What does mental health mean?

Everyone has mental health, and it can be good or bad, changing day by day. However, if worries, anxieties and difficult feelings start seriously interfering with everyday life, these could be signs you need extra support or to focus more on your mental wellbeing..

When someone is living with poor mental health, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information is vital. Educating yourself and those around you can be the first step to improving your mental health. Researching different types of mental illness can be empowering and help you feel in control of your wellbeing, but it can also lead to more questions and possibly concerns. We recommend that you seek help from your GP or a mental health professional if you want any further information.

Below are some excellent comprehensive guides to better understanding conditions, from Mind and NHS Choices.

Mind: Types of Mental Health – list of common mental health conditions

Mind: A – Z of Mental Health – comprehensive list of everything to do with Mental Health

NHS Choices: 5 Steps to Mental Wellbeing – evidence based steps to improve your well being

Talking about mental health

“I have a mental health problem. Should I start talking about it?”

There are no rules for talking about your own mental health. You should never feel under pressure to tell people that your mental health has become a problem but talking about it can help. This isn’t always easy, so we’ve outlined some helpful pointers to consider:

Be prepared:
Consider the positive or negative reactions this person may have so you’re prepared for either.

Choose somewhere you feel comfortable and a time you are available without having to rush off soon.

Initial reactions may not last:
The person might initially react in a way that’s not helpful – they might change the subject, or respond with unhelpful advice or clichés rather than listening. But give them time – it might be the first time they’ve ever had a conversation about mental health.

Tell the right people:
Talk to someone you feel comfortable with whom you can trust. People who really care will make the effort to understand and help you.

Where to get help

If you are looking for more in- depth information about a specific mental health related issue, the organisations below are fantastic resources, and can signpost you to helpful information and appropriate services.

Bristol Independent Mental Health Network (BIMHN) – BIMHN was established to provide people who have experienced mental ill health with a platform to share their experiences and needs, which are then fed back to local services and commissioners.

Off The Record – Based in central Bristol, Off The Record provide free and confidential mental health support and information to young people aged 11-25 in Bristol. They also run various services and projects across Bristol and South Gloucestershire which you can find out about here.

Time to Change – Time to Change is England’s biggest ever campaign to end the stigma and discrimination that people with mental health problems face. It is run nationally by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness with funding from the Department of Health, the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief.

If you need help right now, the quickest route is to access emergency services.

For urgent medical attention, your options are Accident & Emergency (A&E) and Emergency GP appointments.

For urgent medical advice you can call the NHS 111 (England) or NHS Direct (Wales).

Mindfulness - calm your mind

Mindfulness is a calm mental state achieved through non-judgemental awareness of how you feel in the present moment, and is associated with a wide range of benefits. Mindfulness can lower stress,symptoms of anxiety and depression, help you to better control processing of pain and emotions and may help reduce insomnia symptoms. Mindfulness can help anyone and everyone feel more well, and any opportunity to just chill out sounds great to us!

Check out our mindful resources below…

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mindfulness illustration
Illustration by Cai Burton

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