Read the latest magazine... Download

Understanding Mental Health

Mental health charity MIND’s ‘Time To Talk Day' on 1 February is all about opening up conversations around mental health. With this in mind, Adele Trathan explores understanding and recognising mental health issues and ways to access help

While mental health extends to the furthest reaches of our comprehension, understanding causes and signs to look out for, whilst knowing where to turn to for help, could be the difference between make and break for those around us and, perhaps, even ourselves.

 

POTENTIAL CAUSES

Life events

The death of a loved one, losing a job or relationship breakdowns can trigger mental health problems. Even positive changes, such as getting married or having a baby, can lead to stress or anxiety.

Work and finances

Work-related pressures, the stress of unemployment, and facing financial challenges can have a deep and often underestimated influence on an individual's mental wellbeing, affecting daily life and overall happiness.

Relationships

Navigating strained relationships, whether with family members, friends or intimate partners, can be emotionally taxing. Such tensions can foster feelings of isolation, loneliness and a debilitating sense of worthlessness.

Genetics and family history

At times, individuals may have a heightened vulnerability to specific mental health challenges stemming from an inherent genetic composition, or perhaps a prevalent history of similar issues within family lineage.

Physical health problems

Living with chronic disease or confronting a grave illness can be overwhelmingly stressful, often acting as a catalyst for mental health challenges like depression or anxiety, affecting one's overall quality of life.

 

POSSIBLE SIGNS

Mood swings

Experiencing dramatic mood fluctuations, or enduring extended periods dominated by intense emotions such as profound sadness, heightened anger or overwhelming elation, can signal underlying mental health concerns.

Withdrawal

Deliberately distancing oneself from friends, family and previously enjoyed social engagements, opting for isolation instead of participation, may indicate a shift in emotional wellbeing or the emergence of mental health challenges.

Sleep problems

Battling persistent insomnia, where sleep remains elusive – or conversely, experiencing periods of excessive sleep, beyond usual patterns – can be indicative of underlying stressors or potential mental health imbalances. Similarly, feeling overwhelmed by fatigue, moving through days with a sluggish demeanour or constantly sensing a drain in energy, can signify underlying emotional or mental health challenges.

Appetite changes

Experiencing notable weight fluctuations, either gaining or shedding pounds rapidly, coupled with altered eating patterns, can be symptomatic of stress, emotional turmoil, or potential mental health concerns.

Unexplained aches

Continuous physical manifestations, such as recurrent headaches or consistent stomach discomfort, can sometimes be more than mere ailments, potentially signalling stress-induced responses or related mental health issues.

Feelings of hopelessness

Enduring a relentless stream of negative thoughts, which can escalate to contemplating self-harm or suicide, is a serious indication of mental health distress requiring immediate attention and support.

 

ACCESS TO HELP

Talk to someone

While your GP should be your first port of call, it can often help to voice your emotions and feelings to a trusted friend or family member which can offer significant relief and provide a sense of understanding.

Remember, it's always okay to ask for help.

Professional counselling

Seeking guidance from a trained therapist or counsellor can offer a structured and supportive environment to address and manage mental health challenges.

Helplines

Organisations such as MIND, and countless others, offer avenues where individuals can talk anonymously about their feelings.

Communities

Finally, there are various online forums and communities where people share their experiences and provide support to one another. And for those who prefer to discuss issues face-to-face, various community groups exist to provide a welcoming space, promote shared experiences, and work to foster connections where individuals can feel a strong sense of belonging and mutual understanding.

www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/mental-health-services

Mental health crisis helplines can be found at:

www.mind.org.uk

 

More from Features

  • Home Style: Romantic Vision

    Tim and Jenny Backshall rescued a derelict timber-framed hall house, respecting its history while future proofing for generations to come

  • Be Well, Move Happy: Connections & Sports

    In the second month of this new health column, Sara Whatley looks at the health benefits of connecting with others and joining a sports club

  • Building Dreams at Bridgers Business Barns

    Space may have been the final frontier for Captain Kirk, but for Anthony and Chris Harris it’s something they’ve created for others to utilise, to fulfill their dreams; and with that in mind they built Bridgers Business Barns as Robert Veitch recently discovered

