What is mental health? Explaining the mental health continuum
There’s a lot of misconceptions and stigma around the words ‘mental health’. In reality we are all somewhere on the continuum of mental health, just like for example physical fitness.
There are a lot of different symptoms seen in mental ill health at various stages along the continuum. Lifelong/chronic conditions include things like psychosis, bipolar and personality disorders. The most common conditions are things like depression, panic attacks, anxiety in certain situations, phobias, OCD, and trauma symptoms. 1 in 4 people in the UK every year will experience one of these diagnosable mental health problems.
However there are many more symptoms that lots of people experience that they wouldn’t necessarily realise are within the spectrum of mental health. Examples of this are things like perfectionism, anger, low self confidence, stress, poor sleep, jealousy, indecisiveness, lack of assertiveness and self criticism. These are all symptoms that can affect our ability to function in day to day life, and can have a significant impact on work and relationships.
Even within the diagnosable mental health problems, phobias are often under-recognised. Lots of people have a fear of things like heights, driving, flying, spiders, open water and confined spaces for example.
When you think about it, there’s very few people that don’t have something that is currently affecting them.
Consider yourself, your friends your family, do you know anyone that doesn’t have something emotional that affects their life?
(Future blogs will provide information on options available to help improve your mental health, from self help to free to access treatment to formal private therapy).