What is mental health?

Mental Health is a term that has been become used more and more over recent years. Whilst many people may have a vague understanding of it, there are not many who can claim to fully understand what is meant by mental health. 

Mental health encapsulates emotional, social and psychological well-being. It can have an effect on how we feel, think and of course act on a daily basis.  

Mental health is important during every stage of our lives; from early childhood right up to elderly life. It can impact on how we relate to other people, make choices about our lives and handle stress. Everyone has mental health. 

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What type of mental health issues are there?

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Mental health issues/illness covers a wide variety of different issues that all come with varying symptoms and treatments.  

These include:  

  • Depression 
  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Dementia 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Anxiety 

Who is at risk?  

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Mental health problems can affect you at any point in time and you may not have shown any signs of mental health issues before it. It is thought that as much as 1 in 4 people in the UK, will develop mental health issues in their lifetime, a rather surprising statistic for some.  

It is believed that women are more at risk of suffering from mental health issues than men, with many of these women developing issues such as post-natal depression after the birth of a baby.  

Are there any factors that increase your chances of suffering from mental health issues?

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The answer is yes, there are some factors to take into account that may make you more life to struggle with poor mental health. This include: 

  • Traumatic or abusive life experiences 
  • Family history of mental health problems 
  • Biological factors  

What are the warning signs of mental health issues? 

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Whilst it may feel that mental health problems can come out of the blue, there are often some early indicators that may show that the person is suffering from a problem. Whether it is in yourself or in a family member or friend, these are the early warning signs to look out:  

  • Eating too much or too little 
  • Sleeping more or issues such as insomnia 
  • Removal from usual activities and social situations 
  • Feeling low and lacking energy 
  • A numb feeling 
  • Unexplained aches and pains  
  • A feeling of hopelessness 
  • Substance abuse 
  • Confusion, fear, anger or worry 
  • Increased irritation and arguing 
  • Mood swings 
  • Hearing voices 
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others 

All of these things can be difficult to pick up on, especially if the person is hiding them from people closest to them. If you can, try your best to talk to the person and get them to share their feelings with you.  

Sometimes, simply acknowledging that they need help is the first step towards recovering from mental health problems.  

The important thing to remember with mental health issues is that it is important to get help as soon as you can. There are treatments available to help people through these difficult times and ensure that they continue to live out their daily lives as best they can.  

If you are worried about your mental health speak to a professional such as the GP, Health Visitor or District nurse, they will be able to help. 

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