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Recognising and managing mental health issues, early on

April 17, 2023
Kiera Benson

If we had a broken leg, we wouldn’t keep walking on it in the hope that it fixes itself; we’d go to a doctor and ask for help. And yet, when it comes to psychological issues, we can be far more reluctant to seek support when we need it.

Just like a physical health problem, if a mental health issue is left unmanaged, or the circumstances causing it are unchanged, it’s likely that the problem will get worse. Recovering from it could also take longer because our belief systems are more ingrained and harder to break free from.

Poor mental health disrupts our lives. It can cause us to have negative thoughts about ourselves and knock our confidence. It can make itharder to focus on work or school. It can increase the risk of substance abuse. And, it can impact our relationships, whether that’s because we’re feeling less sociable, more agitated and so on.

Recognising a mental health issue early on and understanding why it might be happening means that you can put steps in place before it dramatically impacts your life. However, sometimes, taking action is easier said than done. There are lots of different reasons why people might find it difficult to reach out for mental health support, including:


  • Stigma associated with mental health

Although society is beginning to gain a better understanding of mental health issues, people may still be worried to talk about their mental health condition due to the stigma associated with it.

  • Not wanting to ‘waste’ resources

People may think that others are ‘worse off’ than them, and therefore they don’t want to take up valuable NHS time. It’s important to remember that we all deserve to feel healthy and healthcare professionals will help you understand the level of support you need.

  • Feeling worried about therapy or treatment

People could be uncomfortable with the different kinds of treatments available for mental health issues. For example, they may worry about taking medication, or feel reluctant to ‘open up’ during talking therapy.

  • Unable to access support

Due to the NHS being oversubscribed, accessing mental health can be difficult and how long you wait will usually depend on the availability of services in your area. Just so you know, ieso accepts lots of NHS patients for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. You can check if you're eligible on our website.

If you notice that your mental health is becoming harder to manage, having the right tools and support systems in place can help you to get back on track. And, the sooner you implement these, the quicker you can improve. Here are a few ways that you can take care of your mental health when problems emerge…


Stay in touch with your emotions

It’s important to pay attention to your feelings and notice when negative emotions come up so that you can explore why they’re happening; has something triggered them, or have they appeared out of the blue?

Sometimes, we’re not sure why we’re feeling a certain way, and that’s okay. It can help to write our feelings down to make sense of them, or say them out loud, for example, “I am feeling sad but also irritable today.” Try to process your emotions without judgement or being hard on yourself to work out where they may be coming from.

Lastly, it can also help to reach out to someone who you trust to talk about your feelings, as this may help to validate your experience, while deepening and strengthening that person’s understanding of what you’re going through.


Stick to a routine

Getting into a good routine can help to reduce feelings of stress, especially if you’re going through a difficult time. Adding structure to your day can give you a sense of control and mean that you’re more productive with your time. Plus, by giving yourself things to focus on, you’re less likely to sit around and overthink.

Within your routine, try to implement healthy habits, like regular mealtimes, exercise and making time for self-care. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to set yourself a regular bed and wake-up time to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. Sleep helps you to process your emotions and calms your mind.


Acts of self-care

Self-care can mean different things to different people. However, the general idea is that you do something that makes you feel relaxed and good about yourself. You could spend some time gardening, reading, watching your favourite tv show, or going for a long walk. These small acts can have a big impact on your wellbeing.


Get in touch with your GP

If you’ve been experiencing poor mental health for two weeks or more, you may want to get in touch with your local GP, especially if this is a new problem. They can help you to figure out what’s going on, inform you about possible treatment options and help you to find the best way forward.


Try talking therapy

ieso offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, worry, stress, phobias, sleep disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Our services are flexible and virtual, which means that you can have therapy from the comfort of your home. CBT gives you the tools to manage your mental health and helps you to develop coping mechanisms for difficult periods. Visit our website to find out more.

ieso Online Therapy
This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.

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