What to do if you or someone you know has a mental health problem
News - 11 May 2017
A new survey reveals that more than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression. In this article we take a look at what help is available to those affected by mental health problems.
What is Mental Health Awareness Week?
It's a campaign from the Mental Health Foundation with the theme ‘surviving to thriving’. It's about prompting a national conversation about mental health and increasing awareness of it.
There are many events taking place across the UK to increase awareness, including fundraisers and other charity initiatives.
The Foundation says: "We want to set out the real scale and cost of being stuck on survive, to our health, relationships and future options. We want to outline to both policy makers and individuals the practical steps we can take to build a mentally healthy country.
"This year, join us on May 8th to 14th and help prompt a national conversation about what we can do as communities, schools, families and individuals to move from survive to thrive."
The British Esports Association backs this message and so in this article we'll take a look at what you can do if you or someone you know suffers from mental health problems.
The state of mental health in the UK
In March 2017, a UK survey by NatCen commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation aimed to understand the prevalence of self-reported mental health problems, levels of positive and negative mental health in the population, and the actions people take to deal with stress in their lives.
Here are some of the findings:
- Nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem
- Only a small minority of people (13%) report living with high levels of good mental health
- More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression
- Over a quarter of people say they have experienced panic attacks
- A majority (85%) of people out of work have experienced a mental health problem, compared to two thirds of people in work and just over half of people who have retired
"Current levels of good mental health are disturbingly low. Although we have made great strides in the health of our bodies and our life expectancy, we now need to achieve the same for the good health of our minds."
The Mental Health Foundation
Esports is still a young industry with many young people following it, including children and teenagers. The Telegraph reports that in 2016, a quarter of a million children have already received treatment for anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
According to the Children’s Society, 10 per cent of children aged 5 to 16 have a mental health problem, while 70% of under 18s who experience issues go undetected or fail to be treated early enough.
Identifying a problem and seeking help
Mental health can affect anyone. Like the Mental Health Foundation says, "we all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us".
"Everyone is different. You may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time.
"There’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling."
It is not easy to take the steps to get help, let alone identify a problem. Talking to a friend or relative can help. For example, the Time to Talk/Time to Change campaign is all about breaking the silence around mental health and talking about it.
There are many types of mental health problems, from anxiety to depression, PTSD, bipolar and more. Mind has a comprehensive list here.
Here are some different ways you can get help:
- Contact your local GP. The NHS recommends seeing your GP if anxiety is affecting your daily life or if you've been feeling depressed for more than a few weeks
- Contact a friend or relative or someone you can trust. If this isn't possible, you may prefer to talk to someone else confidentially like a tutor
- Call the Samaritans free helpline on 116 123
- Call other specialist helplines (Rethink - 0300 5000 927, Mind - 0300 123 3393)
- There's a full list of places to get help on the Mind website
- If you've had thoughts of self-harming or are feeling suicidal, contact someone you can trust immediately, such as your GP, or a friend or relative, or pop into your local A&E
Looking after yourself
Doing regular exercise, eating well and sleeping well can make a massive difference to your daily wellbeing.
Here are some of articles designed to help people in esports look after themselves:
- Keeping fit and healthy: Advice for people in esports
- How often should you practise? Info and guidelines
- An interview with an esports mental skills coach
Here are some external links offering lots more general advice: