October 09, 2020 05:25 PM

World Mental Health Day - Young People Thrive

The 10th of October is annual World Mental Health Day. This year's theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is 'Mental health for all'.


What is Mental Health?

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions. It also determines how we cope with stress in life, how we relate to other people, and how we make decisions and choices. Mental health plays a key role at every stage of our lives – from early childhood and teenage years through adulthood.


What is ‘good’ Mental Health?

Good mental health is not simply an ‘absence’ of mental health problems. Good mental health refers to one’s resilience to life stressors together with an ability to carry out important functions and activities, such as:

  • learning
  • feeling, expressing, and managing both positive and negative emotions
  • forming and maintaining close relationships with others
  • coping and managing uncertainty in life and changes


What is ‘poor’ Mental Health?

Poor mental health – or mental health issues – presents itself in a range of problems, from worrying which we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. Most of the mental health difficulties can be resolved or managed and learned to live with but getting help early on is key.


How common are Mental Health difficulties?

Around 1 in 10 people experience a common mental health problem, such as anxiety or depression, at any given time. More severe mental illness, such as psychosis, are less common and affect around 1 in 100. Mental health issues are experienced by all ages, genders, sexualities, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic groups.

Signs of Mental Health difficulties:

No two people will think, behave, or feel in exactly the same way when experiencing a mental health problem. However, common symptoms of poor mental health include:

  • persistent feelings of sadness or low mood; extreme mood swings
  • confused thinking or difficulty concentrating
  • excessive and uncontrollable worrying, anxiety, or feelings of guilt
  • withdrawal from routine and social activities
  • persistent fatigue or tiredness
  • changes in appetite, sleep or sexual drive
  • feelings of ‘detachment’ from the surroundings, paranoia, or hallucinations
  • an inability to cope with stressors in life
  • drug and alcohol use problems
  • suicidal thoughts


Where to seek help with Mental Health difficulties?

If you recognise signs of poor mental health in yourself or someone you know, it is important to discuss them with your primary care provider or a mental health professional. Many mental health issues can be resolved or improve with the right help, but many can also get worse over time and cause serious problems if left unattended.

Speak to your GP or search for free local psychological services such as Improving Access to Psychological Services (IAPT) that can be found within your borough.

What to do with the suicidal thoughts?

For a safe and confidential space to share difficult thoughts about not wanting to live, there are several free helplines:

  • Samaritans – for everyone
    Call 116 123
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – for men
    Call 0800 58 58 58 – 5pm to midnight every day
  • Papyrus – for people under 35
    Call 0800 068 41 41 – Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends and bank holidays 2pm to 10pm
    Text 07860 039967
  • Childline – for children and young people under 19
    Call 0800 1111 – the number will not show up on your phone bill


If your or someone else’s life is in immediate danger from suicide call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. Or ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.

News date: 
Friday, 9 October, 2020
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