What is Mental Health?
Everyone has a mental health, whether its good, bad or in between. At Knox we want to ensure no pupils or staff have to struggle with their mental health. Mental health is something that affects all of us and is a state of well-being that constantly changes in response to how we are feeling at certain points in time. Mental health doesn’t refer solely to mental health disorders as all people, with and without mental health disorders, experience ups and downs during their lifetime. It’s important to recognise when we experience good and bad mental health. A state of poor mental health and wellbeing may find someone struggling to cope with and upkeep things in their life such as relationships, school, work, family etc. It’s important to note that poor mental health doesn’t always come down to a mental health disorder and similarly, having a mental health disorder doesn’t mean someone always struggles to cope with their well-being.
Mental health is just as important as physical health, however it is far more difficult to understand and identify different states of well-being as for most people it isn't visible and also is experienced differently. There are many resources to help you figure out what you’re feeling and help you understand that what you’re feeling is okay. Below we have provided some important links to materials and websites that can help you understand mental health and disorders and identify them in yourself and others. You will also find resources on how to cope with mental health and provide care for someone else who is struggling.
Here are some useful links to websites that can support you with your mental health:
- Mind - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- AnxietyUK - Email: email@example.com
- No Panic
- Breathing Space
- child line
There are other things that can help with mental health and well-being that you can do yourself to help cope. Having a support network of others around you who will check in on you every so often as well as being able to rely on you as a support can help you feel more connected to others. Keeping busy is also useful as the more time we spend just thinking the more negative our thoughts become, occupying yourself can prevent this downward spiral.
Understanding Eating Problems
“What is an eating problem?
An eating problem is any relationship with food that you find difficult. Food plays an important part in our lives and most of us will spend time thinking about what we eat. Sometimes we may try to eat more healthily, have cravings, eat more than usual or lose our appetite. Changing your eating habits every now and again is normal. But if food and eating feels like it's taking over your life then it may become a problem.
Lots of people think that if you have an eating problem you will be over or underweight, and that being a certain weight is always associated with a specific eating problem. This is a myth. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or weight, can be affected by eating problems.”
Taken from Minds booklet on Understanding eating problems.
For help and more in depth information on eating problems follow the link below.
Helpline: YoungMinds 0808 802 5544
YoungMinds - Good resources for both parents and young people
How to manage Stress
“We all know what it's like to feel stressed, but it's not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. When we say things like "this is stressful" or "I'm stressed", we might be talking about:
• Situations or events that put pressure on us - for example, times where we have lots to do and think about, or don't have much control over what happens.
• Our reaction to being placed under pressure - the feelings we get when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to cope with. It's overwhelming. Sometimes you can't see beyond the thick fog of stress.
There's no medical definition of stress, and health care professionals often disagree over whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them. This can make it difficult for you to work out what causes your feelings of stress, or how to deal with them. But whatever your personal definition of stress is, it's likely that you can learn to manage your stress better by:
• managing external pressures, so stressful situations don't seem to happen to you quite so often
• developing your emotional resilience, so you're better at coping with tough situations when they do happen.”
Understanding anxiety and panic attacks
Anxiety is a word we use to describe feelings of unease, worry and fear. It incorporates both the emotions and the physical sensations we might experience when we are worried or nervous about something. Although we usually find it unpleasant, anxiety is related to the 'fight or flight' response - our normal biological reaction to feeling threatened. We all know what it's like to feel anxious from time to time. It's common to feel tense, nervous and perhaps fearful at the thought of a stressful event or decision you're facing - especially if it could have a big impact on your life.
Some example of how to help yourself or others manage anxiety:
- Talk to someone you trust
- Try breathing exercises, this allows you to focus on something other than the topic that is causing you anxiety
- Try to shift your focus, this could be through stress toys or playing sports.
- Listen to music, this can help you feel calmer
- Try reassuring yourself
- Physical Exercise allows you to have time to think things over and get away from everyday stresses.
For more in depth information follow the link below to read through a Mind Booklet on Understanding anxiety and panic attacks.
Youth Helpline: 0330 606 1174 (10am-10pm)
child line : 24 hour helpline 0800 1111
How to cope when supporting someone else
The following information is for people who are supporting or acting as a carer for someone else, and want to know how to look after their own mental health. Lots of young people care for someone else in their family, and caring can mean a range of things, from giving emotional support to personal care roles. Supporting someone else can affect your mental health and make it harder to stay well. Although you may really want to care for someone, You may find it difficult or upsetting. For any advice from coping with stress and financial problems to how to cope with a caring role please follow the link below which has lots of useful information.
Other helpful links;
24 hour helpline: 116 123 (freephone) or 0330 094 5717 for Samaritans, emotional support for anyone struggling to cope.
Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time and affects your everyday life. In its mildest form depression can just mean being in low spirits, you can still live your life but it makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live. If you are considering a plan to end your life, these thoughts can feel difficult to control or very frightening. If you are worried on acting on thoughts of suicide, you can call an ambulance, go straight to A&E or call the Samaritans for free 116 123 Samaritans provides 24 hour emotional support for anyone struggling to cope. Remember, you are never alone and letting someone you trust know about your thoughts and feelings is the best thing to do. For more information and advice, follow the links below.
PAPYRUS - HOPELINE - 0800 684141 text - 07860 039967
child line : 24 hour helpline 0800 1111
Mental Health Levels
Depending on how severe your mental health is, different levels of support will help you cope to a better level. Please see the leveled tier system below to identify what areas of support would help you best.
1. SPEAK OUT - If you are having an off day or are worried about something make sure you speak to someone. This can be a friend, family member, teacher or doctor. Being able to open up about how you are feeling is likely to help you get the advice and reassurance you need.
2. LOCAL SUPPORT - If you feel that you may need some extra help when dealing with your mental health, you should seek local support: At Knox, Michael Cleary, the Mental Health Youth Worker, can be found in the room near the library, however wider support can be received via visiting your local GP.
3. MYPAS AND CAMHS - If your mental health is worrying, you will be referred to the MYPAS or CAMHS program, where professional mental health support can be provided to ensure you feel secure.
4. COMFORTABLE SAFE SPACE (CSS) - If your mental health is severe to the point where you may be considered a danger to yourself or others you will be moved to a safe, comfortable and secure environment to receive professional help and to make sure you feel safe and protected.