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A Definitive Guide to Mental Health

A Definitive Guide to Mental Health

Mental health has always carried a stigma, but why? 1 in 4 people are likely to experience a mental health issue during their lives, and worldwide over 450 million people are currently classified as having a mental health problem. It’s time we stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and start caring for our health.

What makes a ‘healthy’ mind?

  • You have the capability to learn
  • You are able to reach your potential
  • You are able to express and control a range of positive and negative emotions
  • You are able to cope and manage during change or uncertainty
  • You are able to form and maintain healthy relationships
  • You regularly participate in a range of social activities

Who is at most risk?

Anyone can develop a mental health problem at any time in their lives. Your situation changes as you reach different stages in your life; therefore your mental state may change too.

What types are there?

Mental health exists on spectrum and although there are common symptoms, no 2 people experience a mental illness in the same way. There are 2 main categories: neurotic and psychotic.

Neurotic disorders are extreme versions of normal emotions, for example: panic attacks (extreme fear), anxiety (extreme worry), and depression (extreme sadness). Neurotic disorders are the most common with around 1 in 10 people experiencing depression or anxiety.

Psychotic disorders are less common with roughly 1 in 100 people suffering bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia. A psychotic disorder alters a person’s perception of reality, often resulting in hallucinations, delusions and hearing voices.

How do I maintain my mental health?

Sometimes the development of mental disorder is uncontrollable and unexpected, but the best ways to keep your mind healthy are:

  • Be active: exercise will make you feel far more motivated to have a happy and productive day.
  • Eat well: the right nutrition can make all the difference. Foods high in vitamins B, C and D and rich in omega-3 are a good choices e.g. fruit/vegetables, oily fish, eggs, milk, nuts, fortified cereals etc.
  • Drink sensibly: excess alcohol can actually increase stress (it’s a depressant), interfere with your sleep pattern and leave you feeling irritable and lethargic.
  • Be social: stay in contact with friends and family, it’s important to have a support network.
  • Discuss your feelings: don’t be scared, family and friends will not judge you, nor will a professional, they want the best for you.
  • Care for others: helping others can provide a sense of pride and worth in your life.
  • Take a break: sometimes life’s stresses can be too much, now and then take some time out to relax.
  • Do something your good at: no-one likes feeling inadequate so do an activity that you genuinely enjoy and succeed at.
  • Accept yourself: we have all have our insecurities, but at some point you have to let go and accept who you are.
  • Ask for help: an easily fixable problem could spiral out of control if you don’t.

Mental health issues should not be taboo, they are just as important as your physical health and everyone on planet has the possibility of developing one, in fact at some stage in their life they probably will. So be brave and speak up (a problem cannot be fixed if no-one knows about it).