MENTAL / EMOTIONAL HEALTH
The word ‘mental’ simply means ‘to do with your mind’ and mental health is about how healthy your mind is. It is about your thoughts, moods and how you deal with the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of life. Good mental health doesn’t mean you’re in a good mood all the time, that’s impossible. It means you enjoy good times, cope with bad times and bounce back afterwards. It’s normal to have ‘good’ and ‘bad’ moods and these change all the time, depending on what’s happening to you.
Most likely, by talking to people you trust and getting the right support, you will get through difficult times and feel better again. However, if the moods are lasting a long time (a few weeks or more), are more than you can cope with, and affect your daily activities and relationships, you might need to seek further support.
The first, most important thing to do is TALK about it no matter how hard. Tell someone who can help, an adult that you trust and who won’t judge you. Talk with your friends; they may understand more than you think. If you feel you really can’t talk to someone face-to-face, phone Lifeline on 0808 808 8000. Lifeline is a telephone help and counselling service for anyone in distress or despair. It is available 24/7 and is even free from mobiles!
School counselling also allows you to talk in private about anything that is worrying you. The Counsellor will not take sides or tell you what to do but by talking they will help you look at choices and encourage you to make your own decisions.
What you say during a counselling session will not be repeated to others without your permission unless there are serious concerns about your safety or the safety of someone else. The counsellor will explain this to you at your first meeting.
You can see your school counsellor by talking to one of your teachers, self referring using the allocated post box or asking your parent or carer to arrange an appointment for you.
Learn the facts. See your GP. He/she will decide what support is right for you. Getting practical help with problems and making changes to your lifestyle may be enough, or some sort of talking treatment or counselling might help.
Most of us know when we are mentally and physically well, but sometimes we need a little extra support to keep well. There are five simple steps to help maintain and improve your wellbeing. Try to build these into your daily life – think of them as your ‘five a day’ for wellbeing (Take 5 steps to wellbeing):
1. Connect: Connect with the people around you
2. Be active: Go for a walk or run, cycle, play a game, garden or dance. Exercising makes you feel good.
3. Take notice: Savour the moment, whether you are on a bus or in a taxi, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
4. Keep learning: Don’t be afraid to try something new, rediscover an old hobby or sign up for a course.
5. Give: Do something nice for a friend or stranger, thank someone, smile, volunteer your time or consider joining a community group.