Mental health

What should you know about mental health?

Good mental health is just as important as good physical health. In fact it's common for people with a long-term physical problem to also have a mental health problem, and vice versa. So if you lead a lifestyle which takes good care of your body (good diet, plenty of exercise, no smoking and little or no alcohol) the chances are that it's good for your mental state too.

Looking after your mind goes further though. It's extremely important that you are aware of your mental state so that you can catch any problems before they grow.

One thing to be aware of is that mental health problems are much more prevalent than you might imagine. In fact as many as one in four of all people are likely to develop a mental health problem in their lifetime, whether it is stress, anxiety, depression or any of a wide range of issues.

  • Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide.
  • Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and drug use) are reported to be the primary causes of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20 to 29-year-olds.
  • Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischaemic heart disease.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.

    Read more: What should you know about mental health?

What can you do to prevent it and improve your self-care?

The most effective way of maintaining good mental health is through your lifestyle.

Your brain requires particular chemicals to be able to function properly and a healthy, balanced diet will not only help you to care for your body but will also ensure that your brain receives the right nutrients to be able to work normally.

Keeping fit and active is also important for mental health. It helps to improve your cardiovascular system, which is important for keeping your blood pumping to your brain. Exercise also releases chemicals known as endorphins, which are known to improve mood.

Specific techniques focusing on the mind are also used widely to help people to manage their mental health. These might include relaxation methods, mindfulness, meditation.

Contact details for local sources of help.

Safe Haven Café

An out-of-hours, drop-in style café for people experiencing a mental health crisis, or who are on the verge of one. This groundbreaking approach to mental health crisis care was based on the suggestions and requests of people who actually use the service and has proved remarkably effective, bringing about a reduction in local acute psychiatric admissions to hospital.

The original café in Victoria Road in Aldershot has now been replicated at five locations across Surrey.

See here for details.

Read more: Contact details for local sources of help.

What if you already have mental health problems?

If you already have mental health problems - firstly, don't worry. They're a lot more common than you might think.

One person who will need to be made aware - and who may well have been involved in diagnosing you - is your GP. They can refer you to a broad range of services, depending on your need. They will also be able to direct you to more informal options, such as the Safe Haven.

As with all mental health issues, the solution or the type of treatment is very much dependent on what the issue is. If, for example, you are experiencing anxiety or you are stressed or struggling with phobias, you can pick up the phone and call TalkPlus. For many people, regular counselling can help them to address the cause of their problems, whether it lies in work, relationships, drink, drugs or another area.

For some people, their poor physical health can lead to them becoming mentally unwell. A new scheme in North East Hampshire and Farnham aims to address both physical and mental health needs of individuals together to tackle this phenomenon.

People with more serious mental health problems may be prescribed medication for their condition. It is extremely important for their own wellbeing that they continue to take this medication. If they experience any trouble with any medication they should seek help from their doctor or consultant as soon as possible.

The key with mental health problems is not to try to ignore them because, left on their own, they will most likely grow and get worse.

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