Mental Health & Mental Health Problems

What is mental health?

Sometimes known as ‘emotional health’ or ‘well-being’, we all have mental health and it’s just as important as our physical health.

We all have times when we feel sad, anxious, angry or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us. So, mental health is everyone’s business!

It is important for us to recognise that everyone is different. You may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time.

Our mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life.

In the past there’s been a stigma attached to mental health problems. This can mean that some people may feel uncomfortable and not want to talk about the way they are feeling, but it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling.

What are mental health problems?

Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions.

Key definitions

Anger - Anger is one our most powerful and vital emotions, however, anger can become problematic when it persists and begins to cause significant impact on our thinking, feeling, behaviour and relationships. The important fact to remember is that: A person can learn to understand their anger and learn techniques that can limit the chances of it coming out in a way that is damaging.

Eating Disorders – Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge eating - Eating disorders are mental health problems where someone experiences issues with their body weight and shape, and engages in behaviour which will disturb their everyday diet and attitude towards food, for example controlling the amount of food they eat. Anyone can be affected by an eating disorder. The important fact to remember is that: Eating disorders can be beaten and it is possible that anyone living with an eating disorder can fully recover.

Anxiety - Anxiety is a type of fear usually associated with the thought of a threat or something going wrong right now, or in the future. Anxiety is a natural survival response where our body and mind speed up to prepare us to respond to an emergency. Life is full of potential stressful events and it is normal to feel anxious about everyday things, some people however experience prolonged or high level episodes of anxiety on a frequent basis. The important fact to remember is that: People experiencing anxiety in everyday life can find personal resources and strategies to cope.

Bipolar disorder - Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterised by swings in a person’s mood from high to low – euphoric to depressed. The important fact to remember is: There are several approaches available for the treatment of bipolar disorder.

Depression - Depression causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Depression can happen to anyone of any age. Many successful and famous people who seem to have everything going for them battle with this problem. Living with depression is difficult for those who suffer from it and for their family, friends, and colleague. The important thing to remember is: The length of time that it usually takes to recover from depression ranges from around six months to a year or more. Half of the people who have depression will only experience it once.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – OCD is a form of anxiety disorder involving distressing, repetitive thoughts. Obsessions are distressing or frightening repetitive thoughts which come into your mind automatically, however irrational they may seem and however much you try to resist or ignore them. Compulsions are actions which people feel they must repeat to feel less anxious or stop their obsessive thoughts. The important fact to remember is: There are a number of successful treatments and strategies to help people deal with OCD.

For a full A to Z index of Mental Health conditions visit:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z

The important fact to remember is that: The majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on.

What is good mental health?

Good mental health is not just the absence of diagnosable mental health problems, although good mental health is likely to help protect against development of many such problems.

Good mental health is characterised by a person’s ability to fulfil a number of key functions and activities, including:

  • the ability to learn
  • the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions
  • the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others
  • the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty.