What is Mental Health?

In short it is the way we think and feel and our mental wellbeing. All of us vary in how we feel however those with mental health issues have more extreme feelings and the lows can be much longer.

Myths and Facts

MYTH   Mental health problems are rare
FACT   One in Four people will experience a mental health problem in the course of a year
MYTH  People with mental health problems never recover
FACT   With the right support most people with mental health problems get better
MYTH  People with depression could just “snap out of it” if they wanted to
FACT   People with depression have serious symptoms which aren’t in their control

Key Mental Health issues for young people

Anyone can have feelings of anxiety (affects 10%  of population at any one time)

I could never relax, I was always tense and wound up. It was hard to focus on anything else. I felt really shaky and strung out

Some of the symptoms are:

  • tense muscles, dry mouth, rapid heart beat
  • breathless, dizzy or faint
  • difficulty concentrating, sleeping, irritability, fear
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobias, eg agoraphobia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder


Depression is common

“I just wanted to hide away and sleep and sleep. That was the easiest way to cope with my feelings”

 Common symptoms

  • Persistent sadness, tiredness, fatigue, loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest, difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety, tension, irrational worries, irritability
  • Undue feelings of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts

Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia (1-2% of young adult women)
  • Bulimia (3 in 100 women at one time in their lives)
  • In school children up to 25% of those suffering are male

Main symptoms: Starvation, vomiting, abuse of laxatives/fluid tablets
Possible causes: social pressure; control; puberty; depression; 

“I really hate myself for what I am doing.  I binge and binge and then starve for days to compensate, but I don’t know how to get out of it. It’s become a way of life”


Psychosis is an umbrella term for when a person loses touch with reality. A person experiencing an episode of psychosis may be unable to follow a logical sequence of thoughts their ideas may be jumbled and make very little sense to others.
They may have “negative” as well as “positive” symptoms, eg lacking energy, concentration, emotion, appetite; self-neglecting
Mental illnesses include schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychotic depression, schizo-affective disorder.

What to do?

  • Talk to your child and listen
  • Don't panic!
  • Treat as you would want to be treated 
  • Get Help

    • Talk to your GP and ask to be reffered to CAMHS
    • If urgent take your child to hospital
    • Contact the early intervention team link
    • Let the school know your concerns