Crash course in Mental Health!

Greetings everybody, 

Hope you had an awesome, if not productive week or maybe you are a recent graduate or student and just soaked up some sun rays either or we have a treat for you today.

It has been a couple of weeks since the election but cast your minds back to how the parties had a shared view on the state of the nations mental health. Then we got to talking to some fellow colleagues and we realised that our knowledge on what mental health is and the forms in which it manifests  was very shallow as was our colleagues. We reached the conclusion that we needed a crash course in mental health  and then we decided that we should share what we found with you guys!
Firstly, what has the government promised on the mental health front? Simply put, five defining aims: 
  1. Take mental health as seriously as physical health
  2. Legislation to ensure that mental and physical health condition are given equal priority
  3. Ensuring the presence of therapists in every part of the country to provide treatment. 
  4. Increased funding for mental health care, along with easier access and improved waiting time standards for people experiencing mental ill-health
  5. Ensure women have access to mental health support during and after the pregnancy. 
Thats all well and good but what is mental health, how do you begin to define a concept that you cannot see physically? Well we always say one of the best and sure fired ways of understanding something is being able to first define it. The World Health Organisation defines mental health as...

'The state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.'- WHO

Pretty broad to be honest, and as such treating and identifying the symptoms of mental health is not easy. Many believe that mental health only refers to cases such as depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), very understandable as these are the conditions that are often recycled by the media. With that we continue to the next stage of our crash course: the types of mental health. 

Note: we have categorised mental health disorders in accordance to a source and their are other ways to categorise mental health issues. 

Mental health issues:

1. Anxiety disorders: anxiety is something that all of us experience at some time usually sourced from our daily routine. However, when the mechanisms for anxiety regulation break down it could lead to over-expression of anxiety. This disorder often exits when an individual feels an inability to control  surrounding circumstances. 

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): this is commonly seen in TV programmes. Anxiety in such cases leads to the individual repeating words or phrases and/or carrying out ritualistic behaviour repeatedly. For more information on this disorder along with potential treatments click here.  

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This occurs after traumatic events such as war, rape, child abuse, natural disasters or post hostage situations. Symptoms range with this disorder however flashbacks, depression and numbing of the emotions are common signs of PTSD. This disorder was tackled in a previous Biology Behind on our blog for more details click here. In addition to this to learn on how to seek medical advice visit the NHS page here.

Generalised anxiety disorder: characterised by an exaggerated fear of daily routines and activities. Such individuals can suffer from fatigue, trembling and nausea. 

2. Mood disorders: The majority of us understand the concept of moods and know that they fluctuate from day to day and are influenced by experiences. In the case of these disorders the fluctuations that individuals experience are way out of balance. 

Clinical depression: Depression is the big gun in the mental health world, as it is a common symptom in other mental health disorders. This disorder causes people to lose enjoyment from day to day life, if left unchecked or if it has managed to become serious enough it can lead to suicidal thoughts and death. Similar to cancer, and many other medical conditions depression shows no bias towards age, gender or pre-existing health conditions. Whats frustrating is that treatment for this condition is largely successful but people rarely seek medical treatment due to the stigma that depression carries with it. This idea that depression isn't serious, that it is a personal weakness or that you are just sad and lazy, is what makes depression a dangerous mental illness. For more information click here
Image sources for depression: Depressed brain Lonely man

Bipolar Disorder: Defined as an illness with one or multiple episodes of severe mania and depression. It often causes the person to experience extreme mood swings from over the top happiness to desperately low sadness and hopelessness. 

3. Schizophrenia disorders: These are serious brain disorders that causes significant disruptions in cognition and emotions. Thereby, affecting language, thought and the sense of ones 'self'. The symptoms of such disorders often include hearing internal voices. For more information click here.

Image Source

4. Dementias: Another well known condition, that is frequently seen on television and is characterised by memory loss and a reduction in intellectual and physical functioning. For more information on the Biology Behind dementia please click here, for information on how to support someone suffering from this click here 

Image sources for dementia: Dementias handprint Erasing the mind

5. Eating disorders: These are serious, and at times life threatening conditions that tend to be chronic. For more information about this disorder or on how to identify signs and support either a child or a friend please click here 

Image sources for eating disorders: Mirror image Bulimia Binge Eating:

Well, there you have it a crash course in mental health disorders, governmental policy and what mental health is defined as! 
Some of the mental health disorders  described above may have been familiar to you and some may be totally new to you. Now that you have had a crash course we encourage you to look into any that were of particular interest to you. 
Finally, these issues are not to be taken lightheartedly as you have seen many of these issues can become life threatening and some carry a the symptom of feeling alone in this big world. If you feel as though some of the symptoms described above apply to you or someone you know, don't be ashamed or scared and get seen. 
That was our Friday post and we will see you here next Friday!! have an awesome weekend. 

over and out


  1. Very informative helpful post, Thanks for sharing this with everyone. Since everyone feels nervous at some point, how can you tell if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder that requires medical treatment.

    1. Hi April,
      First of all what a great question and thanks for asking! There is a very thin line between those two feelings, that makes distinguishing between them pretty difficult. However, nervousness is a normal response to novel situations and generally wheres of the more comfortable with the situation you become whereas, an anxiety disorder is with you every day and somehow manifests in everything that you do.
      Hope that helps you!

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    1. Hello there! Thank you so much for your comment as the sole writer for this post it is great to receive feedback like this. If you are interested there are some posts on here looking at Dementia and PTSD also. Thanks again


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