Our history

Self Help was established in 1995 by Nicky Lidbetter and Glenmore Nunes who developed a drop-in support group for those living with anxiety disorders as a direct result of there being little support at the time in the city of Manchester.

The group (which ran under the Big Life group) was an overnight success and it soon became apparent that there was a need for further groups covering different mental health conditions such as depression.

Throughout the late 90s, Self Help delivered a wide range of drop-in support groups and subsequently developed a reputation for responding to community-based needs through the delivery of high quality services.

With the introduction of the government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative (IAPT), the charity was approached by a number of NHS commissioning bodies to deliver a range of primary care mental health services including managing and delivering full IAPT tier 2 and 3 services alongside delivering its well-established eTherapy services.

More recently, the organisation’s long history of responding to unmet need and developing services where there are gaps in mental health provision is best illustrated by the development of community and peer-centred crisis provision through The Sanctuary and associated crisis service provision which have received national recognition.

Self Help believe that those who have personal experience of living with a mental health difficulty are well placed, when provided with access to relevant training and support, to deliver services that help others and in doing so, ‘helping people to help themselves’.

Many Self Help staff have previously accessed services delivered by the charity, resulting in a culture of ‘growing our own’ – i.e. supporting people to gain employment and volunteering experience.

Self Help sits within the Big Life group, is a registered charity (no. 1122063) and a company limited by guarantee (no. 6036050).


Self Help’s Leadership team includes:

Nicky Lidbetter, Director of Mental Health.

Caroline Price, Executive Director.

Jenny Hotchkiss, Head of Operations.


Self Help is overseen by the Big Life group board and also has an external advisory group that meets on a quarterly basis. We are also developing a service user panel.

Self Help currently delivers a range of services including:

Find out more about what we do

Struggling to cope?

Don’t struggle alone overnight. If you’re experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts or are in crisis, call us from 8pm - 6am.

If you are in crisis overnight from 8pm - 6am, call us on: 0300 003 7029