already a low weight. You may feel disgusted by fat and will feel very anxious if you put on weight. You might be very concerned about what others think of your body. More Info

Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)

You tend to go through short or long cycles of very high and low mood. When feeling low you might feel that everything is hopeless and that you are worthless. In contrast, at other times you might feel extremely happy, have a high sense of self-importance, get very excited and have grand plans. Your sleep may also be disrupted. More Info

Body Dysmorphia

Being preoccupied and anxious about a perceived physical flaw on your body. You think that a part of you body is defected, ugly or inadequate, such as your skin, nose, size, hair, face or any part of your body or your whole body. You may feel that other people are repulsed by that part of your body and will reject or ridicule you because of it. More Info

Bulimia Nervosa

You may binge and eat excessively over a short period of time but then may feel disgusted or anxious about what you have done and the inevitable weight gain. You then engage in a period of either making yourself vomit, using laxatives or excessive exercise to try and reverse the effects of your eating. You might be secretive about this and feel ashamed of these actions. More Info

Compulsive Skin Picking

You picking at your skin to remove imperfections or bumps, most likely your face, but also other part of your body. You may sometimes do this for many hours a day. This may feel satisfying initially, but then you may feel unhappy, distressed or ashamed about the damage you have done to your skin and how it looks. You may have tried to stop picking but cannot. More Info

Depression

You often experience low mood and find it hard to gain any pleasure out of the activities you used to enjoy. You feel hopeless and like there is no point in trying to do things and so avoid doing them. You may often cry or just feel cold and numb as well as experience insomnia or excessive sleeping. Anxiety and feelings of inadequacy or unlovableness will likely also be present. You could be having thoughts about self-harm or suicide. More Info

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse can include domination, punishment, or control of a partner. Abusers use physical and sexual violence, threats, money, emotional tactics and psychological abuse to keep power over their partners. You may feel trapped in a relationship and unable to leave. More Info

Generalised Anxiety and Worry

You tend to worry excessively about day to day things and find it hard to control your worry. This may leave you feeling anxious and panicky. You may feel very concerned for people's health or safety or worry about things like cleaning, housework or your job. You may find it hard to concentrate and remember things. More Info

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

You may feel the need to keep on repeating certain behaviours such as hand washing, counting, checking or hoarding and feel very scared, anxious and out of control if you do not perform them. You may experience what seems to be uncontrollable disturbing thoughts about harming others. You could be preoccupied with contamination, order or symmetry. More Info

Overeating and Binge Eating

You have a compulsion to eat and find it hard to control your eating. You may gain pleasure or relief from eating excessive amounts but then feel disgusted by the effects it has on your body. You may have low mood, feel very depressed, or lonely. You may comfort eat to deal with these feelings leading to a vicious cycle. You could feel worthless and very self-conscious about your body. More Info

Panic Attacks

You experience a sudden wave of anxiety that feels overwhelming. You may believe that you are having a heart attack or that something is seriously wrong with you medically. You may go very pale or experience strong palpitations, a racing heart, dizziness, shortness of breath, faintness or sweating. More Info

Paruresis (Shy Bladder Syndrome)

You find it physically impossible to go to the toilet or experience a long delay before going if other people are near by, even if you really need to go. There maybe someone using the next cubicle, urinal or just someone washing their hands. You may find that this restricts your activities as you find it hard or impossible to use public toilets. More Info

Personality Disorders

Someone may be described as having a 'personality disorder' if their personal characteristics cause regular and long term problems in the way they cope with life, interact with other people and in the way in which they can respond emotionally. Personality disorders take many forms, all having particular characteristics, sometimes including psychosis. More Info

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This occurred days, weeks or months after some negative event that was outside the range to normal everyday experience such as an attack or accident. You may be having recurrent intrusive recollections or dreams about the event and may feel and behave as if the event was happening again. You could feel a sense of being vulnerable and out of control. More Info

Schizophrenia

You may be hearing voices or other hallucinations. These may be unpleasant, distracting and leave you feeling very scared. You may also feel a blunted lack of emotion and motivation. More Info

Self-harm and Suicide

You engage in cutting, burning, scratching, punching or bashing yourself and may feel some kind of relief from doing so. You may be hurting a lot emotionally, feel very frustrated, hate yourself, find it hard to reach out and connect with others or all these. You may have tried taking an overdose of medicines or pills. You may feel hopeless and want to end your life and have made plans to do so. Self-harm Info / Suicide Info (Please call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 if you feel the need to end your life or harm yourself. It may feel like there is no hope of relief, but there are people who care and can help. Reach out and ask for help.

Specific Phobias

You experience intense anxiety and panic about some specific situation such as flying, using elevators, spiders, needles, snakes, dentists or any other situation. This may cause you distress at the time and limit your activities. More Info

Trichotillomania (Hair Pulling)

You have a repeated urge pull out your hair, particularly when you are more stressed, and feel unable to stop this habit. The resulting bald patches leave you feeling ashamed and embarrassed about what you do to yourself. More Info

Chestnuts

Directories of services and organisations

These websites offer more comprehensive listings of non-profit organisations and websites. If you cannot find what you are looking for on this page then please try the following.

Bristol City Council Database

Bristol City Council provide access to a large database of support groups, social groups and other voluntary organisations in the Bristol area. Visit Database

Bristol Mind Listings

Bristol Mind also provides a large collection of contact details for potentially useful mental health related organisations in Bristol. Visit Listings

Voscur Directory

Voscur is the council for voluntary services in Bristol and provides a list of voluntary and community organisations. Visit Directory

Shaping Our Lives Network

The Shaping Our Lives Network brings together a variety of voluntary and service user focused organisations in the UK. Visit Directory

Notes

It cannot be guaranteed that the details provided for organisations are up-to-date and correct. Please contact an organisation directly for more information about their services. If you believe that any of these details are incorrect then please send the correct details via email so amendments can be made.

We do not offer link exchanges or links to commercial sites unless they are particularly relevant to social anxiety, useful to our members and we believe they offer exceptional value for money.

SA West is not responsible for the content of third party web sites.