Understanding Mental Health

In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.

Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. But if you go through a period of poor mental health you might find the ways you’re frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible to cope with. This can feel just as bad as a physical illness or even worse.

Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“I now know that if I felt there was something wrong, it’s because there was, but I didn’t understand mental health fully… it’s a spectrum and you should feel able to decide where and when you [are] on that spectrum”

Am I the only one who feels this way?

Experiencing a mental health problem is often upsetting, confusing and frightening – particularly at first. If you become unwell, you may feel that it’s a sign of weakness or that you are ‘losing your mind’.

These fears are often reinforced by the negative (and often unrealistic) way that people experiencing mental health problems are shown on TV, in films and by the media. This may stop you from talking about your problems or seeking help. This in turn, is likely to increase your distress and sense of isolation.

However, in reality, mental health problems are a common human experience.

Most people know someone who has experienced a mental health problem, it can happen to all kinds of people from all walks of life and it’s likely, that when you find a combination of self-care, treatment and support that works for you, you will get better.

Where can I read more about mental health?

Mind is a registered charity in England, providing advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.

Their ‘Understanding Mental Health Problems’ leaflet, explains what mental health problems are, what may cause them and the many different kinds of help, treatment and support that is available and it also, provides guidance on where to find more information and tips for friends and family.