Mental Health FAQ
What is Mental Health?
Mental Health is the emotional and spiritual resilience, which enables us to enjoy life and to survive pain, disappointment and sadness. It is a positive sense of well being and an underlying belief in our own, and others dignity and worth (NI Promoting Mental Health Strategy 2003-2008).
What is mental illness?
Mental illness is the term used to refer to a variety of mental disorders that can be diagnosed. Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterised by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.
What causes mental illness?
Mental illness has no single cause. In the past, people often blamed parents unfairly if a child in the family developed a mental illness. However, it is most likely several factors together that lead to mental illness. For example, recent evidence has shown that many of the major mental illnesses involve chemical imbalances in the body. Mental illnesses are:
Biological and linked with disturbances in the brain or other body system chemist
Psychological, linked with disturbances in thought and emotions
Social, linked with life events and stresses
Mental health professionals account for all three areas of a person’s life when they design a plan for dealing with the illness.
Where can I get information on specific treatments for mental disorders?
If you have questions about mental health or where to get mental health services, your doctor or mental health professional in your community may be able to answer those questions or refer you to someone who can.
How can I deal with mental illness in my family?
It can be very stressful to have a family member with a mental illness. A common response is to try to deal with the problem alone. People may isolate themselves so they can avoid the stigma that may come about when friends and neighbours find out about ‘our secret’.
However, keeping the problem in the family is not the best approach. The best way to deal with mental illness in the family is to link up with other families who are in a similar situation.
How can I deal most effectively with stress?
Major events in our lives can bring on stress. Ongoing worries about finances or your children's future can cause stress as can day-to-day irritations, like the car not starting or being late for work.
Not all events that provoke stress have to be negative. We can either welcome them as challenges enriching our lives, or we can view them as "stressful," taking away from our enjoyment of life. How we approach these events greatly affects our physical, mental and social well-being.
You can enhance your life by taking stress under control. Using some or all of these approaches should help you to deal better with stress in your life:
Balance your work and leisure time. Arrange your life so that you are not feeling guilty when you rest
Set aside some time for recreation and laughter.
Learn to delegate tasks to other people. You don’t have to do it all yourself.
Learn to use relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. Expand your spiritual life.
Get plenty of exercise.
Learn how to manage your time.
Eat healthy. Some things you put in your body like alcohol, caffeine, and fats make it harder to deal well with stress. Other foods like fruit, vegetables and whole grains make it easier.
Get the amount of rest and sleep your body needs.
Discuss your problems openly with a relatives or a trusted friend
Get away once in a while. Take a complete break. Have some fun!
If you find that you are not coping, it is not a failure to seek professional help, start by talking to your doctor, they may refer you to appropriate professional help