What is it?
“Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his own community”. (World Health Organisation)
What do I need to know?
All young people will experience regular worries, this is perfectly normal and is not something to be concerned about. If a student does express that they are worried about something then often the best remedy is a chat with a loved one or friend. However, if any worries are more persistent and cause the student to be stressed or sad over a period of several days or reoccur regularly then it is possible that they may need some additional support to deal with the source of their anxiety.
Anxiety is an emotional state commonly caused by the perception of real or perceived danger that threatens the security of an individual. If this becomes persistent and the student is experiencing severe anxiety symptoms with irrational fears that significantly impair normal function then they may have developed an anxiety disorder.
Some young people use self-harm as a mechanism to cope with distressing thoughts or feelings. This can give temporary relief; however, the underlying caused is not addressed then this will lead to a build-up of grief and shame which may lead to further self-harm. If you come across a young person who has self-harmed do not react or look shocked, this could amplify any feeling of shame and make the experience worse.
What are the potential indicators?
A person may be experiencing anxiety if they are experiencing palpitations, pounding heart or rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling or shaking, feeling of shortness of breath or smothering sensations, feeling dizzy, light-headed or faint.
A person may be feeling depressed if they are feeling sad or have a low mood that is not improving, have a loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed show changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting, have trouble sleeping or sleeping too much, have a loss of energy or increased fatigue.