For Adults

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.1 Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.


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Why is mental health important for overall health?

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health.  For example, depression increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Similarly, the presence of chronic conditions can increase the risk for mental illness.2


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Can your mental health change over time?

Yes, it’s important to remember that a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors.  When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. For example, if someone is working long hours, caring for a relative, or experiencing economic hardship, they may experience poor mental health.

One in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year. People in all walks of life can be affected and at any point in their lives. Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders are a diverse group of adult mental disorders that are highly disabling and are caused by a complex interaction of genetic, developmental, and environmental risk factors.

Talk to your GP first

You'll need to talk to your GP to use some mental health services. This is known as a GP referral. Your GP can also talk to you about your mental health and help introduce you to the right mental health service for your needs.

Find your local GP surgery

Get help without talking to your GP

There are also some mental health services that you can use without talking to your GP first. This is known as self-referral.

For example, you may be able to refer yourself for help with drug problems and alcohol problems. You can also use self-referral to access talking therapies.

NHS talking therapies services

Get help through your work

If your mental health problem is because of stress at work, your employer might be able to refer you to occupational health services.

You can find out more from the Time to Change website.

Advice on mental health at work from Time to Change

Get help from your school or college

If you're a child or young person, your school or college might be able to refer you directly to a specialist mental health service.

Find out how to get mental health support if you are a child or young person.

How mental health referrals work

When you talk to your GP about your mental health they'll listen, give you advice and introduce you to a mental health service they think will be most helpful to you.

These services may come from your GP surgery, a large local health centre, a specialist mental health clinic or a hospital.

Your GP can also refer you to a psychological therapy service or a specialist mental health service for further advice or treatment. The treatment may be provided on a one-to-one basis or in a group with others with similar problems. Therapy can also sometimes involve partners and families.

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/mental-health-problems-introduction/support-services/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/get-help

https://www.family-action.org.uk/what-we-do/adult-mental-health-and-wellbeing/

https://www.merseycare.nhs.uk/urgent-help

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