You and your mental health

Keeping it together is the name of the game

You have heard lots about your mental health and will hear lots more in the years to come. It’s all good stuff but sometimes the terms used and advice given can be a little overwhelming. Let’s see if we can make things even just a little bit clearer for you

Let’s define ‘Mental Health’  

Basically, it means your ability to live your life and interact with your friends and family in a positive way. Mental health includes your sense of wellbeing and how much control you feel you have over your life, helping you to be able to cope with new and different situations, and make good decisions when you are there.

Mental health, like our physical health, can change around. We get some bad or sad news, it’s perfectly normal to feel bad or sad. We get stressed when exams are coming, or down if we are benched for Saturday’s game or even really down if dumped by our boy/girlfriend. These are, believe it or not, normal reactions. It’s how we get through these that shows just how mentally healthy you are.

You are not on your own

The chances are really high that at some time you will meet or know someone suffering with a mental illness. It’s estimated that one-in-five adults will have been affected at some point by one, and one-in-twelve of your teenage mates will have some type of depression (the most common mental illness). The good news is the chances are just as high that they will get through it.  

Take a look at a huge list of famous folk who have suffered from some form of mental illness

What to do if you're worried

It is important that you are able to recognise that you are “off your game”, and really important that you do something about it.

  • You can start with your doctor or the student health service if you are studying. Make an appointment and just be open and honest with them. They have to keep everything you tell them confidential and treat you as they would any other patient.
  • The Lowdown. This interactive site features a self-test, fact sheets, a moderated message board and video clips from popular musicians and high profile young sports people recounting their experiences of depression. You are likely to have seen Sir John Kirwan talking about this site on tv.
  • SPARX is a self-help computer programme for young people with symptoms of depression. SPARX uses a 3D fantasy game environment and a custom-made soundtrack to teach skills to manage symptoms of depression (eg, dealing with negative thoughts, problem-solving, activity scheduling, and relaxation).
  • Youthline. Established to ensure young people know where to get help and can access support when they need it. Check out their Good2Great app.

Here are a bunch of other sites that may be of help in getting you back on your game.

What if you’re game is great but a mate is having a shocker?

You can help and here is a good place to start.

Find out more about looking after yourself