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.


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

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In light of the current situation, we are making changes to the way we deliver services at the moment. However, please note that all our Psychological Wellbeing services are still open and accepting referrals. One-to-one appointments that would normally be delivered face-to-face will now take place over the phone or through video call. There is no need to call us to confirm – your regular point of contact will call you at the time your appointment was scheduled.

As we are no longer able to hold groups inside, we are running online anxiety and depression groups on Zoom. Further information and bookings can be accessed at: https://www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/onlinegroups

We have also created an online Peer Support group on Facebook, which can be accessed at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/selfhelppeersupport.

If you’re worried, think you may have symptoms of Coronavirus or want further information, see the latest advice from Public Health England.

Finally, if you’re struggling through self-isolation, please don’t feel alone. There are local community groups being created all over the country, which you can find here. Alternatively, you can call our community centres in your local area, which you can find here.


Contact us

Due to changes in our working practice, in response to the coronavirus, we encourage you to contact us via email and refer yourself online where possible.

If you have sent post to us, please contact the relevant service to ensure that we have received it:

Manchester – Any queries about your referral or bookings please email us on: pws.manchester@selfhelpservices.org.uk or if you wish to make a referral please go to our website at: www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/Manchester

Stockport – Any queries about your referral or bookings please email us on: stockportpws@selfhelpservices.org.uk or if you wish to make a referral please go to our website at: www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/Stockport

Cheshire – Any queries about your referral or bookings please email us on: talking.therapies.ec@thebiglifegroup.com or if you wish to make a referral please go to our website at: https://www.mytalkingtherapies.com/

Rochdale, Heywood and Middleton – Any queries about your referral or bookings please email us on: thinkingahead@thebiglifegroup.com or if you wish to make a referral please go to our website at: https://www.thebiglifegroup.com/thinkingahead

Tameside and Glossop – Any queries about your referral or bookings please call us on 0161 343 5748 or visit out website to find out more: https://www.thebiglifegroup.com/mindsmatter/

eTherapy Salford and Trafford – Any queries about your referral or bookings please email us on: etherapy.admin@selfhelpservices.org.uk or if you wish to make a referral please go to our website at: www.selfhelpservices.org.uk/etherapy