More Brits are struggling with their mental health now than ever before following the coronavirus pandemic.
In a shocking Mirror survey, one in four adults quizzed revealed their state of mind was now worse than before the virus struck.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day and as part of our HeadStrong: Better Mental Health For All campaign, we have compiled an explainer on some of the more common mental health conditions, how to recognise the signs and where to get help.
What is self-harm?
Self-harm is an issue that often, for those it doesn’t affect, sits out of sight and out of mind. However in order to best prevent against it, it is crucial that we understand both what it is and why it happens.
Mental Health charity Mind work to tackle issues surrounding mental health and have compiled information designed to combat self-harm, targeting people both struggling themselves or concerned about others.
(WARNING: Reading about how people self harm can be triggering. If you are feeling vulnerable it may be advisable not to read on)
HERE we will discuss what self-harm is, why it happens, and how we can help prevent it.
Eating disorders explained
Eating problems include any difficult relationship with food. Anyone can experience problems with food, regardless of their age, gender, weight or background.
Food and appetite are a major part of everyone’s day-to-day life, and it’s normal to experience a lack of appetite, cravings or the desire to eat healthier from time to time.
Eating problems begin to form when someone’s relationship with food takes over their life. Eating issues can lead to depression, anxiety, exhaustion, shame and fear.
There are a number fo different types of eating disorder and you can read about each of them HERE.
The Daily Mirror is launching our new campaign HeadStrong: Better Mental Health For All.
We’re calling for:
- Early Access Mental Health Hubs for under 25s to be rolled out across the country, with at least one for each trust.
- Waiting times to be cut so people actually start treatment with a professional within four weeks
- The Govt to fill in the gaps in care – an end of red tape which means many don’t fit the set criteria to get help plus 8,500 more mental health staff
- Compulsory Mental Health education lessons in schools, plus paid counsellors in schools and care homes
Want to help? Write to your MP and ask them to support the current Early Day Motion 459 to debate mental health and the pandemic in parliament.
What is anxiety disorder?
Most people feel anxiety from time to time. Anxious feelings are particularly normal during high stress situations or periods of change.
One uncomfortable symptom of anxiety —Panic attacks — can occur during stressful or triggering moments, however sometimes it might feel as though they’ve appeared out of the blue.
If you are struggling with a panic attack right now, follow this advice on how to manage panic attacks.
It’s quite common for people to experience a panic attack only once or twice in their lifetime, whilst others might suffer more regularly.
Anxiety becomes a mental health problem when it begins to impact your day-today life.
Read more HERE.
What is BDD?
Body dysmorphic disorder, known as ‘BDD’ is when a person constantly questions their looks and any perceived flaws in their appearance.
According to a study published in 2018, the Mental Health of Children and Young People survey, it affects 1.8% of girls and 0.3% of boys. For adolescent and young women aged 17 to 19, rates were much higher with one in eighteen (5.6%) experiencing BDD.
The condition most commonly develops in teens during puberty. As a number of bodily changes are taking place, BDD can subside when people reach adulthood.
To read more about BDD, the signs and how to get help click HERE.
What is OCD?
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, more commonly known as OCD, is an anxiety disorder that causes obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.
Anyone can be affected by OCD – including men, women and children. Some will experience symptoms early in life, while others only start to notice them in adult life.
Either way, having OCD can be distressing, and depending on the severity it can have a massive impact on a person’s life.
But the good news is that there are various treatments that can help keep it under control.
In order to receive the correct treatment, it’s important to recognise the signs and symptoms of OCD.
Read more HERE.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is something someone may develop if they have experienced something they find traumatic.
Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD, but those who have experienced very stressful, frightening or distressing events may develop it.
Many may have heard the term in relation to war veterans, where it was first described as “shell shock”.
However, it’s not only diagnosed in soldiers, and a wide range of traumatic experiences can cause PTSD.
The good thing is that with effective treatment the symptoms of PTSD can be reduced.
Here we go into further detail about what PTSD is, what the symptoms are, and how we can get help for it.
What does it feel like to be suicidal?
Those experiencing suicidal thoughts may feel alone, frightened and confused and like there is no way out of their problems.
But according to charities like mind – they are not alone.
Lots of people think about suicide at some point in their lifetime and many go on to find alternatives to suicide – leaving them glad they did not take their own life.
Suicidal feelings can vary from abstract thoughts to organised and clear plans. Different people struggle in different ways. Read more HERE.
How to get help: If you are struggling or you are worried about a loved one, contact Samaritans on 116123. For more advice visit nhs.uk/mental-health or www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus