Mental health is sometimes called ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’ and is just as important as good physical health. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened and most of the time those feelings pass. Sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and this could happen to any one of us.

There are many different types of mental illness, including:

• Affective disorders e.g. depression, bipolar disorder
• Psychotic disorders or disorders of perception e.g. schizophrenia
• Anxiety disorders
• Eating disorders e.g. anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa
• Dementias e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease
• Personality disorders e.g. Borderline Personality Disorder

Depression is the most common of these and causes low mood, loss of interest in everyday activities, feelings of low self-worth, a lack of energy and poor concentration. It is estimated that one in five people in the UK will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

The first step in getting support for mental illness is to speak to your GP. He or she will ask questions about how you are feeling and will make a decision on the best way to help you feel better.

There are a range of treatment options for mental illness. The two main treatments are talking therapies such as counselling, and medication such as anti-depressants or anti-psychotics. There are also methods that can be used to assist treatment; regular exercise and self-help methods being some of the most effective.