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Mental health

If you aren’t feeling yourself at the moment – remember you are not alone. With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in the course of a year, there is so much information and support out there to help you. You might feel isolated or lonely – but there is plenty of help available.

The more we are open and talk about mental health problems, the more we understand why we are feeling a certain way – and this knowledge is the first step to feeling better.

Local advice and support

School

Your secondary school will run a confidential drop-in health service, supporting you with any emotional and general health issues you may have. For more info, please contact Michelle Langan on 0151 666 4123 or by email.

View the schools' weekly health timetable

Kooth

A free online counselling service for young people

Response

A free and confidential counselling service for young people aged between 13-19. Call them on 0151 666 4123, or send them an email, and they will help you.

The Open Door Centre

The Open Door Centre is a free mental health service based in Liscard, offering tailored treatment to young people with depression or anxiety 

Quick facts:

The important thing to remember is that a bit of worrying about ‘stuff’ is normal and part of being human, just like being positive and upbeat.

  1. Mental health problems are found in people of all ages, religions and countries.
  2. Women are more likely to be treated for a mental health problems than men, as men generally find it harder to talk about how they are feeling
  3. Anxiety and depression (worrying to excess and feeling very low) are the most common mental health issues in Britain.
  4. Around 20% of children have a mental health issue in any given year, but these are usually resolved through talking to someone trusted.

Types of mental health problems:

There are many different types of mental health problems, ranging from anxiety and stress to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Serious problems are less common, and many symptoms are easy to treat. We have used the MIND charity website to give you some information on some common problems. There is also a more detailed list on the website. Some words, such as ‘disorder,’ can sound scary, but many can be treated by talking and learning.

Ways to look after your mental health:

There’s lots you can do to help prevent and relieve the physical and emotional symptoms of mental health struggles. These things can help you gain more control over how you are feeling, and sometimes just knowing that you are doing something to help you feel better can give you a good feeling :-)

Talk

It’s not always easy to talk about how you feel, but with mental health problems being so common, you’ll often find that people understand more than you think they will. These conversations can develop naturally, or you can ask someone to talk things through – perhaps a friend or family member. If this doesn’t feel right, you could try a school nurse or teacher, or go and visit your doctor.

Exercise

Exercise will release chemicals in your brain to make you feel good – that’s a fact! If you’re feeling angsty or nervous, it can calm your system down and help you sleep better afterwards. It can also help you to be healthier and feel good about yourself on the outside and inside. You might want to start playing football or tennis, or going for a run or walk. Whatever you do – try not to tell yourself you can’t do it, as practice really does make perfect!

Did you know that young people in Wirral under the age of 18 can access Teen Invigor8 for just £15 per month? It gives you access to public swimming, teen-specific gym classes, outdoor and indoor tennis, and more!

Eat. Well.

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel, for example caffeine and sugar can instantly make us feel more anxious because they increase our heart rate. A diet including oily fish, wholegrain cereals or bread, nuts and seeds, and fruit and veg, is good for physical and mental health. Plus lots of water!

Take a break

Sometimes, the world can wait. If you’re really tired, let yourself nod off (maybe not at your desk!). Getting enough sleep will make you feel much better. Sometimes going to bed with a book or some music can help you to switch off. For eight hours of quality sleep, turn off appliances at least an hour before bed. Relax - a shower or bath can help – listen to relaxing music… whatever it takes to get your head into downtime mode.

If you can, a change of scene can also be good – but music and reading can also help to transport your mind to another place, from your chair!

Reading Well

Did you know that reading well can help you cope with the pressures of life, feel better about yourself, and boost your confidence?

Wirral Libraries’ ‘Reading Well’ books have been chosen by young people and health experts to help you with difficult feelings and experiences that can affect your wellbeing. The books contain information and advice, as well as personal stories about dealing with feelings such as anxiety, depression or stress, and experiences such as bullying.

Some of the recommended books suggest useful self-help techniques. There are also personal stories, graphic novels, and fiction. Reading about other people’s experiences and feelings can sometimes help you to understand your own. You can use the books on their own, although self-help reading often works best with support from a health professional. Your doctor can advise you on the support that’s available.

The books are free to borrow and are available at your local library. Some of the titles are also available as e-books so that you can borrow them anonymously.

Find out more at the Reading Well website

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, and calmly accepting your feelings and thoughts. Experts think that being fully ‘present’ in this way and being with your feelings - without hiding or forcing them – can help you to respond to situations and make wise choices. You don’t need to have a mental health issue to practice mindfulness – it can just be a good way to enjoy a happier life.

What you can do:

1. Find a comfy spot at home, in a chair or on a cushion on the floor

2. Decide how long to practice for (five minutes might be a good start) and set the timer on your phone or watch

3. Sit upright without stiffening your upper body, and rest your on top of each leg

4. Drop your chin a little and let your gaze fall downward

5. Follow your breathing as it goes in and out

6. Your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing this—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—return your attention to your breathing

7. Don’t worry about the thoughts you have – just come back to your breathing when you can.

8. Relax!

There’s lots of more info on mindfulness at NHS Choices, www.bemindful.co.uk and at The Mental Health Foundation.

Social media and mental health

A recent NHS survey found that 26% of women aged 16-24 reported symptoms of mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression, making them the group with the highest risk for mental health problems.

Stephen Buckley from the mental health charity Mind says self-esteem issues can be a "gateway" to mental health problems, as we compare our real lives to our friends' "curated versions" of their lives.

He has the following tips:

  • be aware that what you are reading will have an impact on you
  • if you are looking at airbrushed edits of models be aware that this isn't what they really look like.
  • take a break.
  • if something's winding you up, step away.
  • charge your phone overnight in a different room, so you get enough sleep

If you are affected by any of these issues, you can contact Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90.