About Mental Health

Mental illness affects many people from every walk of life. At any one time as many as one in four people may experience mental health problems.

Mental illness affects everyone in different ways but there are some common symptoms.

About mental health and emotional wellbeing

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health and our mental health, like our physical health doesn’t always stay the same.  We all experience times when we feel low or stressed, frightened or anxious. Most of the time these feelings pass. However, sometimes they develop into a more serious problem.

Good mental health enables us to build healthy relationships at home or work, where ever we need to feel accepted, included and safe. Contact with other people is important. Social contact keeps us connected to each other and prevents social isolation. With good mental health we are able to cope with life, bouncing back from the difficulties and problems that come our way. We call this emotional resilience. Our attitudes and beliefs, our social connections and the ways we learn to cope with life’s stresses builds emotional resilience and enables us to maintain our emotional wellbeing.

About mental illness

Mental illness affects many people from every walk of life. At any one time as many as one in four people may experience mental health problems. Mental illness affects everyone in different ways but there are some common symptoms.

Behaviour

People may behave in a particularly unusual or confusing way. Someone experiencing heightened anxiety may find it difficult to leave the house or get on a bus for fear of a panic attack. Someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may continually wash their hands. Someone with Depression may be unable to get out of bed. These behaviours may lead to disruption with every day activities and get in the way of daily life.

Thinking

Peoples’ thinking may be confused. Thoughts may speed up or slow down. People may appear disorganised, find it difficult to concentrate, they may even appear irrational. Unusual thinking can interfere with people’s ability to hold a conversation, to manage at work or carry out necessary tasks such as paying bills or going shopping. Sadly, unusual and disorientated thinking may also lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

Mood

Whilst our mood varies throughout the day, with mental illness mood swings may be more severe. Peoples’ moods may fluctuate rapidly from extreme excitement to overwhelming distress. These severe mood swings may impact on our relationships with others, the way we communicate and the way we interact with the people around us.

Perception

Mental illness may affect the way people interpret the world through their senses, (vision, smell, touch, taste and hearing). They may hear voices or see unusual things. Hearing voices may be very distracting making it difficult for people to concentrate at work or at school. People may find it difficult to hold conversations whilst they are experiencing auditory hallucinations. Likewise visual hallucinations, can cause distress and fear such as seeing objects distorted or moving in ways they usually wouldn’t.

Social withdrawal

Many people find that the above symptoms disturb their daily routines and interactions with others so significantly that they withdraw from social contact, spending more and more time on their own. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and increased anxiety and negative self-esteem. Relationships struggle as people stop seeing or communicating with friends and loved ones. Family life suffers as people struggle to understand the behaviour of their family member.  As people withdraw more and more they stop going to work or school, cease communicating with friends and family and stop looking after themselves through poor self-care and poor eating.  This takes a toll on peoples’ physical health with depression linked to a 67% increase of risk of death from heart disease (Mental Health Foundation). Eventually people forget how to interact with others, losing the social skills and ability to communicate that many of us take for granted.