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How much of a priority is your mental well-being? - Life skills

When we think about health, most of us think about ‘physical’ health rather than our mental wellbeing. Our physical health is often at the forefront of numerous campaigns regarding healthy eating and taking regular exercise. Mental health has previously been somewhat overlooked but is currently being thrust into the limelight by a run of successful campaigns on social media, with the additional help of a little ‘Royal’ approval by several of the younger members of the Royal family.

The health of our mind is something we all need to look after even if we don’t feel we areprone to issues with mental health. We can all benefit from a knowledge of the signs and symptoms of becoming mentally unwell so we can recognise it in ourselves and seek support, and to support others. Mental health is related to our thoughts, beliefs and feelings about ourselves and the world and people around us. We all need to strive towards positive mental health which includes developing a resilience for coping with life’s ‘ups and downs’, feeling good about ourselves and those around us as well as feeling self-worth and being able to contribute to the society we live in.

As young people develop their independence and sense of identity they are vulnerable to the many challenges they face. They are undergoing physical and mental changes and are generally coping with peer pressure, studying, relationships and body image. It’s important we teach the relevant skills to manage these pressures. This isn’t just important for young people – modern day life is bringing increasing stresses and strains into all of our lives. We can all benefit from learning coping techniques, no matter what age we are.

One of the biggest issues facing adults ‘looking out’ for a younger person’s well-being, is identifying the difference between teenage angst and mental health problems. There are some signs and symptoms which you can keep in mind which may alert you to the warning signs of a potential problem:

  • Moody and irritable behaviour
  • Low self-esteem
  • Changes in their friendship groups
  • Being withdrawn or isolating themselves
  • Deteriorating school performance
  • Suddenly not taking care of their appearance or disregarding previous hobbies or interests.

Signs and symptoms can vary from person to person. If your gut instinct is something isn’t quite right, then speak up. Don’t disregard yours concerns as interfering – have a chat. Keep the communication channels open and encourage the person to try and express how they feel. Listen, don’t blame, judge, criticise or get angry. Never be afraid to advise about getting additional help. There has never been a better time to educate yourself and others about positive mental health, as more help than ever is available. It is only by educating and making speaking about mental health ‘the norm’ that will break the stigma and help those silently suffering, feel that they can speak up.

Early intervention is the key to preventing more serious problems. Just as a healthy diet and regular exercise can limit your likelihood of a heart attack, a good attitude to mental health and an awareness of your own and those around you could actually be a lifesaver. Always make time for yourself, do something you enjoy and prioritise your own well-being.

Our team of Personal Development Tutors provide excellent support to students, helping them to deal with a range of issues in their lives that impact their ability to study. If you are a current student and need to discuss any issues raised by this article, please speak to your Personal Development Tutor who will make time to listen and support you. 

Make sure you're looking after your mental health. We have a counselling service for students available should you need it. If you're interested in studying mental health as a career path, our health and childcare courses will offer exclusive insights. Browse online now for more details.

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