Mental health promotion is really all about influencing the way people think and feel, about themselves and about others. It is concerned with how individuals, families, organisations and communities can be strengthened to prevent mental health problems occurring or re-occurring.
One in four of us will have some sort of mental health problem in our life and more than 91 million working days are lost to mental illness every year. Half of the days lost are due to anxiety and stress conditions. However, often we are not very good at recognising signs of anxiety and stress in ourselves or others and we do not take enough care of our mental health. This means there are millions of people in Britain who are either encountering problems themselves or know someone else who is experiencing them. In Swindon, the number of people claiming incapacity benefit due to mental health issues is high and NHS Swindon has been working hard to introduce different services to reduce this.
Recognising mental health problems
Everyone is different and mental health problems present in different ways, so not all people present with the same signs and symptoms and some people displaying the following signs and symptoms will not have a mental health problem. However, the following are common signs that someone may be experiencing emotional or mental health problems:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling low, sad or anxious
- Feeling hopeless, helpless and negative
- Loss of interest in things that you are usually interested in
- Feeling tired, lethargic or having no energy
- Difficulties in concentrating and making choices
- Morbid thoughts of death or suicide
- Restlessness and irritability.
Sometimes people can become permanently elated and have very high energy levels and need little sleep. This may indicate that the person is becoming manic.