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A to Z Mental Health

Introduction to A to Z Mental Health

Mental health covers a wide spectrum, which is why we have created this A-Z of mental health topics, so you can search for information about an area of mental health that is most relevant to you.

Simply type your keywords into the search bar and we will guide you to the right information.

A to Z Mental Health Search Bar

Addiction  - A dependency on a substance or behaviour detrimental to your everyday life.

Anxiety and Panic Attacks - Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. We can all feel anxious at times, in situations where we are nervous or unsure of what is about to happen. Sometimes anxiety, to a certain extent, is a good thing as it allows to be cautious in times of potential danger. Anxiety may be a mental health problem if your feelings are very strong, last long or if the anxiety you feel isn’t allowing you to continue with day to day life.

Anger - Anger is an emotion that all of us feel. It can be particularly predominant in times where we feel that we are being mistreated, attached or misjudged. Anger isn’t necessarily a negative feeling as it can sometimes aid us in defending ourselves or identifying problems. Anger becomes a problem when it is a feeling that you experience a lot of the time, sometimes unprovoked, or if anger causes you to lash out physically in a way that can harm yourself or others. If this is the case for you, reach out for help in the form of talking therapies or anger management.

Autism and mental health - Autism is a developmental disability that affects how people communicate and experience the world around them. It isn’t a mental health problem although according to the autism research charity Autistica, seven out of ten autistic people have a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Bipolar disorder - Everyone has changes in their mood, but with bipolar disorder, these changes can be extreme, and overwhelming and have a big impact on your life. Typically, those with bipolar, experience bouts of depression (extreme low mood) and mania (feeling high and overactive). If you are experiencing these symptoms, you can visit your GP to discuss a treatment plan and/or look for talking therapies which might help to target specific symptoms such as depression.

Bullying - Whilst bullying is not a mental health problem, it can be the root cause of mental health conditions particularly in children and young adults. Bullying typically occurs at home, school or in the workplace and can be described as persistent, aggressive, and unwanted behaviour towards an individual whom a bully is trying to make feel inferior. No one should have to put up with bullying, so it is important to speak out when you feel as though you are being targeted.

Bulimia nervosa - Bulimia is an eating disorder and mental health condition. People with bulimia nervosa have an unhealthy eating cycle. They tend to eat a lot of food (binge) and then do something to avoid weight gain, such as vomiting or taking laxatives (purge). If you think that you have Bulimia or any eating disorder, speak with your GP as a matter of urgency. You can also talk to an adviser from the eating disorders charity Beat by calling their adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

Bereavement - Bereavement is the experience of losing someone which can trigger the emotional response characterised as grief. We all grieve in different ways and for different lengths of time. Bereavement can sometimes encourage mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety as your bodies response to losing/missing someone. Talking therapies can help to ease these feelings. There are also specific bereavement counsellors that can aid you in overcoming your grief.

Borderline Personality Disorder – Also known as BPD, is a disorder which can affect how you think and feel and cause instability to your mood and behaviour.

Confidence and Self-Esteem - Confidence is necessary to make decisions, communicate and attain a level of control of our lives, whilst self-esteem is a measure of how you perceive yourself and your worth.

Children and young people - Mental health problems affect around one in six children. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder (a type of behavioural problem) and are often a direct response to what is happening in a child/young person’s life. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health in children and young people. The Lucy Rayner Foundation offers FREE Youth Mental Health First Aid training for primary and secondary schools as well as running occasional ‘Supporting Your Families Wellbeing’ parents’ workshops. If you would like more information, contact training@thelucyraynerfoundation.com.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) - Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you understand how your thoughts and actions affect how you feel. CBT then works to adapt the way you think and behave. It is most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression but is also useful for many other conditions.

Crisis care - Anyone can experience a mental health crisis. In a crisis, you may feel like you can’t carry on. You may be at risk of hurting yourself or trying to take your own life. It’s vital to get help immediately. If you believe you are in a mental health crisis dial 999 or go to your local A and E facility. Alternatively, if you need someone to talk to, you can contact a Samaritan by calling 116 123.

Depression - We all have times when we feel down or upset. Depression can be categorised as more than feeling sad or fed up for a few days. It causes a low mood that lasts a long time and affects your daily life. Hopelessness, feeling tired, tearful, loss of appetite and sex drive are just a few symptoms which you may experience if you are depressed.

Discrimination at Work –  Being treated differently due to pre-conceived prejudice. May be due to many things, including mental health problems, race, sexual orientation, religion, gender or political beliefs.

