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COMMON MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS

Around one in four people experience a mental health problem each year. Anyone can be affected.


Some of the most common mental health problems are:


  • Anxiety: This involves an ongoing high level of fear, sense of dread and/or worrying that affects your daily life. It may also cause panic attacks and other physical symptoms, such as tense muscles.

  • Depression: This involves a prevalent low mood, and may also include symptoms such as tiredness, appetite changes and reduced ability to concentrate. For some people, it may also result in suicidal thoughts or behaviour.

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): This is an anxiety disorder characterised by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This involves a combination of physical and psychological symptoms following (a) traumatic event(s). Many people with PTSD experience flashbacks which can feel distressing and overwhelming.

  • Eating disorders: This involves controlling food or calorific intake as a way to manage painful feelings. It may also involve obsessive thoughts about food, weight and/or body image.

There are also many other mental health conditions – for more information, visit the Mind website.

Whilst everyone is different, some signs that may indicate a mental health problem include:

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Avoiding eating or being obsessed by food

  • Retreating from or experiencing more conflict in relationships

  • Having little energy

  • Feeling empty or numb

  • Avoiding usual daily activities

  • Feeling irritable, on-edge or constantly worried

  • Struggling with persistent, disturbing thoughts or ideas

  • Experiencing mood swings or emotions that feel out of control

  • Thinking about self-harm or suicide

  • Feeling uncertain what is real


If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms (or something else is causing concern), it’s a good idea to see a GP, counsellor or mental health professional. The NHS also has an online mood self-assessment, which can help you think about and evaluate your mood and feelings over the last couple of weeks.


If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or feel that life is no longer worth living, then please call 999 or speak to the Samaritans on 116 123. There are also a wide range of other mental health websites and organisations which provide non-urgent advice and support.


Mental health problems are extremely common and they can be treated successfully with talking therapies, medications and other lifestyle changes. The important thing is not to feel embarrassed or ashamed about what’s happening, and to seek help as soon as possible.