World Mental Health Day, first celebrated on 10th October 1992, is a day dedicated to the awareness, education and advocacy against social stigma surrounding mental health issues. On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, Nadia Brooker, Counselling Psychologist at the Priory Wellbeing Centre, Dubai, shares an overview of potential warning signs of mental health deterioration. Whether it’s for yourself, or a friend or family member, below is an overview of the signs you need to keep an eye out for. Some signs might be harder to detect than others, but its important to know what you are looking for as they can all be symptomatic of mental health conditions, such as stress, anxiety and depression:
- Reduced levels of enjoyment
- Poor concentration
- Feelings of despair and guilt
- Low mood
- Changes in sleep and eating patterns
- Racing thoughts
- Upset stomach
- Feeling overwhelmed
The above are all warning signs to look out for and can often be perceived as a ‘cry for help’. If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to put in place some simple steps and coping strategies to help get your mental and emotional wellbeing back on track. Scroll down to see a round up of small changes you can make on a daily basis to help alleviate mental and emotional stress.
A problem shared…
Talking with a friend or relative about the things that are worrying you can help to ‘break them down’ and find a solution. Keeping worries and concerns ‘locked away’ will only make them worse in the long run. Emotional support can release some of the burden and provide a different perspective.
Reduce your consumption of social media
Unrealistic standards and expectations of body image, eating and exercising is rife among social media platforms. This can create a breeding ground for unhealthy and negative comparisons and can lead to an increase in body dissatisfaction, depression, low self-esteem and a tendency to self-harm. Recent studies have shown this is particularly common among young women aged 16-24 years.
Hobbies and interests outside of work or college are key. Team sport and exercise can help improve mental wellbeing and increase resilience to mental health problems. Just 20 minutes a day can have a dramatic impact on mood and sleep patterns.
Strong emotions are normal
Appreciate how it’s perfectly normal and healthy in our lives to experience strong emotions such as sadness, anger, fear and anxiety. Recognise how these don't last and how you can do things to help manage them, such as watching a funny film, talking things through with friends or family, or exercising - even if just going for a walk around the block.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mum, working full-time, or trying to juggle motherhood with a career, having some guilt-free ‘me time’ is a necessity to help us all survive the juggling act of day-to-day life. Just 15-20 mins every day to decompress and unwind can have significant emotional benefits and help engender positive feelings.