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Mental Health FAQs

What is mental health: We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. How we feel can vary from good mental wellbeing to difficult feelings and emotions, to severe mental health problems.

What is mental wellbeing:
Mental wellbeing is the ability to cope with the day-to-day stresses of life, work productively, interact positively with others and realise our own potential. When we talk about well-being we are referring to mental well-being.

What is poor mental health:
Poor mental health is when we are struggling with low mood, stress or anxiety. This might mean we’re also coping with feeling restless, confused, short-tempered, upset or preoccupied. We all go through periods of experiencing poor mental health – mental health is a spectrum of moods and experiences and we all have times when we feel better or worse.

What are mental health problems:
We all have times when we feel upset, stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, but sometimes they develop into a mental health problem impacting upon our daily lives. You might receive a specific diagnosis from your doctor, or just feel more generally that you are experiencing a prolonged period of poor mental health.

What are common mental health problems:
These include depression, anxiety, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These make up the majority of the problems that lead to one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in any given year. Symptoms can range from the comparatively mild to very severe.

What are severe mental health problems:
These include less common conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They can have very varied symptoms and affect your everyday life to different degrees. They are generally regarded as severe mental health problems because they often require more complex and/or long-term treatments.

What is work-related stress:
Work-related stress is defined by the Health and Safety Executive as the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure or other types of demand placed on them at work. Stress, including work-related stress, can be a significant cause of illness. It is known to be linked with high levels of sickness absence, staff turnover and other issues such as increased capacity for error. Stress is not a medical diagnosis, but severe stress that continues for a long time may lead to a diagnosis of depression or anxiety, or more severe mental health problems.

For more information about mental health problems including information covering diagnosis, treatment or where to find support please see

Why don’t people talk about mental health:
Although awareness around mental health is growing, people still find it hard to talk about it. There is still discrimination and it can be difficult for people to get the help they need. It is common for people to be afraid of how others will respond and feel ashamed. We want to ensure our community feels comfortable in being themselves and that we create a safe space where people can talk openly and honestly about their problems and how they feel. By doing this and encouraging others to do the same we can challenge stigma around mental health.

I am in crisis and I don’t know where to turn:

If you are in need of urgent help the Samaritans are on hand every day to offer help and support.
You can contact them on 116 123 (free service) or email [email protected]. You can also text SHOUT to 85258 for 24/7 text support.

How can I help someone with a mental health problem:
It can be really worrying if you know someone who is going through a difficult time but support and information is available.

For further guidance please see