about mental illness
What is mental illness?
There are different kinds of mental illness such as depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. People might have mental illness at some time in their life or particularly after distressing events and can affect people from all walks of life. It can fluctuate between periods when a person feels well and able to manage, and periods of being less well. With mental illness, feeling can be so strong and last for so long that they make it very difficult for a person to cope with everyday life.
Mental illness is very common. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people have a mental illness but we believe that anyone can experience it in their lifetime.
Things can go wrong with our bodies and we don’t always know why, or some people become unwell and others don’t. It’s the same with mental illness and everyone reacts differently.
One person may be able to deal with a bad experience and another may find it more difficult. It can be a one-off condition that gets better and never returns; it can be something that keeps happening but people aren’t ill all the time and they cope with it either by themselves or with the help of others; or it can be that people never fully recover and they have to learn to live with their mental illness.
Sometimes it’s hard to see or tell the signs of mental illness. A relative, a friend, a work colleague or someone else might tell you about their mental health condition. But if they don’t, certain signs could suggest something is wrong:
- Anxious or irritable
- Mood swings
- Saying or doing unusual things
- Struggling to cope with or studies
- Problems with memory or concentration
You can encourage people to talk and be open about their mental health. This may seem scary but someone else should be happy to listen.
There are ways to manage your mental health:
- Exercise or get outdoors, even if it’s just for a walk
- Learning ways to relax, such as meditation
- Eating healthy foods
- Breathing exercises
- Getting enough sleep
- Following a structured daily routine
- Keeping a mood diary to be more aware of your symptoms
- Doing something creative, such as writing, art or music
- Meeting people at a local club or society
You’re in it too
When somebody has a mental illness, it can affect the whole family. Attention is often focused on the person who is ill and life might not run quite so smoothly. It puts a lot on minds of family members and friends.
There’s a lot of stigma about mental illness. People don’t talk about mental illness much and so tend not to know much about it or how to react to someone with a mental illness. It’s helpful to talk about mental illness. Talking will help you deal with things better, whether that’s someone you trust or a relative.
Remember, many people have a mental illness. More than you might think.
Our Advice and Support Service is open Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, where advisers can signpost you to local support that most fits your needs, including our own Change Mental Health services. We offer initial advice on money worries and help to deal with emergencies.
Contac 0808 8010 515, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the enquiry form on the Advice and Support Service page.
No one can be forced to get help but you can contact NHS 24 on 111, Breathing Space on 0800 83 85 87 and if it’s an emergency, call 999. Read how you can get support with Change Mental Health or elsewhere through the ‘Need support?‘ section of our website.