1. What is mental health?

Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of mental illness. It is the “psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment”. From the perspective of positive psychology or holism, mental health may include an individuals ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

2. Different types of mental health problems

There are many different types of mental health problems that people can experience. Some of the common types of mental and emotional health problems people can face as Stress and anxiety, Depression, Psychosis, Self harm and Eating disorders.

3. Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

– Eating or sleeping too much or too little

– Pulling away from people and usual activities

– Having low or no energy

– Feeling numb or like nothing matters

– Having unexplained aches and pains

– Feeling helpless or hopeless

– Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual

– Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared

– Yelling or fighting with family and friends

– Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships

– Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head

– Hearing voices or believing things that are not true

– Thinking of harming yourself or others

– Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Positive mental health allows people to: Realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life, work productively, make meaningful contributions to their communities.

There are many things that you can do to look after your own mental health and emotional wellbeing.

The following tips and suggestions will be helpful to you if you are experiencing mental health problems yourself or if you are supporting a family member or friend with mental health problems.

4. Ways to maintain positive mental health include:

Connecting with others

Talking to someone you trust – who could be a family member, a friend – can help you ‘share the load’. Another way is to share your feelings: Letting people know how you feel, including what you might be worried about, is often really helpful in reducing the feeling that ‘you are on your own’.

Being listened to and sharing your dilemmas can help you to come up with new ideas for solving a problem or difficulty that you are facing. It can also boost confidence, self-esteem and make you feel more in control of the situation.

Exercise and activities

Exercise can have many benefits. Some people find that exercise helps them to concentrate and sleep better. There are lots of different types of exercise and you can pick the ones that you enjoy. 

Staying positive 

Doing the things you enjoy like watching TV, going to the cinema or listening to music, can help you to relax and to think through the things that may be bothering you … so if these activities appeal to you, then planning some regular times for them is very important.

Its very easy to become isolated if you are feeling unwell, so that continuing to take part in your favourite hobbies or joining a local group can help you to not become isolated – or can be a way of finding new friends and building up a social life.

Getting physically active

Creative activities like painting, photography, acting and dancing can be good ways of expressing feelings. They can also perhaps channel energy in a positive way – and of course, they can help people to meet others with similar interests. As well as being good for your physical wellbeing, taking part in some exercise or physical activity can be another way of meeting new people and making friends.

Getting enough sleep

It’s especially important to look after yourself if you are feeling stressed or anxious. All too often, it’s easy to forget the basics like eating properly or getting enough sleep.

Developing coping skills

It’s also important to find ways to cope that work for you. Everyone is different, and situations can change over time, so it’s often a matter of trying different things out.

Getting professional help

Knowing when and where to get help and support. It can be reassuring to know what’s available in your local area if you begin to feel that you need some extra help or support.
If the difficult feelings or emotions that you are experiencing – or those of someone you might be supporting – get to the point that they are having a big impact on your everyday life, or they are affecting you for longer than a few days, then you should consider talking to someone. This could be your GP, or if you are already in contact with mental health services, the professional working with your or your family.