Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Types of mental health
These are on a continuum, from lower level experiences to diagnosed, clinical disorders.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Borderline personality disorder
Children's mental health
What is mental health?
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.
The emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health. Good mental health allows children and young people to develop the resilience to cope with whatever life throws at them and grow into well-rounded, healthy adults.
Things that can help keep children and young people mentally well include:
- being in good physical health, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
- having time and the freedom to play, indoors and outdoors
- being part of a family that gets along well most of the time
- going to a school that looks after the wellbeing of all its pupils
- taking part in local activities for young people.
Other factors are also important, including:
- feeling loved, trusted, understood, valued and safe
- being interested in life and having opportunities to enjoy themselves
- being hopeful and optimistic
- being able to learn and having opportunities to succeed
- accepting who they are and recognising what they are good at
- having a sense of belonging in their family, school and community
Organisations that can help
- Contact a Family
- Mental Health Foundation
- Family Lives
- CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
- PAPYRUS (Prevention of Young Suicide)
- Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC)