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Toolbox - Mental Health Awareness Week

Lets Talk Mental Health


What is mental illness?

Mental Illnesses are brain-based conditions that affect thinking, emotions, and behaviors. Since we all have brains – having some kind of mental health problem during our life is really common.

For people who have mental illnesses, their brains have changed in a way in which they are unable to think, feel, or act in ways they want to.

For some, this means experiencing extreme and unexpected changes in mood – like feeling more sad or worried than normal. For others, it means not being able to think clearly, not being able to communicate with someone who is talking to them or having bizarre thoughts to help explain weird feelings they are having.


Handling unusual behavior

The outward signs of a mental illness are often behavioral. A person may be extremely quiet or withdrawn. Conversely, they may burst into tears, have great anxiety or have outbursts of anger.

Even after treatment has started, some individuals with a mental illness can exhibit anti-social behaviors. When in public, these behaviors can be disruptive and difficult to accept.

The next time you and your family member visit your doctor or mental health professional, discuss these behaviors and develop a strategy for coping.

The individual's behavior may be as dismaying to them as it is to you. Ask questions, listen with an open mind and be there to support them.



Top tips for keeping well

1. Share thoughts and feelings with friends, family or a counsellor. Talking your problems through as soon as they appear can really help relieve stress and anxiety.

2. Eat nutritious food, get adequate sleep and exercise regularly. Doing these things can trigger a chain of healing affects – especially when you feel anxious or under stress.

3. Build and maintain your self-esteem. As you work on building your self-esteem you will feel better more often, enjoy your life more than you did before, and do more of the things you have always wanted to do.

4. Learn to relax and spend time doing the things you love to do. There are many relaxation techniques and other methods available to suit personalities and lifestyles, e.g., hobbies, reading and meditation.

5. Seek help. A problem can sometimes be too hard to solve alone – or with friends and family – so it’s important to seek professional help. You can see your family doctor, a community group, a psychiatrist, nurse, occupational therapist, psychologist, social worker or counsellor.

Where to get help?

If you or your employees wish to talk to someone, help is available through the national helplines listed below: 

Mental Health Helpline – 1737
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757
Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865
Healthline 0800 611 116
Samaritans 0800 726 666
Lifeline 0800 543 354