What is mental health?
The World Health Organization says:
"Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community."
It goes on to say that good mental health is when:
- You care about yourself and you care for yourself
- You love yourself, not hate yourself
- You look after your physical health – eat well, sleep well, exercise and enjoy yourself.
Some people call mental health 'emotional health' or 'well-being' and it is just as important as good physical health.
Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. 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.
Everyone is different, you may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time.
Your mental health doesn't always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life.
Your mental health can also change due to:
- A housing concern
- Employment matters
- Benefits issues
- Family breakdown
- Immigration problems
- Physical ill health
- Drugs and alcohol misuse
- Other external factors.
In all cases, one of your first stops should be your GP. They will be familiar with your medical history and will be able to direct you to any appropriate treatment if required which may include referring you to a specialist Mental Health Service.