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This information was adapted from a brochure titled “What is Mental Illness” produced by ADEC (Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities) Victoria, Australia.
What is Mental Distress?
People with mental distress can experience problems in the way they think, feel or behave. In other words, their thinking, feeling and behaviour is all mixed up. This significantly interferes with their relationships with other people, their work, and enjoyment of life. Having mental distress can be difficult for the person and difficult for the family. But, it is not something to be ashamed of.
What Causes Mental Distress?
It is important to understand that having mental distress is no-one's fault. It is sometimes believed that it is caused by bad blood, punishment or the evil eye. On the other hand, doctors believe that there are a number of factors which may lead to mental distress:
It is difficult to be absolutely sure about the causes of mental distress in all situations. Sometimes physical distresses may have psychiatric symptoms.
Is Mental Distress Inherited?
Research indicates that some people may have a genetic predisposition to develop mental distress. Because there are many complex factors, it is advisable to discuss this with your doctor.
Is Mental Distress Contagious?
Mental distress is not like a cold or the measles, it is not contagious.
What Are The Main Types Of Mental Distress?
A person can experience extreme distress, panic or worry.
Common symptoms include:
Common symptoms include:
Depression affects a person's mood.
Mild Depression: Many people experience mild depression in their lives for example, sadness or not wanting to do anything.
Major Depression:Symptoms may include:
a loss of interest in doing anything for example work, hobbies or hygiene;
Depression, whether mild or major, can be the result of reactions to life events for example the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or trying to adjust to life in a new country. However, it can also have no known external causes.
If you are uncertain of the severity of the depression please seek professional advice.
This affects a person's mood. A person may have extreme mood swings of highs and lows. Symptoms of a 'low' mood may include:
Symptoms of a 'high' mood may include:
A person with manic depressive distress (also called ‘Bipolar Disorder’) may experience psychosis. Psychosis:This occurs when a person loses touch with reality or is unable to distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy.
The most common psychotic disorder is schizophrenia. Symptoms may include:
People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical help. Mental distress is like a physical illness. It is important to receive treatment in order to get well. If a person receives treatment at an early stage, they may be able to recover more quickly. One of the following or a combination can assist the person:
The aim of this help is to restore respect, dignity and confidence to the mentally distressed person.
Where Can I Get This Help?
Primary Care Provider
Your doctor can check to make sure there are no underlying physical problems. They can medically treat the mentally distressed person. Your doctor can also refer you to other appropriate services.
Community Mental Health Clinics
Staff include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists, social workers. They offer different forms of help to the person with mental distress and/or their families. This can include crisis assistance.
If someone is very sick they may need to be in hospital. People may be taken to hospital involuntarily if there is a risk that they can hurt themselves or others. Once a person is admitted to hospital, their mental health is reviewed regularly. The aim of a hospital admission is to restore a person's mental health as soon as possible so that they can return home.
Will My Problem Be Kept Confidential?
When seeing a health professional, information about your problem cannot be given to anyone else without your permission. If an interpreter is present they also must keep the information confidential. It is important for a person with mental distress to receive treatment in order to get well. The longer the distress remains untreated the longer it can take for the person to recover.
The Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust after receiving funding from Broadhurst, a local charity in Rushmoor, had their North East Hampshire Community Mental Health Recovery Service and Early Intervention in Psychosis team working in partnership with media studies students at Farnborough College of Technology and the Nepalese Community, Naya Yuva, to create videos on mental health for the Nepalese community.
These videos are the start of opening a dialogue, especially with young adults, to encourage increased openness about mental health and challenge the taboo and stigma toward mental health that is common within this community.
This is a specific service for veterans and personnel who are transitioning out of the British Armed Forces. It is an open-access service, so a professional (e.g. GP, healthcare provider, welfare or other care worker) can refer someone. Referrals can also be made by yourself or it is possible to have a friend or loved one refer you.
Further information about the service can be viewed via their website.
This is an enhanced local NHS community based service for ex-service personnel who have complex mental health problems related to their military service, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that has not improved with earlier care and treatment.
It is operated by the same team as TILS and their contact details are: