What is

mental health

Talking about mental health can be confusing – often people think about mental illness and mental health problems when they hear these words.

Actually we all have mental health, and we can be well or unwell, just as with our physical health.

Our mental health is the health of our mind. It affects our feelings, thoughts, mood and behaviour – how we think about ourselves and our lives, how we cope with life’s ups and downs and our relationships with family and friends. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health and we need to look after it!

When we have good mental health we can believe in ourselves, we can work, learn and achieve, and enjoy our social and family lives, and we have the skills to cope when life throws us challenges.  Sometimes people call this ‘emotional wellbeing’.

How we feel is always changing, just as things around us are changing. Sometimes we are excited and happy, at other times we feel sad or bored or stressed out. It’s perfectly natural to feel low, anxious or overwhelmed, especially when things are difficult. Mostly these feelings will pass quite quickly, and there are lots of things we can do to help ourselves.

However sometimes they develop into more serious problems and begin to affect our day to day lives.  This can happen to anyone and is more common than you might think – in the average UK classroom there will be 3 young people with mental health difficulties, and 1 in 4 adults will have a problem in any one year.

Having these kind of experiences doesn’t mean we have a mental illness or will get one in the future, but if difficult feelings persist or get worse it is important to talk to someone and ask for help. Mental health problems can be treated and getting help and support early can prevent things becoming more serious.

Mental health affects us all and shouldn’t be hard to talk about, everyone will experience emotional difficulties at some point. However, lots of people do find it uncomfortable to talk about feelings and it can be difficult to ask for help or advice.

In this section you will find information about mental health and common mental health problems.

You can find out about services in Cornwall and IoS where you can get support with your mental health here; hear from other young people about their experiences of asking for help here; and learn about ways we can help ourselves and promote good mental health here.

Or check out these great sites for more detailed information:

Young Minds

Epic Friends

The Mix

Need help now?

If you need to speak to someone urgently call your GP or family doctor!


Childline up to 19yrs : 0800 1111
The Samaritans: 116 123
In an emergency go to A&E or call 999