Sometimes life can seem too busy to stop and think about our mental health. However, everyone feels stressed, angry, anxious or low at some time or other. It is important not to ignore these feelings and allow them to build up. This section has some simple advice on how to manage some of these feelings.
Are you stressed, concerned, worried, low, angry, anxious or depressed?
Sometimes we don’t notice stress but we feel it in our bodies. Do any of these fit the way you feel just now?
- Dry mouth
- Stiff neck and shoulders
- Fast heartbeat
- Lack of energy
- Unable to sleep
- Unable to concentrate
- Getting sick easily
- Not bothered about eating
- Eating more than usual
These may be signs that you need to pay attention to your mental health.
Sometimes we get so stressed we forget to breathe! Try this right now.
- Breathe in slowly for TEN SECONDS
- Hold it for TWO SECONDS
- Slowly breathe all the way our for TEN SECONDS
- Hold it for TWO SECONDS
- Repeat this three or four times
Use this when you just can’t think of what to do. It’s easier to think with a calm head.
What’s the problem?
Write a list of things that you want, or things that are bothering you. Then try to think of something that you can do about it, like a next step. Sometimes a small change can make a big difference. If you’re stuck, have a browse through this website to see if it gives you any ideas.
If you’re struggling with something, it’s important to TALK. There is always someone there to talk to, even if you feel like no one will listen. People can tell the difference between “moaning” and really asking for help and support. You may be surprised how helpful it is just to tell someone else about it. If the person you talk to isn’t helpful, don’t give up and try finding another source of help. Here are some of the people you might like to talk to:
- Friends are a very important source of support for many young people, they may have had similar experiences to you, and they care about how you feel.
- Family and carers: Explain to them how you feel. Educate them! Slamming doors doesn’t help anyone.
- Another trusted adult: This means a family friend or relative, someone who you know well and are sure you can trust.
- Guidance staff/school counsellors: Make sure school knows if you are having a hard time. They may make allowances if your grades aren’t what they were.
- Youth advice worker/counsellor can provide advice and support.
- Social worker/police officer: These people have a legal duty to make sure you are okay. They can take action on your behalf to help you. They should also listen to what you want, and help you to feel in control.
- Doctor/GP: If you are worried about your mental health or feeling very low, your doctor will be able to help by prescribing treatment or referring you to the service that is right for you. Even if you are under 16, your doctor has to take your views into account before giving treatment or talking to your parents. For more information about this visit www.hris.org.uk/index.aspx?o=1029 and download the leaflet called “Consent: your rights”.
- Helplines: There are a huge number of helplines available for all sorts of problems. We’ve listed various helplines below.
Are you a good listener? Being there for someone at the right time can be a huge help. You might even make a friend for life. Here are some tips:
- You don’t always have to offer advice. Often just listening is the best policy.
- Don’t rush people to confide in you. They will do it in their own time.
- Don’t interrupt or give your own interpretation of what they’ve said.
- Take them seriously.
- Don’t tell anyone else about what they say unless they ask you to, unless it’s something really serious like abuse or a suicide attempt.
- Look for the warning signs that someone is finding it hard to cope. If you think someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, ask them! They may be relieved that they didn’t have to say it first.
- Tell the person you’re listening to if it’s getting too much for you. This doesn’t make you a bad person. You can suggest they speak to a helpline, support worker, teacher or other professional.
- Get support for yourself. Even professional counsellors have to talk to someone. You shouldn’t have to bottle stuff up.
If Things Aren’t Going Well
1 in 4 people experience mental ill health at some time in their lives. This doesn’t make you a “psycho” or mean you are “sick”. There are many things in life which can cause people to feel angry, upset, or depressed:
- Family break-ups
- Breaking up with boyfriend or girlfriends
- Arguments with friends
- Moving house
- Stress at school or work
- Domestic abuse
- Money problems
Some LGBT Plus people may also experience:
- Bottling feelings up inside
- Trouble with “coming out”
- Losing friends and family
- Homophobia or transphobia
- Difficulty coming to terms with sexuality or gender identity
It’s not just the individual who is affected by mental illness, but family and friends too. If someone close to you is experiencing mental ill-health, make sure you get support too.