Eating disorders - Having an eating disorder means having a difficult relationship with food. This can include eating too little or too much or becoming fixated with your weight or shape. You may use food as a coping mechanism or a way to feel in control. If you think that you have an eating disorder, speak with your GP as a matter of urgency. You can also talk to an adviser from the eating disorders charity Beat by calling their adult helpline on 0808 801 0677 or youth helpline on 0808 801 0711.

Exam stress - During exam season at school, children and young adults are bound to feel stressed and/or worried about how they will perform. This can be heightened by increased levels of pressure from figures at home and school. Extreme exam stress can cause bouts of anxiety and depression which can actually affect their performance by adapting their eating and sleeping habits. If you are feeling stressed about your exams, you are not alone! If you are aged between 14 and 39, and feel as though you need help throughout the exam period, why don’t you refer yourself to our counselling service and receive some extra support? Head to our counselling page for the online referral form. You should also reach out to friends, family or teachers and let them know that you’re struggling. Whilst revising is the best way to increase your performance in an exam, it’s also important that you implement frequent breaks into your study schedule and find time for self-care.

Feelings – Feelings affect our emotional state and often dictate our behaviour.

Friends with mental health - If you believe your friend is suffering with their mental health then it is important that you reach out to them and show your support. Some people may not want support at that moment, but just knowing that you are ready and waiting to listen will be enough to show them that they are not alone. If your friends do decide to open up to you about their mental health then it is important that you listen intently and show no judgement. Try not to rationalise anything they are saying, or constantly look for a solution, just LISTEN. Sometimes, when our friends are telling us about something that is upsetting them, we spend so much time thinking about what we should say next, or how we can help that we look as though we are disengaged. This can make your friend feel disconnected and make it look as though you are uninterested in what they are saying. As soon as that trust and connection is lost, your friend will resist opening up to you meaning you will lose the opportunity to support them in their struggles.

Gambling and mental health - Many of us place the odd bet or play the lottery, but for some people, gambling can become an addiction and affect the individual’s mental health seriously. CBT can help those suffering with a gambling addiction. If you think you need support contact your GP or seek Talking therapies.

Hoarding – An inability to throw things away, often resulting in extreme volumes of clutter that have a detrimental effect on someone’s standard of living.

Help someone else seek help

It’s really hard to watch someone you love, suffer with their mental health. Luckily, there are a number of things that you can do to nurture and support someone who you believe to be suffering. Take a look at the list below to see what you can do:

  • Let them know that you have noticed that they have been showing signs of poor mental health and explain that you are here for them if they want to talk.
  • Try not to act differently around them as this can make them feel like ‘the odd one out’ and can enable their mental health concerns to isolate them around those that make them feel safe.
  • Sometimes, people don’t want advice, they just want someone to listen. If someone is disclosing information to you about their mental health, make an effort to actively listen with no interjections and no judgement. Take a look at ‘Active Listening’ in the ‘A’ section to see how you can show someone you are really listening to what they are saying.
  • Suggest some ways that the individual can help themselves. Perhaps they can refer themselves to one of our services, whether that is free counselling or attending one of our support groups. Self-care is also a great way for them to start looking after themselves towards recovery.
  • Make sure you are supporting yourself too. It can be really challenging looking out for someone who is suffering and even more challenging if you are not taking care of yourself simultaneously. Implement self-care into your routine and seek talking therapy if you need someone to offload to.

Long-term physical conditions and mental health - Long-term physical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or asthma can significantly affect your mental health. These conditions can leave an individual feeling hopeless or lacking in motivation and can sometimes lead to mental health issues such as depression.

LGBTLQ+ support – There are many research studies to suggest that those within the LGBTQIA+ community are more likely to suffer with mental health problems. Unfortunately, this is primarily down to social circumstances such as homophobia, stigma and discrimination.

Please remember that no matter your age, sexuality, sexual orientation or race, you deserve just as much support and respect as anyone else.

If you are looking for specialist support, please feel free to use any of our support services or contact us by emailing info@thelucyraynerfoundation.com so that we can direct you to other specialist organisations who can support you further.

Learning disabilities – A learning disability is a reduced ability to understand and learn new things. If you had a learning disability you may also struggle with everyday tasks such as household tasks, socialising, managing money, coordinating movements or giving direct attention.

Although a learning disability is not a mental health problem, people with learning disabilities may be more likely to suffer with their mental health as it can make them feel isolated and unable to engage fully in social situations. They may also face negative attitudes and prejudice from other people which can largely affect someone’s mental health and their ability to function in day-to-day life.

If you have a learning disability and find yourself struggling with your mental health, please feel free to use one of our support services or email us on info@thelucyraynerfoundation.com so we can point you in the direction of specialist support.

Medication for mental health problems - Your doctor may offer you medication to treat your mental illness. Medication can significantly improve your symptoms, although you may experience side effects. It is a good idea to access and try all different types of therapy to see what works best for you. Your GP can give more information on mental health medication and whether this would or wouldn’t be appropriate.

Men and mental health - In England, around one in eight men have a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you are a man suffering with your mental health, The Lucy Rayner Foundation runs a men’s group which anyone is welcome to join. The details are as follows: Every Monday (Via Zoom & Meeting ID: 870 0163 5558) and every Tuesday face to face (At Salford’s Village Hall) 7pm-8pm. To enquire, email info@thelucyraynerfoundation.com.

Mindfulness  - A mental state in which you are focused on the present moment.

Money and mental health - Being in a position where you are worrying about money can significantly affect your mental health. The good thing is that there are many ways in which you can alter your situation or even just change your mindset when it comes to thinking about money. If you are struggling, it is imperative that you reach out and find support from those who can help.

You could:

  • Speak to friends and family about your monetary concerns and see if they can help or give you some valued advice.
  • Contact citizens advice if you are struggling to pay your bills.
  • Contact your service providers and let them know that you are struggling to pay your bills. Sometimes they can alter your direct debit/monthly payments to better suit your financial situation.
  • Sit down and write out your monthly budget so you can fully understand what you can and can’t afford.

Take a look at the ‘News’ section of our website to look at the ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ entry written by Keith Prancer.

Nature for mental health  - How the natural world can improve our mental wellbeing. There are many research studies to suggest that being in nature can significantly improve your mental health. It is believed that surrounding yourself with a natural setting can reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and stress. If you feel as though your mental health is dipping, why don’t you go for a walk? Or find your nearest park and go for a picnic?

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder involving distressing thoughts and repetitive behaviours. Many people use the term far too loosely to describe someone that likes to keep things clean and in order. This can be damaging to those who actually are suffering with the disorder as it downplays a disorder that can seriously affect someone’s day to day life.

Panic attacks - A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense fear. It can come on quickly and for no apparent reason. If you are having a panic attack, you might experience any of the following symptoms:
- Increased heart rate.
- Feeling faint or dizzy.
- Intense change in heat (Hot or Cold).
- Nausea.
- Chest Pain.
- Choking sensation, or struggling for breath.
- Sweating and/or shaking.

Physical health and mental health - We often think of our mind and body as separate, but our mental health and physical health are interconnected. It has been proven that physical exercise is a great way to relieve stress and better your mental health. Exercise can aid us in releasing serotonin which is a hormone associated with happiness. A lot of those that struggle with clinical depression are told to start exercising as a way to boost their mood.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is An anxiety disorder that you may develop after experiencing a traumatic or life-threatening event. If you had PTSD, you may find yourself continuously reliving the traumatic event through nightmares or flashbacks. PTSD can cause you to feel isolated, guilty or aggressive and can affect your sleep and day to day functioning.

Postnatal depression - Postnatal depression is a type of depression many people experience after having a baby. It’s not the same as the ‘baby blues’: it needs treatment so you can recover. Symptoms of Postnatal depression include, but are not exclusive to the following:
- Feeling tearful all the time.
- Loss of interest in things you would normally engage in.
- Lack of energy and feeling sluggish.
- Change in your eating habits (under or over eating).
- Feeling as though you are incapable of looking after your baby.
- Problems bonding with your baby.
- Increased feelings of anxiety.

Relaxation techniques

When feeling anxious or stressed your body may react by getting physically tense or your heart rate may start to increase. To avoid crisis in the form of a panic attack or mental overwhelm, we would suggest that you try to relax your body. There are a number of relaxation techniques that can be used to release tension in your body and reduce your heart rate. Exercises such as Yoga are a great way to release muscular tension and taking the time to focus on your breath will help significantly with reducing your heart rate.

You could try the following breathing pattern to help your body relax:

  • Breathe in for a slow 4 counts.
  • Hold your breath for a slow 4 counts.
  • Breathe out for a slow 6 counts.

Self-care is also a brilliant way to relax. Take a look at our self-help tips which suggests ways in which you can implement self-care into your daily routine.

