What is mental health
We all have mental health. It affects how we think, feel and behave, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Our mental health can change over time. Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’. In the same way that sometimes we get physically sick with a cold, flu or heart disease, sometimes we get mentally ill too.
What are mental health problems
Mental health problems are when we experience changes or problems with our mental health. Changes in mental health are very common, for example the stresses and strains of life. But if these changes don’t go away and start to affect our everyday life, this can lead to problems with our mental health and can lead to mental illness.
Over the course of your life, if you have mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including: Biological factors such as genes, Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse and family history of mental health problems.
What is mental illness
The term mental illness is used to describe diagnosable mental health problems. This is when you experience problems with your mental health that interfere with your life and meet criteria set out by health professionals. Getting a diagnosis for a mental health problem can be helpful, as this can enable you to access the right treatment.
Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
How common are mental health problems
Anyone can experience problems with their mental health from mild stress to diagnosable mental health problems.
From the IAmWhole study completed in 2017, it was found:
- You can read through the full report on the IAmWhole website.
What is stigma and discrimination regarding mental health
People don’t always talk about mental health problems. Some people find them difficult to understand and are sometimes fearful of them which leads to ignorance, prejudice and stigma. It can be hard to talk about your mental health and go to seek help but it is becoming okay to be open about your mental health. Mental health difficulties can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender or ethnic background. It is not your fault and there is always hope for recovery. For more information, visit the Time For Change website.
Useful links and documents
See the following websites for more information:
- Time to Change Parent leaflet
- Time to Change Children and young people’s leaflet
- ‘What is mental health?’ by the Mental Health Foundation
- Information from MIND
- The Office for National Statistics Mental health in children and young people in Great Britain, 2005
- Lifetime Impacts: Childhood and Adolescent Mental Health