People cope with their emotions in different ways. Some people may cope by:
- Taking exercise
- Talking to their friends
- Getting professional help
- Writing a diary
- Listening to music
- Meditating or praying
- Pampering themselves
Some people cope in more harmful ways:
- Taking drugs
- Getting drunk
- Cutting themselves
- Taking overdoses
- Eating very little
- “Bingeing” on food and then being sick
- Having risky sex
This sort of coping can make you feel better in the short term, but in the long term it may make things worse. There is support available if you struggle with any of these issues. Some of these can be found here.
There are lots of organisations out there which aim to ensure that no one has to face a mental health problem alone. Some of the more prevalent mental health issues and associated support agencies are listed below.
You may have been told that you or someone you know has a mental illness, such as depression, manic depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, a phobia, or an eating disorder (like anorexia or bulimia). This can be hard to deal with, but with the right kind of help most people who have mental illness are able to get on with their lives. Sometimes people may have to take medication or have other treatments, go to hospital, or get “sectioned”. You can find more information in the websites listed below.
Stigma and labelling can have a negative impact on mental health, or make existing mental health problems worse. People may not understand what it means to be LGBT Plus or what it means to have a mental health problem, and they may judge you or say things about you. You may feel isolated, worthless, or have low self-esteem. This is not okay. Often people are just ignorant about what certain names mean, and say things which are hurtful. It may help to explain it to them, but you don’t have to do this alone. Seek support if you are experiencing discrimination.
- Change our minds – Information and advice about emotional well-being.
- Living life to the full – An interactive life skills resource aimed at helping you to respond to life challenges.
- see me – Challenge the stigma of mental ill-health.
- SANE – Practical information, crisis care and emotional support to anybody affected by mental health problems.
- Wellscotland – Aims to raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues.
- Penumbra – Provides a wide range of support services for adults and young people across Scotland.
- Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) – Scotland’s leading mental health charity.
- MIND – Provide direct support around mental health issues.
Sometimes things may seem so bad that you think about killing yourself. Many people feel suicidal at times in their life, and it’s okay to tell someone about it. The best person to talk to is your doctor (GP), but you might also talk to any trusted person, such as a guidance teacher, youth worker, counsellor, parent or friend.
- Choose Life – The national strategy and action plan to prevent suicide in Scotland.
- Samaritans – Support for those who may be feeling suicidal.
- Breathing Space – Service for people in Scotland experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety.
- Cruse – Bereavement care
- Action on Depression – Scotland’s national charity for depression.
- Bipolar UK – Supporting people affected by bipolar.
- Anxiety UK – Works to relieve and support those living with anxiety disorders.
- No Panic – National organisation for phobias, anxiety, neurosis, information and care.
- Rethink – Challenging attitudes and changing lives.
- B-eat – UK wide charity providing information, help and support for people affected by eating disorders.
- National Self-Harm Network – A survivor-led organisation campaigning for the rights and understanding of people who self-harm.
Addiction, Drugs and Alcohol
- Al Anon/Alateen – Offers understanding and support for families and friends of problem drinkers whether the sufferer is still drinking or not.
- Drinkline – Telephone 0800 917 8282, Mon-Fri 9am-11pm. Offers confidential information and advice about drinking and local contacts.
- Know The Score – Providing facts about drugs and their effects.
- Talk To Frank – National Drugs Helpline.
- Sex Addicts Anonymous – Help to recover from sexual addiction or dependency.
- Gamblers Anonymous – Provides advice and support on gambling.
- GamCare – Advice and support on gambling for young people.
If you would like more information or support with mental health
- Counselling-Directory – a website providing an overview over counsellors in your local area and how to contact them.
- Mind – Information and support on mental health issues, including how to get help.
0845 766 0163
- SeeMe – Information about national campaigns