Thursday, 16 July 2015

Your Mental Health

Image result for happy people

Your Mental Health

Good mental health is one of the most important aspects of general wellbeing. It should not be ignored or thought of as a taboo subject. At some point in life most people will face a challenge with their mental health and it is important to have the right information and tools to help deal with these, whether it be stress, anxiety, depression, a pre-existing problem, a medical condition, grief or family disruption. This is an overview of the most common conditions affecting mental wellbeing.

 Tips for good mental wellbeing

  • Learn how to minimise and manage stress and anxiety.
  • Talk about feelings. Don’t be afraid to admit something is wrong.
  • Know where help and support is available.
  • Notice signs and symptoms early.

How do hormones fit in?

Hormones have an effect on all women’s lives. They influence all aspects of life from puberty, pregnancy and birth to the menopause. Hormones are thought to have a role in PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome). Also the change in levels of hormones as women get older due to the menopause can also affect the way women feel about life and influence mood and emotion.

Stress and anxiety

Image result for talking to doctors about depression

Stress and anxiety are often interlinked and two of the most common factors affecting mental health. It is important to be aware of how to manage these if they occur. Left unresolved they can lead to further problems and possibly depression.
Anxiety is a described as a general feeling of unease. Stress is described as the body’s response to events or demands that cause tension, concern and in some cases anxiety. It is normal to feel anxious or stressed from time to time especially if faced with a stressful or frightening situation. However, if this lasts for a long period of time and interferes with ‘normal’ life then this is considered as severe.

Symptoms of stress and anxiety:
  • Lack of concentration
  • Change in appetite
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia)
  • Loose stools or diarrhoea
  • Dry mouth
  • Palpitations or fast heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Shaking
  • Headaches or muscle pain
  • Feeling irritable or angry
  • A feeling of being out of control or being detached from surroundings
  • Feeling anxious about everyday tasks or functions and needing to control these
  • Dependence on alcohol, drugs or any other substances or actions in order to function
  • Lack of libido- sex drive

Tips for self help and treatment
  • Identify the cause. By doing this strategies can be put in place to try and reduce and manage the stress or anxiety.
  • Talk about it. Sharing these feelings can often help
  • Try and make changes
  • Excercise regularly
  • Make time for sleep and relaxation
  • Have a regular balanced diet
  • Minimise caffeine, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol
  • Try and have time away from the trigger

Seek help from a GP or healthcare professional who can assess and offer advice and will refer on to a specialist for counselling and management tips if needed. In certain circumstances medication maybe also be considered.


Depression can be devastating for women and their families it is a genuine illness, but with the right support and treatment most people make a full recovery. More women suffer than many people imagine. It is more than just a feeling of being sad for a few days. It is a persistent feeling for weeks or months, even years. There can be many triggers such as: severe stress and anxiety, grief, relationship difficulty, illness or a significant change in circumstance. One of the most common life events that can trigger it in women is pregnancy and birth.

Symptoms of any type of depression can include:

  • Persistently low mood
  • Sadness
  • Feeling of inadequacy
  • Feeling in a ‘dark’ mood
  • Feeling alone
  • Guilt
  • Lack of energy/fatigue
  • Insomnia- not sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Reduced ability to concentrate
  • Anxiety- feeling anxious
  • Irritability
  • Loss of connection with society or family
  • Anger
  • Suicidal thoughts

Tips for Self-help and treatment

  • Exercise regularly
  • Make time for sleep and relaxation
  • Have a regular balanced diet
  • Minimise caffeine, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol
  • Family/friend support- if possible, try to engage socially with an extended network
  • Think about a new hobby or activity
  • Talking about feelings to a partner, family or friends
  • Cut out or minimise caffeine, drugs, cigarettes and alcohol

Seek help from a GP or healthcare professional who can assess and offer advice and refer on to a specialist for counselling and management tips. If needed, medication maybe considered.

Image result for happy women

Other mental health conditions

There are many more mental health conditions that can affect women like Bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. These are also more common than many people imagine and there are many misconceptions about these conditions. With the correct treatment and support many people with these conditions can live stable lives. 

Previous articles: