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What is Mental Health?


We all have a mental health – whether it is good, bad or in the middle. Put simply, your mental health is the way you feel on any particular day.

Our mental health and wellbeing can also be known as our "emotional wellbeing". Generally, we all have days where we feel good and days when we don’t. However, a person with a mental health or emotional wellbeing problem will have more bad days than good.

Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. They range from common mental health problems (such as depression and anxiety) to more rare problems (such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder).

Depending on which mental health condition they have, people may feel tired, sad, helpless, angry or agitated all the time. They might make irrational decisions such as spending too much money, having inappropriate relationships, or they might feel like life just isn’t worth living.

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Getting help with your mental health

Experiencing a mental health problem can be upsetting and very frightening, especially at first. In some cases, these fears can mean that people do not seek help for many years. But it's better to talk to someone about how your feeling and ask for help when you need it.

There are many different mental health problems, and some symptoms are common to more than one diagnosis. So you may experience the symptoms of more than one mental health problem at once.

Some of the main mental health problems include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias
  • Eating problems/disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Psychosis 

Common myths about mental health

Mental illness is rare and only affects a few people.


Mental illness is common. 450 million people world-wide have a mental health problem, and depression affects around 1 in 12 of the whole population.

1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives, and around 1 in 10 children experience mental health problems.

People with a mental illness never get better.


With the right kind of help, the majority of people will recover from a mental health issue and lead healthy, productive and satisfying lives.

Sometimes a mental health issue will reoccur throughout a person’s lifetime but, with ongoing support and help, people can learn how to best deal with these reoccurrences.

People will a mental illness are violent and dangerous.


People with a mental illness are no more violent or dangerous than the rest of the population. In fact, people with a mental illness are more likely to harm themselves – or to be harmed by someone else – than they are to hurt other people.

However, many people are still scared to talk about how they’re feeling, or to seek help, because of the fear and stigma of being seen as dangerous.

People with a mental illness should just pull themselves out of it.


A mental health illness is not caused by personal weakness and is not cured by personal strength or willpower alone.

However, there are lots of things that can help improve your mental health and wellbeing – such as; eating a good diet, getting enough sleep, regular exercise, learning relaxation techniques and managing stress.