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Introduction:

The Lanarkshire Mental Health & Well-being Site has been created in response to the many people in Lanarkshire who have wanted information to be made more easily available and more accessible. The information is for the general public, people who have mental health care needs, professionals and carers.

What is Mental Health

Mental health is about how people think and feel. How we think and feel affects our overall health, well-being and quality of life. Many factors influence mental health - housing, jobs, schools, transport, the environment - as well as they way we live our lives. Everyone has mental health needs. From time to time, most of us feel stressed, anxious, worried or afraid. We may also have experiences that are very difficult to cope with, such as losing our job, bereavement, or the end of a relationship. Being bullied, sexual or racial harassment, experiencing discrimination because of a mental health problem, not having a voice because we're too young, too old or simply different, can all have an impact on our mental health.

Promoting Our Own Mental Health

Doing something positive can make all the difference - for our own and others mental health:
Accepting ourselves - Our beliefs, background, culture, religion, sexuality and experiences make us who we are. Everyone is entitled to respect.
Accepting others - It's easy to feel threatened by people who are different. You'll feel better and learn more if you can accept others. Everyone has something to offer.
Talking about it - Most people feel isolated and overwhelmed by their problems, sometimes it can help to share your feelings. If you feel there is no one to talk to, you could call a helpline.
Being a good listener - Good listening is a skill. Rather than offering advice, it can help to let the person work things out as they talk. Hear them out, avoid making judgements, check from time to time that you've understood.
Keeping in touch with friends - Friends are important, especially at difficult times. You don't have to be strong and struggle on alone. Be there, and let others be there for you. Be a good friend and neighbour - keep in touch.
Getting involved - Meeting new people and getting involved in things can make all the difference for you and others. Joining a club or offering your services as a volunteer can be rewarding and help you feel less alone.
Drinking in moderation - Drinking alcohol to deal with problems will only make things worse. It's best to drink in moderation and avoid binges. If you're worried about your drinking speak to your doctor.
Taking care with Drugs - Illegal drugs can trigger mental health problems. If you have a drugs problem, talk to someone about it.
Learning new skills - Learning a new skill can increase your confidence whether it's for pleasure, to make new friends or to improve your chances of a job.
Doing something creative - All kinds of creative things can help if you are worried or low in mood. They can also increase your confidence. Music, writing, painting, drawing, poetry, cooking, gardening can all help. Its important to experiment to find something you enjoy.
Relaxing - Try and make time for yourself. Fit things into your day that help you unwind such as reading, listening to music, prayer or meditation. Do what you enjoy or find relaxing.
Keeping active - Regular exercise really helps if you're feeling low in mood or anxious. It can give you more energy too. Find something you enjoy like a team sport, swimming, walking, or dancing.
Asking for help - Everyone needs help from time to time. This can be from friends and family, a support group, faith community or from your local doctor or community mental health team. It's OK to ask for help, even though it can feel difficult.
Surviving - When times are difficult, sometimes all we can do is survive. Take one day at a time and don't be too hard on yourself. Take time out if you need it. If you have a long-term mental health problem, try to plan the care you need with your key-worker and others for when you're less well. (from www.mentality.org.uk)

What is Mental Illness

The term mental health problem is the most common term used to describe mental illness. One in Four people in Lanarkshire (110,000 adults) will have mental health care needs at some point in their life and 75% of us will know someone who has had a mental health problem.

Despite the fact that most people will have some personal experience of mental ill health it remains poorly understood by many. Because of this, many people face prejudice and discrimination in their everyday lives. However, unlike the images often found in books, on television and in films, most people can lead productive and fulfilling lives with appropriate treatment and support. In fact, between 70% and 80% of people who experience mental health problems will recover. It is important to remember that having a mental health problem is not someone's fault, its not a sign of weakness, and its not something to be ashamed of.

In the past 25 years, mental health research has made great strides in the diagnosis and successful treatment of many mental health problems. Common types of mental health problems include depression, anxiety or phobias, less common mental health problems include bi-polar disorder (also called manic depression) and schizophrenia. Treatment can range from self-help such as talking to family and fiends or reading a book to help you understand and deal with problems, to medication and talking therapies.

Where To Go For Help

Speak to your GP if you are worried about your mental health or feel you require help or support. They will be able to arrange translation for you if this is required.

Further Information

If you require further information or want to know more about what support is available in Lanarkshire, Please contact:

Hina Sheikh, Diversity and Equality Co-ordinator, NHS Lanarkshire, 14 Beckford Street, Hamilton, ML3 OTA. Phone 01698 206386
or
e-mail Hina.Sheikh@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk
or
Kevin O'Neill, Mental Health Needs Assessment and Service Development Manager, NHS Lanarkshire, Strathclyde Hospital, Airbles Road, Motherwell, ML1 3BW.
Phone 01698 245000 or
e-mail kevin.oneill@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk

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