People are more aware now than ever before of how important it is to talk about mental health and mental illness. You might hear these terms more often.

You might wonder what they mean or have questions: What’s the difference between mental health and mental illness? Is feeling sad or unhappy a sign of mental illness? How can I look after my mental health? These are good questions to ask.

Talking about mental health and mental illness is one way to lessen the shame some people feel because of stigma. Having an understanding about these subjects can help you have courageous conversations that show people no one needs to experience challenges alone.
Like physical health, everyone has mental health. Physical health is the state of your body, and mental health is the state of your mind, feelings and emotions.

Like physical health, mental health is always there, and it’s fine to have good and bad days. Physical health can influence mental health, both positively and negatively. So can life experiences, work or school environment, relationships, and the type of community you live in.

Being mentally healthy enables you to feel, think and act in ways that help you enjoy life and cope with its challenges. Poor mental health may result in feeling unhappy, difficulty thinking clearly, or feeling overwhelmed by stressful situations.

Resilience – the inner-strength you use to cope with stressful situations – is also a big part of mental health. To be resilient means you can effectively cope with ups and downs that are part of life. Building resiliency can help you avoid being overwhelmed by stressful situations. This in turn further builds resilience– it gives you the confidence to know you can get through difficult times when they come up again.

It’s important to give your mental health ongoing care and attention. There are things you can do to maintain good mental health, and other factors that influence mental health to learn about to help you build your understanding.
While mental health is always there and may be positive or negative, mental illness affects a person’s ability to function over a long period of time. Mental illness is not the same as feeling sad, unhappy or stressed because of difficult situations such as the death of a loved one, job loss or breakup with a partner (although these events can contribute to mental illness). People with mental illness feel distressed regularly and may not feel in control of their lives.

There are many different kinds of mental illness including:

- mood disorders (like depression)
- anxiety disorders
- eating disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder

Because of the shame and blame sometimes associated with mental illness and mental health, many people feel like they can’t reach out for help. If you or a loved one is experiencing mental illness or mental health-related challenges, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible.
Mrs Watson is our Student Welfare Officer and works hard to make sure you can access the help you need. Please go and see Mrs Watson (or another member of the Sixth Form Team) if you are struggling and need help. In addition, there are many topics included in our tutor and assembly programme as well as external speakers from places like Brook and Minds Matter.

If you are struggling with a serious particular issue Mrs Watson or Mrs Cass can refer you to our student counsellor for an appointment.

In an emergency where you feel a life is at risk please contact 999 immediately. There are various organisations where you can get help with suicidal thoughts such as Papyrus which is an organisation dedicated to preventing teen suicide and is available 24/7 https://www.papyrus-uk.org/ and https://www.samaritans.org/ where trained staff are available online, text, email and phone.

Please click here for information regarding other external agencies you can contact for a range of issues such as anxiety and self-harm.
Positive mental health is something we all strive for. When you do not look after your mental health this might lead to mental health problems such as anxiety.

Though stress is a normal part of our life how we deal with stress may influence your mental health. Everyone can work to improve their Mental Health - click to complete our Mental Health Training Course where you will find a range of tasks designed to enhance your understanding including online courses that will help you improve your own mental health.


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