When you think of mental ill health, you consider depression, something that mainly affects women and girls right? Well mental health conditions manifest in a variety of different ways and affect everyone, regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, culture and class. Mental ill health can come to all of us. I am going to outline a few for you here and also include this link to the NHS website.
A few common conditions outlined
Depression – Most people have periods in their lives where they have feelings of low moods, tearfulness, unhappiness and hopelessness . However people with Depression may feel this way for weeks or even months. This can become isolating, stop people from enjoying the things they once enjoyed, make simple tasks seem difficult such as taking care of the home and looking after themselves. People even have thoughts of suicide. It is important that people seek help as soon as they are able to, it is not a sign of weakness and it is a mental health condition that can be managed and even overcome with the right treatment and support.
Anxiety disorder and Generalised Anxiety disorder (GAD) – Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life for example, sitting an exam, going for a job interview or going for a driving test. However, some people find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and can often affect their daily lives. Anxiety can manifest itself in several different ways, avoidance of certain situations and phobias such as agoraphobia, claustrophobia, panic disorder, panic disorder, or/and social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
Post traumatic stress disorder is also an anxiety disorder that affects people that have been a traumatic event or has been through a traumatic experience such as violent personal assaults, such as sexual assaults, mugging road accidents, childhood experiences and even sudden bereavement. These events can be very distressing, frightening and can cause flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia and feelings of guilt, irritability and isolation. One in three of us experience PTSD and can happen either instantly after the event or even weeks, months or years later. It is not clear why some people experience the condition and some don’t. It’s normal to experience upsetting and confusing thoughts after a traumatic event, but most people improve naturally over a few weeks. You should visit your GP if you are still having problems about four weeks after the traumatic event or if your symptoms are particularly troublesome.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. OCD can affect men, women and children. Some people start having symptoms early, often around puberty, but it usually starts during early adulthood. OCD can be distressing and significantly interfere with your life, but treatment can help you keep it under control. If you have OCD, you’ll usually experience frequent obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours such as An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease. An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters your mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease. A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that you feel you need to do to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought. For example, someone with an obsessive fear of being burgled may feel they need to check all the windows and doors are locked several times before they can leave their house.
Around 1 in 8 children and young people experience behavioural or emotional problems growing up. For some, these will resolve with time, while others will need professional support.
It can be difficult to know if there is something upsetting a child or young person, but there are ways to spot when something’s wrong. Look out for:
significant changes in behaviour
ongoing difficulty sleeping
withdrawing from social situations
not wanting to do things they usually like
self-harm or neglecting themselves
Remember, everyone feels low, angry or anxious at times. But when these changes last for a long time or are significantly affecting them, it might be time to get professional help.
You know your child better than anyone so, if you’re worried, first think if there has been a significant, lasting change in their behaviour.
This could be at home, school or college; with others or on their own; or in relation to specific events or changes in their life.
If you’re concerned or unsure, there is lots of support out there, including professional help in the support section of this page.
MindEd for Families also has information explaining some common problems in different age groups.
In England around 1 in 8 men have a mental health condition, however many cases go undiagnosed due to the stigma attached to men displaying their feelings. This means men are less likely to seek support.
Men are three times more likely to die through suide than women, more likely to use potentially harmful coping methods such as drugs or alcohol and less likely to talk to family or friends about their mental health. However, there is research to suggest that men will access help when they feel it meets their preferences, and is easily accessed, meaningful, and engaging.
Article – (The Nottingham tab written by Darcie Henton) – It’s time to break the stigma around men’s mental health.
Useful sites and videos
Talking therapies – Different talking therapies and a video of how to self refer
BBC iPlayer – The Voices in My Head – The voices in my head video (BBC IPlayer)
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08q8p13 – The truth about sleep video (BBC IPlayer)
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000rhg8 – Improving mental health video (BBC IPlayer)
Roman Kemp, our silent emergency – Documentary on men’s mental health (BBC IPlayer)
https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/childrens-mental-health/?WT.tsrc=search&WT.mc_id=EMMParentsSearch&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIid6L1sGt7wIVycLtCh0VBAmuEAAYASAAEgLKnvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds – Information and advice on children’s mental health
Mental health information – Information on Mental health