DefinitionA state in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. (World Health Organisation)
It's easy to think that mental health issues don't concern us but in fact one in four of us will have problems with our mental well-being at some time in our lives.
Mental health problems are equally common in men and women, but the types of problems differ. Women are more likely to be affected by anxiety and depression, while men suffer more from substance abuse and anti-social personality disorders.
Serious mental health problems are also more common than you might think, with one in 100 people diagnosed with schizophrenia, and 630,000 people contacting specialist mental health services in England at any one time. Many more could be living with undiagnosed mental health issues, according to mental health charity MIND.
If you're worried about your mental health, or if someone in your life is affected, there are ways to get help.
You can contact your GP. As well as prescribing medication or referring you to psychological therapies when appropriate, your doctor can now prescribe 'books on prescription' for a range of specially selected books to help with issues including depression and anxiety.
You can contact Solihull Mind, which provides a variety of services including advice, information, drop-ins, and workshops as well as individual support.
14-16 Faulkner Road
Five Ways to Wellbeing
Small improvements in your wellbeing can help you to feel good about yourself, appreciate what matters to you and enrich your everyday life.
Follow the five ways to wellbeing in this short film.
2. Be active... walk, run, cycle, garden, dance...exercise makes you feel good - do something you enjoy that suits your level of fitness and mobility.
3. Take notice...be curious, notice the beautiful, and savour the moment whether you're eating lunch or simply walking to work. Be aware of the world and your feelings.
4. Keep Learning...learning new things is fun and will increase your confidence. Learn how to cook your favourite food, or take on a new responsibility at work. Rediscover an old interest.
5. Give...be nice to friends and even strangers. Smile, give thanks, volunteer your time. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be very rewarding.
We thank Foresight and the new economics foundation for giving us permission to use the findings from the paper "Five ways to wellbeing". The Foresight 'Mental Capital and Wellbeing' report was published in October 2008.
How you may be feeling
Initially, you may have feelings of numbness, anxiety, confusion and disbelief. You may also experience loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, tears and crying. These are normal feelings and experiences that will pass in time. Some people feel unable to cry and wish to simply get on, again this is normal. Problems can arise when people expect you to react in the same way as them. People respond to bereavement in different ways and this must be allowed, some people find that talking with family and friends can help.
As time moves on your feelings may change to those of guilt, anger or depression. These are also normal feelings and you will need time to talk them through or time to reflect on your own. Bereaved people often report they feel the deceased's presence or say they see or hear them. These are also normal occurrences.
After a period of several months these feelings may have subsided and you will feel more able to move forward. If you or someone you know feels unable to move on or feels stuck in grief then more help may be needed. You may wish to discuss this with your GP or you can contact one of the bereavement support organisations, for advice and support.
Organisations which may be able to help with your grief
Solihull Bereavement Counselling Service
0121 424 5103
0870 167 1677
Other useful organisations
Help the Aged
0207 278 1114
Deceased Preference Service – DPS
This company will stop unwanted post free of charge.
Worried about money?
Many people are finding that the current economic climate is affecting their happiness and their ability to cope with stress. Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has launched a website to help local people through the economic downturn by giving advice on a range of topics - www.solihull.gov.uk/weatherthestorm/