Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing

What is it?

Good Mental Health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. It enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day to day life and our environment. When we are mentally healthy we can:

  • Form postitive and maintain stable rewarding relationships
  • Use our abilities to reach our potential
  • Deal with lifes challenges
  • Work productively and are able to contribute to our community


It can be useful to understand mental health and wellbeing as being along a continum, naturally fluctuating in response to life events and situations such as job loss, marital breakdown, bereavement and for young people issues such as academic demands, relationship difficulties and bullying. People will respond individually and differently to these issues and it is important to recognise that these experiences can have an impact on our mental health.

Anyone can experience mental ill health in the same way as we can experience physical ill health, this can be mild, moderate or severe. It is estimated that one in four people in Northern Ireland will have a mental health problem at some point in their lives. It is important to seek help if you are concerned about yourself or someone you know. The first step can be to talk to your GP. Lifeline is available 24 hours a day seven days a week, and by just starting the conversation with 'Im just not ok at the moment' can help.

We all need to be aware of our own mental health and take care of it the same way as we do our physical health.


Looking Out For Others

Everyday stresses, problems with friends or familes, work, school, isolation, harrassment, bullying etc will make most people irritable, withdrawn, overly sensitive and perhaps rebellious. Such feelings are entirely normal and will usually pass. However, if they don't go away they can be symptoms of a mental health problem.

If you think that someone you know might be having problems, look out for the signs and symptoms listed below and talk to them about it. Most people will turn to a friend for support during tough times, so being there for your friends can really help.

Signs of a mental health problem

  • Withdrawl from friends, family, school, work, sports or other things that are usually enjoyable
  • A major change in mood or inappropriate responses to certain situations
  • Disturbed sleep - either not getting enough or sleeping too much
  • Disturbed eating patterns - either eating less than normal or over-eating
  • Preoccupation and obsession about a particular issue
  • Lack of care for personal appearance or personal responsibilities
  • A drop in performance at work or school or in hobbies
  • Doing things that don't make sense to others or hearing or seeing things that nobody else can hear or see

Look after yourself

Remember, it is important to look after your own mental health, so don't take on more than you feel comfortable with. Talk to someone about your concerns. You are not responsible for everyone else, but you can offer support. It can be a huge worry if someone tells you that they have thoughts of suicide. Sometimes they don't want you to tell anyone else, but you must explain to them that you can't keep this to yourself and that you can help them get the support that they need.  If someone confides in you, it means they are reaching out for help. If they didn't want help, they wouldn't have told you.