What do we mean when we say Mental Health and/or Mental Illness?

We often talk about mental health and mental illness, but what do we mean by Mental Health and Emotional Health & Wellbeing and what can you do to look after your own mental health?

Mental Health

The question is often asked about what is meant when we talk about Mental Health. Many people immediately start thinking about mental health problems or mental illness or worried about being thought of as ‘mad’.

Everyone has ‘Mental Health’ and this can be thought of in terms of:

  • how we feel about ourselves and the people around us
  • our ability to make and keep friends and relationships
  • our ability to learn from others and to develop psychologically and emotionally.
  • Being mentally healthy is really important and also about having the strength to overcome the difficulties and challenges we can all face at different times, to have confidence and self-esteem, to be able to take decisions and to believe in ourselves.

We all have mental health, so it’s important to understand when you may need to get some help or support with how you are feeling, or to know when you may be experiencing a more serious problem.

It is quite normal to feel worried, anxious or upset when things don’t go as you hope or planned. Everyone faces pressure in their lives at certain times and these can include:

  • exams stress
  • deadlines
  • work and getting a job
  • growing up and becoming more independent from your family
  • making up (and breaking up) with friends
  • home life

Knowing when to get help, advise and support

What to look out for

If someone is experiencing worries, anxieties and difficult feelings to the extent that they are seriously interfering with their everyday life, for example:

  • being able to focus on your studies and come to school
  • being able to eat or sleep as you would normally do
  • to go out with your friends or take part in activities

If these feelings are becoming persistent, that is lasting for a few weeks or more, then it maybe that you need to get some advice, help and support.

Mental Health issues affect many more young people than you probably realise. It is understood around 1 in 10 of all young people may experience a mental health issues where they may need help from a mental health specialist such as CAMHS (Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service). It's important to get help early. Mental health conditions can be treated and getting help early can prevent difficulties from getting more serious