What is mental health?
‘Hi, how are you
‘I’m good thanks, glad
it’s the weekend. You?’
‘Bit fed up actually;
it just feels like
everything I do goes
This conversation is about mental health. Mental health is about the way you think and feel and you ability to deal with ups and downs.
Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem. If you have
good mental health, you can:
• Make the most of your potential
• Cope with life
• Play a full part in your family, workplace, community, and among friends
Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’. Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have
times when we feel down, stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a more serious problem, and this could happen to any one of us.
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 in your life. Unfortunately, stigma can be attached to mental health problems.This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling.
Talk about your feelings
Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you
feel troubled. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and
doing what you can to stay healthy.
Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel
better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.
What we eat may affect how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect.
But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.
Keep in touch
Strong family ties and supportive friends can help you deal with the stresses of life.
Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and can help you solve practical problems.
Ask for help
None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear. Local services are there to help you.
Take a break
A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes
can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.
Taking a break may mean being very active. It may mean not doing very much at all. Take a deep breath… and relax. Try yoga or meditation, or just putting your feet up.
The Mental Health Foundation is a UK charity
that relies on public donations and grant
funding to deliver and campaign for good
mental health for all. Follow them today via Instagram
Main image credit – Matthew Ball, Unsplash