I think it's fair to say we are more able to recognise the signs that our physical health is declining; that we are more comfortable talking about our physical ailments and more likely to pop along to the GP and chat through our concerns but less so when it comes to our mental health. There is still a huge disparity in how mental and physical health is viewed even though there is a strong link between the two - simply put, there is no health without mental health. So, what are the signs that we might be experiencing poor mental health?
Below we outline what declining mental health may look like, the impact it may have on how you think, behave and feel both emotionally and physically. You can also download our handy infographic for spotting the signs of poor mental health.” .
Mental health is individual and there isn't a definitive 'tick-list' as such for what poor mental health will look like. What may be perfectly normal behaviour for one person, could be an emerging sign of ill-health for another. For example, someone sleeping for only 4hrs a night might be normal for one person, but for someone used to sleeping longer, only sleeping for 4hrs could be a sign of stress or something more serious. The key is if you notice any emotional, cognitive, behavioural or physical changes in yourself or in others, they could be early indicators that yours or the other person's mental health is suffering and needs attention. Early intervention is absolutely key for all physical illnesses to prevent them from worsening and this is no different for mental illness. If you notice changes, please don't delay and talk through with someone how you are feeling.
Sometimes, it can be hard to notice we are not doing so well because feeling low, stressed or anxious has just become the 'norm' for us. Taking time out to intentionally stop and check in with how we are feeling is a great life skill for developing deeper self-awareness and what we need to do to help ourselves. Try scheduling time in your diary to stop and check in with yourself throughout the by listening to my Breathing Space mindfulness audio (Click the picture to download)
It is perfectly normal to experience periods of low mood, stress and anxiety from time to time but if you notice your symptoms are becoming persistent and you are worried about your mental health, it is best to pop along to your GP and talk through how your are feeling. You could also get in touch with your in-house Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) or Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) if you have access to them at work. There are also a number of fantastic organisations waiting to take your call and support you with an empathetic and non-judgemental ear, details for some of those are below:
Samaritans: 116 123 - samaritans.org
Giveusashout: Text SHOUT to 85258 - giveusashout.org
Mind Infoline: 0300 123 3393 - mind.org.uk
If you are in crisis dial 999 or get in touch with your crisis team