Approximately 1 in 5 people in Northern Ireland will experience a problem with their mental health at some stage in their life.
The remaining 4 people will know someone who is experiencing a mental health problem. This section aims to help you to:
- understand mental health , mental ill-health and mental illness
- give you tips on what to do if you think you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health problem
- List some frequently asked questions
What is mental health?
Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Our mental health is how we think, feel and act. It controls how we manage day-to-day life and stressful situations. It is important we look after both our physical and mental health from infancy through to adulthood.
When our mental health is good, we feel positive and confident. Good mental health helps us cope well with daily challenges. There are certain things we can introduce to our daily life that can help us to maintain a good mental health and can also help during the early signs of mental ill-health. Another way of ensuring a good mental health is by seeking professional help when you need it. Make an appointment to speak to your GP. There are also a range of community based support organisations across NI. Click here for more information.
Everyone has mental health and we can all experience times where we feel less able to deal with stressful situations. Good mental health relates to experiencing positive psychological and emotional well-being. When you feel good mentally, you may feel much more able to achieve your goals and enjoy life.
To stigmatise or discriminate against someone is to treat them unfairly with disgrace or disapproval. People who are stigmatised against are often labelled as ‘different’ and as a result, are excluded and devalued by society.
Stigma can manifest itself in lots of different ways, sometimes its more subtle, other times more obviously.
If you feel that you or someone that you care about is experiencing stigma, it's important that you feel supported to enable you to start tackling it.
Mental health is a complex issue and its easy to become confused and unclear about its impact. What is for sure is that everyone's mental health is important and we want to help anyone who is feeling stigmatised because of poor mental health.
Tackling stigma takes a collective voice to create a lasting, positive change in people’s attitudes towards mental health and better inform people on the facts.
It’s important to understand that recovery is a real possibility for a people who experience mental health difficulties. Because of the stigma associated with mental health, it’s difficult for many people to understand this and this in turn creates labels which can be unhelpful. In mental health, recovery doesn’t always refer to the process of complete recovery, rather for many people, the concept is much more about staying in control of their life and maintaining a balance with mental wellbeing at its centre.
If you feel that your mental health, or that of someone you care about is in poor shape, you can do something about it. Talking about issues that are affecting your mental health can really make a difference and make you feel better.
Experiencing a mental health problem can be very traumatic and isolating. If you suspect someone may be experiencing a mental health problem, mental illness or having suicidal thoughts, talking to them about it may really help in their road to recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions and how you can address them.
Change Your Mind is Northern Ireland’s regional campaign to tackle stigma and discrimination around mental health. It is a joint programme run by Niamh (Northern Ireland Association for Mental Health) and Public Health Agency. We are funded by Comic Relief and work in partnership with a range of organisations and community networks across Northern Ireland.
I find the stigma I experience in relation to living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) comes in the form of a damaging misconception of what the illness actually is.Continue Reading
A year ago I wouldn’t have imagined I would be talking so freely about my mental health. Throughout my life, only a few people have known about my problems and not all of them have known the full extent.Continue Reading
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