  • Occupation: Weird and Wonderful

    Kevin Newman is a Sussex-born author, historian, tour guide and history teacher. He has written extensively about Sussex history and here, he shares with us an insight into how some local folk made their living in days gone by

  • Money Matters: Food for Thought

    How does your household expenditure on groceries compare to the average UK household? Adele Trathan explores what we spend on food shopping and ways to help the weekly budgeting

  • Win A Two-Night Suite Stay At Buxted Park Hotel

    Subscribe to Sussex Living's free digital edition and we'll enter you into our draw to win a beautiful two-night stay for two in a luxury suite with dinner and breakfast, at the stunning Buxted Park Hotel near Ashdown Forest!

  • Stunning Sussex: A County Blessed With Beaches And Greenery

    Sussex has always been a popular county and continues to attract a growing number of professionals, young families and retirees keen to take advantage of its healthy balance of beach and countryside living...

  • Most Popular Mocktails To Try This Dry January

    Fancy giving dry January a go? Then we have the perfect selection of mocktails for you to make this year. And some are easier than you think!

  • These are things you'll want to know about skincare in 2024

    Less is more. Don’t get conned. It’s a scam. These are the sorts of phrases you will hear Consultant Dermatologist Dr Natalia Spierings saying about the skincare industry. She candidly speaks to Sara Whatley about ageing, menopause, Botox, and ‘Big Skincare’

  • Step to it! Embrace fitness and health in 2024

    Step boldly into 2024 embracing all aspects of fitness and health from the online to the in person. Sara Whatley discusses what’s trending this year...

  • Is moderation the answer? Sara Whatley discusses the merits of a non alcoholic Christmas

    Whether you are enjoying an alcoholic beverage or a temperance drink this Christmas, the key to drinking well is moderation, suggests Sara Whatley

  • Five Ways To Modernise Your Kitchen

    They say the way to most people’s hearts is through their stomachs. Therefore, the adage of the kitchen being ‘the heart of the home’ holds very true in this day and age, particularly as the winter chill encourages indoor hospitality...

  • Christmas Gems: Stocking Fillers That Are Extra Special

    Advertising Feature: With the Christmas lights officially switched on and twinkling decorations adorning high streets across Sussex, the countdown of shopping days remaining until the big day has well and truly begun...

  • What To Do If You Suffer An Accident On Holiday

    Holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation and enjoyment. However, accidents and illnesses can happen even when you are away. If you suffer an injury or become ill during your trip abroad, it is important to know how to handle the situation properly. Being prepared and understanding the steps to take after an incident can help travellers respond in the best way, when faced with an unexpected health emergency.

  • London Travel Report: A Tale of Two Exceptional Hotels

    Advertising Feature: As the winter chill begins to embrace us and the festive season beckons, Bill Murray and his wife have embarked on a delightful journey from the serene south coast to the bustling heart of London...

  • Autumn In Your Garden

    Autumn is a transitional month in the garden, as the vibrant colours of summer fade into the warm hues of autumn.

  • Autumn Fashion Tips for Women

    As the leaves change and the temperatures drop, Autumn brings a shift in fashion choices for women in the UK. It's a month that allows for creative and comfortable styling, blending the warmth of autumn with the anticipation of winter. Here are three fashion tips for women to stay stylish and cozy in Autumn:

  • It’s time for a new hobby

    Embracing a hobby is a wonderful idea for women in the UK, offering a plethora of benefits that enhance overall well-being and personal growth. Here are several reasons why it's a fantastic idea for women in the UK to engage in hobbies:

  • Tips & tricks to help you have a budget friendly Christmas

    This year the cost of living crisis, rising fuel bills and rampant inflation will make affording Christmas much harder than usual. Yet, you can still enjoy a magical Christmas on a budget, and we’ve put together some ideas to help you embrace the festive season with minimal cost.

  • How to take stunning family photographs

    Capturing cherished moments with your family is a beloved pastime, and with smartphones becoming increasingly advanced in terms of photography, you can easily take stunning family photos. Here are three valuable tips for taking better family photos with your smartphone, relevant to those living in the UK: