COMMENT: Mental health is about how you think and feel and how you deal with life’s ups and downs.Your mental health changes as you experience and learn to cope with life events.

A certain level of stress can be helpful in motivating you to achieve the things you need and want to achieve in you daily life.  However, the level of stress and anxiety can change in response to difficulties in your life, such as losing your job or having money worries and can develop into a more serious health issue, both physical and mental.  If these feelings don’t go away, they can be a sign that you are experiencing a mental health difficulty.

Some common signs to look out for:

Excessive and undue worry
Changes in sleeping or eating habits
Feeling tired all the time
Feelings of apathy
Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
Withdrawing from family and friends and things you usually enjoy doing
Difficulty concentrating and not being able to function with normal daily activities
Major changes in mood

Things you can do to take care of your mental health

Take it one day at a time
Focus on today, plan your day so that at the end of the day you feel you have achieved something.
Talk about it
Speak to your partner or someone you trust, often sharing the burden lessens the worry and someone else’s perspective may be helpful.

Get active and involved
Although you may not feel like it, try to maintain hobbies and take opportunities to meet with friends and family.  This will help you to feel less alone.  Even a small amount of daily exercise is helpful both for your body and your mind.

Eat and sleep well
A balanced diet and regular sleeping patterns will give you more energy and help you to feel more positive.

Ask for help
Sometimes family and friends don’t realise that you need them.  Talk to them and ask them to support you. Often they are glad to be asked and in some cases they may be relieved that you have come to them and they now know that you are having a difficult time.

Reach out for services that might suit you.

By Karen Murphy, psychologist with Turn2Me.

Turn2Me provide a completely confidential online counselling service, that you can access from the comfort of your own home via the internet. Today is World Mental Health Day. 

Check out where you can avail of its Engage Programme, supported by Agriland, which is a free eight-week professional support service. If you are feeling overwhelmed by sadness, despair or have suicidal thoughts and need immediate professional help, contact your local GP.