What is Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.


Mental Health issues

  • Depression: feeling sad, hopeless, helpless, lost interest in things you used to enjoy
  • Trauma: an emotional response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event
  • Abuse: can be sexual, emotional or physical. It is an intentional action that hurts someone
  • Anxiety: feelings of near constant worry or unease about an event or unknown outcome
  • Stress: a state of mental or emotional strain
  • Academic concerns: worried about passing exams or assignments, if your course is right for you
  • Suicidal ideation: feeling hopeless enough to consider ending your life
  • Self harm: cutting, biting or burning yourself to relive emotions
  • Eating disorders: restricting, over eating, binging and purging
  • Relationship issues: end of relationships, abusive relationship, difficulties in relationships and/or friendships
  • Transitioning from school to college: finding it tough to get used to the routine in college versus the strict structure of school, how to do assignments and exams

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities; becoming withdrawn
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or college

Mental Health and Wellness

Positive mental health allows people to:

  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their family, friends, in work or in college
  • Feel better about themselves and their life

Ways to maintain positive mental health include:

  • Talking to someone; a friend, family member, staff member,  GP or counsellor
  • Staying positive
  • Exercising and eating healthily
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills
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