A to Z
Alcohol and mental health
Alcohol and mental health are closely linked. Drinking too much can affect your wellbeing. Some people may drink to try to relieve the symptoms of mental ill-health.
People with anorexia try to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough, exercising too much, or both.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. We all feel anxious at times, but anxiety may be a mental health problem if your feelings are very strong or last a long time. More than one in 20 of us have an anxiety disorder.
Armed forces and mental health
Learn about the mental health risks and support available for veterans and people currently in the armed forces.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a condition that affects people’s behaviour. People with ADHD can seem restless, impulsive and have problems concentrating.
Autism and mental health
Autism is a developmental disability that affects how people communicate and experience the world around them. It isn’t a mental health problem.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. It can make you experience extreme highs and extreme lows. It used to be called manic depression.
Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities
Challenges such as racism, stigma and inequalities can affect the mental health of people from BAME communities.
People with bulimia nervosa have an unhealthy eating cycle. They will eat a lot of food (bingeing) and then do something to try to avoid weight gain, such as vomiting or taking laxatives (purging).
Children and young people
Mental health problems affect around one in six children. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder (a type of behavioural problem), and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you understand how your thoughts and actions affect the way you feel.
Anyone can experience a mental health crisis. In a crisis, you may feel like you can’t carry on. You may be at risk of hurting yourself or trying to take your own life. It’s vital to get help immediately.
Debt and mental health
There are many reasons why people fall into debt. It’s never too late to take control of your money and get help with your debt.
Dementia isn’t just about memory loss. It can affect how you think, feel, speak and behave.
We all have times when we feel down, but depression is about more than feeling sad or fed up for a few days. Depression causes a low mood that lasts a long time and affects your daily life.
Diet and mental health
What we eat doesn’t just affect our physical health: it can also affect our mental health and wellbeing.
Drugs and mental health
All drugs can have an effect on your mental health. They can change your mood and behaviour. For some people, taking drugs can lead to long-term mental health problems.
Having an eating disorder means having a difficult relationship with food. This can include eating too little or too much, or becoming fixated with your weight or shape.
Friendship and mental health
Friendship is a crucial element in protecting our mental health. Our friends can keep us grounded, help us get things in perspective, and help us manage the problems that life throws at us.
Gambling and mental health
Many of us place the odd bet or play the lottery, but for some of us gambling can become an addiction and harm our mental health.
Hearing voices means hearing a voice when no one else is around, or that other people can’t hear.
Housing and mental health
Housing and mental health are closely linked. People with mental health conditions are more likely to live in poor housing and having housing problems can make your mental health worse.
Human rights and mental health
Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to everyone. They cannot be taken away, although some can be restricted in certain circumstances.
Long-term physical conditions and mental health
Long-term physical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis or asthma can have a significant impact on your mental health.
Medication for mental health problems
Your doctor may offer you medication to treat your mental illness. Medication can significantly improve your symptoms, although you may experience side-effects.
Men and mental health
In England, around one in eight men has a common mental health problem such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Every woman’s experience of the menopause will be different. Your changing hormones can affect your physical, emotional and mental health.
Mental health in later life
As we get older, changes in our lives such as retirement, bereavement or physical illness can affect our mental health.
Mindfulness is a technique you can learn to be fully present and engaged in the moment without judging anything. It can help you manage your thoughts, feelings and mental health.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder involving distressing thoughts and repetitive behaviours.
Online mental health support
Online resources – from information to self-help programs to therapy – can be a great way to help your mental health. It’s important to find the right sort of support for you.
We are so thankful for the time and effort that OPEN members have put into contributing to our work. OPEN's input has really helped to improve our work and has had a wide reaching impact across the Mental Health Foundation. Below are a few examples of what we have found through OPEN's participation and how this has impacted projects.
A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense fear. It can come on quickly and for no apparent reason. Panic attacks can be very frightening, but they’re not dangerous.
Parenting and mental health
Being a parent with a mental illness can be hard. But with the right support, you can be a good parent while managing your mental health.
Someone with a personality disorder will have difficulties with how they think, feel, behave and relate to others.
Pets and mental health
The companionship that a pet offers is a great way to reduce anxiety and stress.
Physical activity and mental health
Physical activity can improve your mental wellbeing. Being physically active means moving your body and working your muscles: for example, by walking, running, dancing, swimming, doing yoga or gardening.
Physical health and mental health
We often think of our mind and body as separate, but our mental health and physical health are interconnected.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition you may develop after experiencing a traumatic or life-threatening event.
Postnatal depression is a type of depression many people experience after having a baby. It’s not the same as the ‘baby blues’: it needs treatment so you can recover.
Prevention and mental health
Prevention is an important approach to improving mental health. It means stopping mental health problems from developing, getting worse or coming back.
With mental health, recovery means different things to different people. What’s important is building a meaningful life – whatever that means to you.
Schizophrenia is a condition where your experience of the world doesn’t match how other people see it.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at particular times of the year, most often in the winter months.
Self-harm is when you hurt yourself on purpose. You may self-harm if you’re dealing with intense or overwhelming feelings as a way to try and cope.
Self-management of mental ill-health
Self-management is about learning tools and techniques to manage your own mental health.
Sleep and mental health
We all need to sleep well to help our bodies recover from the day and to allow healing to take place.
Smoking and mental health
We all know the physical health risks of smoking tobacco, but did you know smoking also affects people's mental health?
Stigma and discrimination
People with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover.
Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure.
If you’re feeling suicidal, you’re not alone: one in five of us think about suicide in our lifetimes. Remember that these feelings won’t last. There is help available to keep you safe.
Talking therapies can help you deal with negative thoughts and feelings and make positive changes.
Talking to your GP about your mental health
Your doctor is there for your mental health as well as your physical health. It’s not always easy to start the conversation, but it’s always ok to ask for help.
Learn about the importance of defining the terms used to describe people experiencing mental ill health and read our list of definitions.
Trauma is when we experience or witness a very distressing event. It can have long-lasting effects on our mental and physical health.
Welfare and mental health
If you have a mental health condition or you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to claim benefits to help you pay for day-to-day things. *Last updated: 8 November 2021 If you have a health condition and/or you’re on a low income, you may be entitled to extra money to boost your income. This could be a significant amount so it’s worth checking to find out what you could claim. You have nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. What benefits could I claim? There are many different benefits that you could be eligible for. This page looks at some of the main benefits you could claim...
Women and mental health
In England, around one in five women has a common mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or self-harm.