Self-harm - Self-harm is when you hurt yourself on purpose. You may self-harm if you’re feeling overwhelmed by intense feelings and feel as though you need to find a way to cope. Many people also self-harm as a way to regain control in situations where they feel out of control. If you are self harming, ensure that you know how to do so safely and make sure you have the appropriate materials to keep your wounds clean and safe. There are many things that you can actively try that might stop you from self-harming. Why not try:
- Breathing exercises to calm yourself and reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Wear an elastic band on your wrist and when you feel the urge to self harm, ping the band on your wrist.
- Use a red pen to draw on your wrist, or the place in which you self harm instead of hurting yourself.
- Try and think about when you self harm and whether this is a trigger response for certain emotions that you experience.
- Reach out for help. Speak to friends, family or someone you trust about what you are doing.
- If you are aged between 14 and 39, apply for free counselling through The Lucy Rayner Foundation.
- Attend one of out weekly support groups (Men’s Group or Women’s Group).

Sleep and mental health - We all need to sleep well to help our bodies recover from the day and allow healing to occur. According to Sleep Foundation, people of different ages need different amounts of sleep. Please see below:
- 6-13 Years Old: 9-11 Hours.
- 14-17 Years Old: 8-10 Hours.
- 18-25 Years Old: 7-9 Hours
- 26-64 Years Old: 7-9 Hours.
- 65+: 7-8 Hours.
Lack of sleep can affect the body in a number of ways. If you aren’t getting enough sleep you may experience low mood, memory issues, lack of concentration, low libido, weight gain, anxiety and depression.

Stress - Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or being unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Stress can affect our body physically as well as mentally so it is really important to stay on top of these feelings and try our best to cope. If you are feeling particularly stressed you might experience irritability, feelings of overwhelm, feeling nervous or anxious, jaw clenching, stomach problems, exhaustion, headaches and dizziness just to name a few.

Suicidal thoughts - Many people will experience suicidal thoughts within their lifetime. In fact, it has been said that one in five of us thinks about suicide at some point during our lives. Please remember, if this is you, that you are not alone, and these feelings won’t last. It is important to know WHY you feel the way you do and WHAT would help these feelings to subside. The Lucy Rayner Foundation offers free counselling for all young adults aged between 14 and 39 and we run a number of support groups for all ages that can help you if you are feeling suicidal. If you feel as though you are a danger to yourself then please call 999 or visit your local A&E facility. If you are feeling suicidal and you just want someone to talk to you can call a Samaritan by ringing 116 123.

Social Media and mental health - Multiple studies have found a strong link between the use of social media and an increased risk for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, self-harm, and even suicidal thoughts. Social Media can create an intense feeling of inadequacy and comparison within people’s lives. We believe it is important to remember that someone’s social media page is purely a ‘highlight’ reel of someone’s lives and no matter how someone looks, where they live, or how much money they have, we ALL suffer with our own mental health problems and no one is exempt from times of struggle.

Talking therapies - Talking therapies can help you deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes. Talking therapy is recommended for those struggling with any mental health condition, particularly anxiety, depression, OCD, Eating disorders, Suicidal thoughts. The Lucy Rayner Foundation offers free counselling for all young adults in the UK aged between 14 and 39 and we also run weekly support groups for all ages which are run by our fully trained counsellors.

Talking to your GP about your mental health - Your doctor is there for your mental health as well as your physical health. It’s not always easy to start the conversation, but it’s always ok to ask for help. Your GP can then refer you to specialists who have the specific training to deal with your specific problem. Asking for help is the first step to recovery.

Trauma – The aftermath of a distressing event can leave a person with emotional repercussions that can require support.

Women and mental health - In England, around one in five women have a common mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or self-harm. Over a quarter (26%) of young women aged between 16–24 years old report having a common mental health problem in any given week. If you are a woman struggling with your mental health, why don’t you join our weekly Women’s Group, available for all ages? Details are as follows:
Why not join us from 7 to 8pm even Wednesday on Zoom?
Meeting ID: 863 0524 2478 or face to face @Like2box in Redhill with limited spaces. If you would like to join pleas email us on info@thelucyraynerfoundation.com.

Wellbeing - Wikipedia defines wellbeing as ‘what is intrinsically valuable relative to someone. So the well-being of a person is what is ultimately good for this person, what is in the self-interest of this person’. There are many ways that we can improve our wellbeing such as physical exercises, journalling, talking therapy and finding time for self care.

Get in Touch

Our friendly team are here to talk to you. Call us on 01737 886551 to book an appointment. . Alternatively, email us at info@ssbs.org.uk and a member of our team will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.

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