Mental Health

Mental health and wellbeing is about thoughts, feelings and relationships and comes up in all areas of your life. Your mental health can change at different times and is affected by lots of different things. Below is some more information about Mental Health, lots of links to useful pages, and 5 steps to protecting or improving your mental health.

Mental Health problems are very common. About a quarter of people will have some kind of problem with their mental health in the course of a year. It is just as important to look after your mental health as it is to look after your physical health - they can both affect each other. Mental health is about more than just mental illness - even if you don't have any kind of mental illness you can have poor mental health, and someone with a mental illness can have good mental health. This is not set for your whole life, and can change at different times for different reasons.

There are things you can do to look after your mental health - here are SAMH's (Scottish Association for Mental Health) 5 ways to better Mental Health...

1. Stay Connected - it's important to stay in touch with people, especially when you're down. Even if you don't feel like it, being around other people and talking can improve your mood.

2. Get Active - regular activity has been proven to have a positive effect on your mood and mental well being - dance, walk, run, playing sport, gardening, whatever it is, get moving!

3. Take Notice - check out what is happening around you, be in the moment and try to experience what you are doing, this is good for your wellbeing and can stop you worrying about the future or dwelling on the past.

4. Learn - achieving a goal or learning something new can increase your confidence and boost your wellbeing.

5. Give - giving can be very rewarding and help you build connections - volunteer some time for a cause, help out a neighbour or help in your community, give to a good cause, buy a stranger a coffee - however big or small giving can give you a boost.


When we have good mental health...

  • We feel a wide range of emotions
  • We generally enjoy life
  • We are able to cope with day to day stress and challenges
  • We can form friendships and relationships with other people
  • We feel reasonably confident and good about ourselves
  • We feel involved in the world around us

Everyone feels down sometimes. Usually people stop feeling down after a short time. Sometimes people cannot stop feeling down. Everyone has their own indiivial way of responding to situations and people can experience things differently to one another. If you are worried about how you are feeling, or you are worried about someobody else, talk about it. A conversation might be all that is needed.

Things that can make us feel down

  • When someone we know dies
  • Feeling sick or unwell
  • Moving home or school
  • Being bullied
  • Problems with relationships
  • Feeling worried about something
  • Drinking or smoking too much
  • Being bored
  • Money worries or debt
  • Not enough sleep
  • Not enough exercise

Sometimes the reason we feel down is not obvious and sometimes there is no reason. This can be normal - but if the feeling continues and is stopping you enjoying your normal life then you should talk to someone or get help.

How do I know if I'm feeling down?

There can be lots of different signs of feeling down. It might be hard to notice these things about yourself but friends or family might notice. They might not understand how you are feeling - talking to them about how you feel might help them understand.

Some common signs are:

  • Feeling sad
  • Worrying about things
  • Not enjoying things you used to like doing
  • Feeling angry
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Losing or gaining weight
  • Crying

Feeling down might make you act differently, and it can give you other "physical" symptoms like headaches, pains in different parts of your body and tiredness. Other things that can happen include:

  • Shouting and being less patient
  • Hitting out or lashing out at people when you don't mean to
  • Wanting to hurt yourself
  • Wanting to be by yourself a lot
  • Thinking bad thoughts about yourself or others
  • Having low self-esteem

What can I do if I feel down?

If you are feeling sad or worried, talk to someone you trust. This can be difficult at first - but it is very important. People are normally happy to help - let them know that listening will help.

You could talk to a family member, friend, support worker or doctor.

If you are worried about something in particular it can help to get advice - this could be health advice (from your GP or Nurse), money advice (from the Money Advice Service) or Citizens Advice Bureau can help with lots of different topics or concerns. These services are always happy to see new people and getting a little free, fair advice could help with some of your worry or anxiety.

You can also phone the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or speak to a Samaritan in person at Linda Rose House in Charlotte Street, Lerwick. (Drop in times Mon - Wed 7.30pm-10.30pm, 9pm - 10.30pm Thurs & Fri) You can talk to the Samaritans about anything at any time.

Here are some things you can try if you feel down:

  • Take some time to yourself to relax
  • Exercise, like going for a walk or a run
  • Talking to friends or family
  • Watching your favourite TV show
  • Listen to music
  • Go out with friends
  • Get a good nights’ sleep
  • Read your favourite book or magazine
  • Have a bath
  • Try a new activity
  • Take care of yourself by eating well and exercising