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What is mental health

Mental health means how someone feels, thinks, and gets along with others.

Read the legal definition of mental health in the Mental Health Act 2007

Mental health changes how people:

  • think
  • feel, and
  • behave

It also affects how they:

  • deal with pressure
  • interact with others, and
  • make decisions

Taking care of your mental health is important throughout your life, from when you are a child, right through your adult life.

Mental health difficulties can affect anyone, of any age or background and at any time of life.

Mental health problems can range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. No mental health need is the same from one person to another, and we all have a range of factors which can affect our mental health during our lifetime, as children, adolescents, adults and older adults.

Some of us can cope with these worries, stresses and life events without formal help. Some of us might need support from friends, family or colleagues, while others may benefit from specialist mental health services input.

Being mentally healthy is not just about not having mental illnesses, it also includes things, such as:

  • being able to handle tough situations
  • feeling good emotionally, and
  • having good relationships with others

It means keeping a good balance between work, relationships, taking care of yourself, and having fun.

Different things can affect your mental health, like:

  • your genes
  • how your brain works
  • things that have happened to you in your life
  • if people in your family have had mental health problems

Lots of people have mental health problems, such as::

  • feeling anxious
  • being sad a lot
  • having really high or low moods
  • hearing or seeing things that aren't there
  • having trouble with food, finances, or housing

Taking care of your mental health is crucial, and it is okay to ask for help when you need it. Most people who experience mental health needs soon recover from them, or learn to manage them, especially if they get help early on.

Carers who support people with mental health needs, like family and friends, might also need support from time to time. Birmingham Council funds the Carers Hub and carers can find support there.

Find information about people and organisations that could help you.

Page last updated: 27 February 2024

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