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What is Mental Health?

Positive mental health

Positive mental health is about:

  • feeling in control
  • being able to make rational decisions
  • being in touch with our feelings
  • being able to form positive relationships
  • feeling good about ourselves
  • knowing how to look after ourselves

We all have our ups and downs, but if the downs start to take over it is a sign that we need to take some action.

Mental health conditions and Resources

Mental health problems range from the worries and grief we all experience as part of everyday life, to the most bleak, suicidal depression or complete loss of touch with everyday reality. from the Mental Health Foundation web-site

The commonest challenges to our mental health are anxiety and depression. It is estimated that 1 in 4 of us will experience some kind of mental health problem during the course of a year, and many of these conditions will be to do with feeling low and anxious.

In contrast to these common disorders, there are more severe forms of mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and or bi-polar disorder which affect far fewer people (around 4 out of 1000 people during the course of a year). These conditions are characterised by varying degrees of loss of touch with the reality experienced by most other people, and are often referred to as psychotic illnesses. 

See also:

Seeking help

Unfortunately the bad press given to mental health problems can deter people from seeking help when they suspect their own mental health is at risk. Whether the problems are the more common ones of anxiety and depression, or at the more severe psychotic end, early access to support and treatment is always preferable to letting things get worse. However, it is never too late to seek help and we shouldn't feel bad about having to do so.


Although self-help is not usually an option when things have got really bad, there are many options that can be explored at lesser levels of distress, and on the road to recovery following a severe mental health problem.

Self-help resources can be found as follows:

Mind Leaflets
Mind have produced over 100 leaflets which provide information and guidance on various aspects of mental illness.

Royal College of Psychiatrists Leaflets
The Royal College of Psychiatrists have produced a very extensive series of leaflets for the general public on common mental health issues. 

Last edited: 14 01 2014