Acknowledging a mental health problem 

By Chloe Hall

Mental health is very similar to physical health. It’s just that a lot of the time it’s more difficult to recognize symptoms of anxiety, for example, because they’re not as obvious as a broken leg or a streaming cold. 


Enjoying good mental health means that we can respond, reflect and think in generally purposeful and practical ways as we set about our everyday routines. However, poor mental health means that people find these familiar processes much more challenging. Struggling with mental health can certainly feel worse than a physical illness. It can leave people isolated, experiencing low self-esteem, feeling negative and under-confident when facing everyday situations. It is all too easy to assume that nothing is really wrong, and to attribute it to feeling a bit down, under the weather, and tired. Moreover, some people are naturally disinclined to reach out for advice or help. 

Statistically it is young men who are least likely to want to talk about how they feel. Some people might make light of how they are doing. Others may associate mental health conditions with a social or cultural stigma, which leaves them wanting to conceal or ignore their concerns. Sometimes people are worried by misleading impressions conveyed by a television programme, a film or posts on social media. Other people may assume that it just needs some time for things to right themselves. Others may decide that this is now just how they are, that they will not be able to feel any better. Consequently, they decide to get on with things the best they can. But thoughts can quickly spiral and leave us feeling overwhelmed. This in turn can lead to social isolation and a general loss of purpose and confidence. It can affect us at work, as well as in our personal lives. 

And it is important to remember that mental health affects everyone. It is estimated that approximately twenty-five percent of us are affected by poor mental health at any given time. Moreover, society as a whole has a better understanding of the importance of mental wellbeing and its impact on our lives. 

Commonplace mental health conditions

The most common examples are anxiety and depression. Less common instances include PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and social anxiety disorder.


Mental health dynamics can change very quickly, due to all sorts of things. For example, something that has only recently happened, a bereavement, the breakup of a relationship, or job loss. However, it could be something longer term, like ongoing worries about money or personal safety. Or it could be an event from years ago. There are also many personal and medical factors which can impact our mental health.

Here for you

HFEH Mind is a mental health charity, ready to help ensure that everyone has somewhere to turn when things do not feel right. We do not pretend it’s easy. We listen, are supportive and can suggest possible ways forward. We never judge anyone who reaches out to us. We understand that people’s outlooks on mental wellbeing may well be shaped by upbringing and cultural outlook, or religious and ethical values. We never assume that there is a one size fits all approach or answer. Why? Because mental health is simply too important to overlook or underplay. 

Mind’s five ways to mental wellbeing can improve our ability to feel good and function well.

  • Connect with those around you, for example, a family member, a friend, a colleague or a neighbour. Take a few minutes to find out how someone important to you is really feeling.
  • Be active by doing something you and people close to you can enjoy together. Perhaps spend some time outdoors, possibly taking part in an activity such as cycling, or walking through your local park. Socialising is proven to be beneficial.
  • Take notice by observing your surroundings. For example, the changing light, weather, seasons, leaves on the trees. Ask your family what they enjoyed about their day.
  • Keep learning by trying something new. Bake, play a boardgame, have a movie night or research something that interests you.
  • Give to others. Always aim to be kind, and help others by being thoughtful. You might choose to volunteer or support a local charity or simply be there for a friend or acquaintance. 

If you or people around you notice that you are not yourself, that you are not able to think and respond as you need to and would like to, then there is a lot of advice and support available online, from HFEH Mind and from other organisations like the NHS.

Experts agree that acknowledging concerns and reaching out, whether initially to a relative, a friend, a colleague whom you trust, or your GP, is a vital step.

Moreover, please see the helplines below:

Call 999

Mental Health Single Point of Access on 0800 328 4444 For adults living in Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing or Hounslow call the 

Your GP can also be contacted by phone if you need immediate help. Outside of surgery hours you can call NHS Direct for more guidance on 111. The service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Mental health support providers:  


Call 116 123

Text 07725 90 90 90


Call 0800 58 58 58 (Open 5pm-midnight 365 days a year)

If you can’t do this by yourself, ask someone to help you. Mental health emergencies are serious. You’re not wasting anyone’s time. People want to help you.

Additional signposting

There’s a lot of advice and help online for anyone who is finding things difficult. You could try looking at one or more of these sources of information:


HFEH Mind Children & Young People Services

HFEH Mind Adult Services

The Circle – Children & Young People Crisis Cafe and Hub

Young Minds

NHS – Every Mind Matters

If you live in Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing or Hounslow then join our Physical and Mental Health Focus Group and help shape the future of mental health in your borough and beyond. And if you ever feel you are reaching crisis point come and see us at our Safe Spaces located in each borough or call our help line open 365 days a year.

Posted on: 10th July 2024

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