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What is Mental Health?

What is mental health?

 

First of all let’s think about the term ‘mental health’ and what it means. The following information is taken from the Mental Health Foundation website (mentalhealth.org.uk).

'Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives’.

 

‘The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.

 

Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:

 

  • being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
  • having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
  • being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
  • going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
  • taking part in local activities for young people.

 

Other factors are also important, including:

  • feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
  • being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
  • being hopeful and optimistic
  • being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
  • accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
  • having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
  • feeling they have some control over their own life
  • having the strength to cope when something is wrong (resilience) and the ability to solve problems.

 

Most children grow up mentally healthy, but surveys suggest that more children and young people have problems with their mental health today than 30 years ago. That’s probably because of changes in the way we live now and how that affects the experience of growing up’ (mentalhealth.org, 2021).

It is important to remember that we all have mental health. We all have a brain which we need to look after. Most of the time, the majority of us have good mental health, but sometimes our mental health can be affected by things that happen or are happening in our lives. The way we feel can change from one day to the next depending on a number of factors. As long as we talk about our feelings with people we trust and develop ways of helping ourselves when we are having times that make us feel sad or low, we can begin to tackle the way poor mental health can sometimes make us or the people around us feel.

 

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