We have all heard about how important looking after our mental health is, but what exactly does this mean?
We all have mental health. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health. There is not one single definition of mental health and being mentally healthy will mean different things for different people. Roughly defined, our mental health is how we emotionally feel as well as how we deal with different situations in life. There are many different aspects that make up our mental health.
Many people will identify mental health with being unwell, however this isn’t the case. Being mentally healthy does not mean an absence of mental illness.
The science behind mental health is an ever-expanding subject and there are many ways of viewing, exploring, and explaining mental health. In Scotland, we use a mixture of Psychiatry (medicine) and Psychology (behaviour and thoughts), however there are many other approaches including trauma informed practice. We at Forces Children Scotland use Trauma Informed Practice throughout our day-to-day activities.
It’s important to note that our mental health will change on a day-to-day basis and that this is normal. There are lots of things that can influence our mental health. For Armed Forces young people and children, this could include;
We will all react to these life events differently, and the way you react will be different to how your friends or siblings will react.
We will all experience highs and lows throughout our lives. Below shows a ‘typical’ mood graph for someone who is not experiencing mental illness. Notice how there are both highs, lows and periods of calm). This person may have been experiencing low mood because of exam stress or because they’ve had an argument with their friend.
Now that we know what mental health is, when should we be worried about our mental health? Below is one graph of somebody who has been going through a difficult time and may be struggling with their mental health.
Notice here that this person seems to be feeling ‘low’ for longer. If you recognise yourself feeling like this, you can speak to your GP or someone within your wellbeing network.
“I feel the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people, from serving personnel and veterans of the Armed Forces, is something often overlooked and has only recently received acknowledgement.”
“Mental and Emotional health is an issue that is very important to me [as it has] affected me before negatively and positively [as well as] people around me that I care about.”
Young people associate mental health with:
Armed Forces young people involved in the Your Mind Matters project told us that they want mental health and wellbeing information and support, to:
Get Help now
If you are concerned about your mental health, or if you have found yourself feeling concerned about someone else, you can:
Call 111 – NHS 24
Call 116 123 – The Samaritans
Call 0800 83 85 87 – Breathing Space
Text: ‘YM’ to 85258 – Young Minds crisis chat
If you think you are in danger of hurting yourself or other people, you should call 999 or present to your local A&E department.