Spotlight on mental health

The term mental health, like physical health, encompasses a multitude of illnesses and conditions. When first facing mental health challenges, whether you yourself or a friend or relative are affected, it can feel overwhelming; both understanding the conditions and what support is available. This article provides a brief introduction to mental health illnesses and the range of resources available.

Understanding mental health

Mental health issues are very personal and whilst people may group all conditions under this umbrella term, what it encapsulates varies greatly. While the different conditions can be defined, the individual experiences of each condition can be varied.

It is also not uncommon for people facing mental health challenges to experience more than one issue at a time, adding to the uniqueness of each situation. Understanding the specific conditions the individual is facing is an important start to ensure the best treatment path is taken.

Whatever the condition is, there are a range of treatment and management options available. Some conditions can be managed through therapy (such as cognitive behavioural therapy or group therapy) while others may require drug intervention, a combination of both or a more intensive treatment route such as full-time care. There is a wide range of help available and it is important that the right options are identified for each individual.

How can I support?

When someone is facing a mental health challenge they often turn to friends or family before a healthcare professional. If this is the case, even though you may not be qualified or well-versed in their condition, being there to listen and support can provide an invaluable resource. That said, sometimes it is those closest to the person who start to notice the changes and identifying this can be daunting.

Either way, identifying and opening up about how they are feeling can be scary for someone with a mental health issue, but providing a calm and patient forum can be an important first step. This, coupled with an understanding of available resources and support, can help ensure they receive the right help as early as possible.

Engaging with a relevant healthcare professional for their help can provide invaluable assistance in identifying the right management route, however beyond that it is important that you know what care options are available. Depending on the situation, there are different levels of care. Some individuals may need care in the home, for example those suffering from Alzheimer’s can benefit greatly by staying in a familiar environment. While others, such as those suffering from dementia, might need full-time residential care at a specialist care home to ensure their own safety.

Researching the available options, such as those outlined here on ukcareguide.co.uk, will allow you to feel informed about the range of options available before you engage in these sometimes challenging discussions.

What about you?

When supporting someone with a mental health issue or disability it is important that you also protect and manage your own mental health, making sure you too receive the right level of support. There are resources such as www.supportline.org.uk and www.carersuk.org are specially develop to help carers and provide you with a forum.

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