Mental Health – What is it and do you have it?

Mental Health – What is it and do you have it?

Mental health is a subject that is rightly being discussed more and more, but it is still a subject surrounded by misconceptions. So, what is it? 

Mental health, is defined by the World Health Organisation as, 

“… a state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Mental health, like physical health, is something we all have and like physical health, sometimes it is better than others. We all function somewhere on a continuum and we all move along this at different times in our lives. 

The following diagram illustrates the four main components of the continuum. When we are healthy and well, we benefit from taking steps to stay there, such as getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating well. When we move along the continuum and find ourselves reacting, these strategies and other forms of adaptive self-care, along with social supports can help us to move back into balance. When someone begins to experience poor mental health, or becomes mentally unwell, they will need professional assistance from a Doctor or Therapist, alongside self-care and social supports. 

Needing support?

How do you know when you need extra support? 

What warning signs should you watch out for?

At different stages of the continuum, we will experience a range of cognitive, behavioural, physical and emotional symptoms. It is important to seek help if these symptoms last for more than a couple of weeks and are adversely impacting your ability to function. 

When we are healthy and coping, we will be able to think clearly, we will feel balanced and have stable energy levels. As we move into reacting, we may experience an inability to focus, become forgetful and feel overwhelmed, we will have less energy than normal and may experience low level anxiety or low mood. When we move into poor mental health our symptoms will escalate and we may find ourselves making mistakes at work, struggling to function, and experiencing changes in our normal patterns of mood. Our sleep will be impacted, we may have headaches, neck ache or back ache, digestive issues, or changes in appetite and despite our best efforts we won’t be able to snap out of it. At this point it is important to seek extra assistance from a qualified Doctor, or Therapist, if you have not already done so. The diagram below shows some of the common symptoms experienced at different points on the continuum. 

The good news!

The good news is that there is so much that can help when it comes to recovering from mental ill health.

If you are struggling reach out. Ask for help. It can make all the difference. 

We have listed some great support networks for the UK below. If you would like information, about support in other countries, or further information on any aspect of mental health and wellbeing, please contact us at We are here to help.

General Mental Health Websites and Information 

Hub of hope provides details of all the support available in your area.

Mind has a wealth of information on all aspects of mental health and where to access support.

The Mental Health Foundation provides accessible information across the UK.

Anxiety UK offers a range of talking therapies and self-help groups and aims to support all those with anxiety issues. 

Depression UK is a national self-help organisation.

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