Understanding mental health during World Mental Health Day

Today (10 Ocotober) marks World Mental Health Day. It’s important to know how to recognise and understand mental health conditions.

With one in four people experiencing mental illness each year, knowing your body is essential for you to thrive. When life becomes overwhelming, it’s important to understand your mental health.


Life can be challenging, there is no doubt about it. You’ve got a lot on your plate from revising, doing homework, meeting up with friends and participating in extracurricular activities there can be a time where it all gets too much.

Thankfully, as discussions on mental health and wellbeing progress there is help, support and guidance out there for yourself, or someone you know.


Earlier this year, 23 young people from across Scotland came together to celebrate mental health and call on improvements on mental health services for young people. Both SAMH and Young Scot delivered a programme where young people consulted with over 100 organisations, engaged with 120 other young people to create the Youth Commission on Mental Health services.


Speaking openly and honestly about mental health is one sure fire way to reduce stigma and discrimination, which is essential for you to get the assistance you may need. Everyone should feel comfortable to talk about their own mental health – be that the highs or the lows – in order to get the right support and make everyone know that it’s normal to feel down and it’s nothing to be ashamed about.

The commission is a significant step forward for your mental health and wellbeing.

Through discussions, the need for improved transitions from adolescent and adult services was prominent. Calling for such improved services has already been picked up by charities such as SAMH, who created their Going to Be campaign.

It is important to know you are not alone. In fact, three people in every classroom have experienced a mental health condition.

The Going to Be campaign celebrates all the wonderful, exciting achievements you have ahead of you. From acing that test you’ve been revising for all the way to pursuing your dream career – mental health shouldn’t hold you back from this.


When life does become overwhelming there are many free services available that can help you. The Anxiety Coaches, not to be confused with legit coaches, are just like you and I managing life with anxiety. Welcoming people onto their show, the podcast is light and covers a lot of worries that you may be having. Or, when revision is piling up, Meditation Minis is a podcast filled with quick ten-minute meditations that you can use during a free period, or before bed.

Make sure to check out Selfie, too, from lifestyle blogger Sarah James and her bestie Kristen Howerton over at Apple Podcasts. From discussing eating habits, getting enough sleep to the serious and silly topics – distract your self with a ‘Selfie’ or two.

Similarly, breaking down everything you have to do into small manageable pieces can make everything less daunting. If you are feeling pressured from homework or school activities, make a detailed, step-by-step to-do list of everything you have to complete.

We’re not saying this isn’t going to look super scary when you have 30 tasks to finish, however, as it’s all small steps you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll start ticking things off and feeling more in control.

There will be times when even managing your mental health alone isn’t working. In this instance your GP is on hand to provide vital support, referrals or medication if necessary.



Happiness to sadness, our feelings are incredibly powerful. There are times where you might feel incredibly happy, productive and ready to take on the world.

However, when you do start to feel upset, worried, or anxious – there is help available. It can be challenging or confusing to understand how you are feeling, and knowing when it is just a temporary issue, or thoughts and emotions that require medical help. Feelings that you should take notice of include: not feeling yourself, feeling as though something isn’t right, not enjoying activities that you normally would, wanting to be alone all the way to feeling angry or sad.

Opening up is the first step to getting the support you need.


From speaking with a friend you trust, one of your favourite teachers to calling a support line such as YoungMinds, Mind, or even the Samaritans on 116 123 there is someone ready and willing to listen to your thoughts, worries, and fears who will be there to help.

Half of mental health problems in adulthood begin before the age of 14

Depression, self-harm, eating disorders, PTSD or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) are all very common amongst young people and these are feelings you shouldn’t be ashamed of.

Going to your doctor can be a positive step in the right direction.

We’re not saying it won’t be scary going to your doctor – and this might cause you more anxiety – but, your doctor is there to lend a helping hand and point you in the direction of the guidance that will make you feel better.


Mental health is complex and can be confusing. Knowing the signs can help you to reach out and get the support you need. After all, it’s OK not to be OK.

  • Feeling sad or down
  • An overwhelming sense of dread and fear
  • Not feeling joy or
  • Going through extreme mood swings from high to low
  • Sleeping more or less
  • A loss of interest in food, or eating more than you usually would
  • Withdrawing from your friends, family, or activities that you used to enjoy

It’s important to know that different mental health conditions can present a range of symptoms. You can learn more about different symptoms, and the help available, by visiting Young Minds and the Mental Health Foundation, or through the NHS.

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