If you're having mental health problems, you're not alone. One in four of us will have problems with our mental health at some time in our lives.
Stress is the feeling of being under pressure. A little bit of pressure can increase productivity, be motivating and improve performance. However, too much pressure or prolonged pressure can lead to stress, which is unhealthy for the mind and body. It can cause symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, sweating, lack of appetite and difficulty concentrating.
It may be possible to manage short-term stress using relaxation techniques, such as listening to music. Making changes at work or home may also help by removing the cause of stress.
If stress is not treated, it may cause further health problems such as high blood pressure (hypertension), anxiety and depression. These conditions may require further treatment, including medications such as antidepressants or talking therapies such as counselling.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety at some point in their life. For example, you may feel worried and anxious about sitting an exam or having a medical test or job interview.
Feeling anxious is sometimes perfectly normal. However, people with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) find it hard to control their worries. Their feelings of anxiety are more constant and often affect their daily life. There are several conditions for which anxiety is the main symptom. Panic disorder, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder can all cause severe anxiety.
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a long-term condition which causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. People with GAD feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include feeling irritable or worried and having trouble concentrating or sleeping. GAD can significantly affect your daily life, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks. However, several different treatments are available to ease your psychological and physical symptoms.
Depression is a serious illness. Health professionals use the words depression, depressive illness or clinical depression to refer to it. It is very different from the common experience of feeling miserable or fed up for a short period of time. When you’re depressed, you may have feelings of extreme sadness that can last for a long time. These feelings are severe enough to interfere with your daily life, and can last for weeks or months, rather than days.
Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression as men, although men are far more likely to commit suicide. This may be because men are more reluctant to seek help for depression. Depression can affect people of any age, including children. People with a family history of depression are more likely to experience depression themselves. Depression affects people in many different ways and can cause a wide variety of physical, psychological (mental) and social symptoms.
Depression is a real illness with real effects, and it is certainly not a sign of failure.
There is always someone to talk to...
Samaritans offer confidential emotional support 24 hours a day. 08457 90 90 90, www.samaritans.org
For problems like depression or anxiety your GP can ask someone to see you, often at your surgery. If you don't want to talk to your GP, or want more information, you can call Sheffield IAPT service on 0114 226 4380.
Self help resources
For a variety of information translated into a range of languages see Multikulti.