Stress

We have all at some point in our lives felt the effects of stress, it is an unavoidable part of life. Whilst we are all familiar with what it feels like, we may struggle to accurately define what we mean when we say stress.

This is unsurprising as stress is not officially an illness in itself and has no medical definition. This has led to disagreement amongst healthcare professionals regarding whether stress itself can be responsible for symptoms or is solely a reaction to symptoms. There tends to be agreement in mental health fields that stress can cause mental health problems and be the result of mental health problems, which can unfortunately create a vicious cycle for the sufferer.

When looking to provide a broad definition of stress, we can say that stress is the brain’s reaction to excessive pressure or high demands. This can be both the result of a physical demand or a more emotionally based demand.

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Children and teens mental health

Mental health problems are not uncommon in children and teenagers. Approximately 1 in 6 children (16%) have a probable mental disorder; increasing from 1 in 9 (10.8%) in 2017 (NHS Digital, 2020). Half of all mental health conditions first occur during adolescence, at age 14, but most of these are undetected and untreated (WHO, 2020).

That’s why it’s important that as a child or teenager you know that having a mental health problem is nothing to be ashamed of. While many people avoid treatment due to fear of stigmatisation, we hope that these information brochures will help to reduce the stigma around mental illness and ensure that sufferers get the help they deserve.

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Men’s mental health

It may seem bizarre that we have chosen to discuss male mental health separately. After all, you may think that mental health in general covers males. To some degree you would be correct.

Males will show the same symptoms as females for a vast number of disorders. However, there are some distinct differences in the ways that males seek treatment and react to symptoms that make for worthy discussion.

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Mental health at work

Mental health problems are on the rise in many countries worldwide, with 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem every year.

With the amount of time we now spend at work, it is unsurprising that the increase in mental health problems is costing businesses worldwide millions of pounds a year. The business practices of some companies are also playing a role in the causation of mental health problems and some small changes can improve the lives of employees and save businesses substantial sums of money.

‘Mental health problems’ is a broad term and in this case, it refers to clinically diagnosed conditions as well as anxiety, stress and depression that are often unreported to clinicians. It is important to keep in mind that many mental health problems are manageable and treatable.

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Armed forces veterans

People who join the armed forces are making a great sacrifice for their country. Unfortunately, this sacrifice does not protect them from problems associated with mental health.

Rates of mental disorders seen in military healthcare services have fallen since 2019/20 (Ministry of Defence, 2021). This could be attributable to lockdown restrictions reducing pressures from military personnel life, although greater awareness and treatment options may also affect this statistic.

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Student mental health

When a person becomes a student they are often subject to a vast number of life changes in a short amount of time. For many people this will be their first time living away from home (possibly a substantial distance from their home and family). Unsurprisingly, this can put a number of students at risk of suffering poor mental health. This leaflet will briefly discuss how much of a problem students are having with mental health conditions, why they may be suffering, what they may be suffering from, and what to do to help them. It is important to remember that many conditions that students may present with are common life problems, and as such, don’t fall under the category of mental health conditions. However, there are many conditions seen in students that will
be discussed here.

(We appreciate that ‘university’ in the UK is called ‘college’ in the USA. For the purposes of this leaflet we will use ‘university’ to refer to both. Whilst university education is open to all ages and many people take time out before attending, we are largely referring to people aged between 17 and 25 years old when we refer to undergraduates.)

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Long-term health conditions

Research is beginning to recognise the relationship between long-term health conditions and mental health.

Many individuals living with long-term health conditions struggle with comorbid mental health problems. Facing a long-term health condition or mental health condition can be difficult alone, so understandably experiencing both together can increase the distress that an individual experiences.

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Mental health in later life

This information sheet will look at some of the commonly occurring mental health conditions that occur in later life, as well as providing some tips to improve your quality of life in your retirement years.

We have decided to include a section on dementia as, whilst there is debate about whether this is a mental or physical condition, it does affect mental faculties, so we think it’s important to include it here.

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Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding Disorder is a relatively new diagnosis in its own right, having only been recognised as a standalone disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual V which was released in 2013. Due to this there is unfortunately a limited amount of information on the condition and how many people it affects. However, hoarding is not a new behaviour and was instead previously thought to only occur as a symptom of other conditions. These conditions include Schizophrenia, Dementia and Depression, as well as physical conditions that limit one’s ability to throw things away. However, the primary condition in which those with hoarding behaviours were thought to fit was Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Whilst there are clear situations when hoarding is an OCD symptom, there is also a growing body of research and literature that highlight that not everyone with hoarding behaviours has OCD, which has led to the new disorder classification developing.

Throughout this brochure we will use the term hoarding to refer to Hoarding Disorder, as well as other instances of hoarding. Where we are using research that was based on old definitions of hoarding we shall highlight this to the reader. We hope this brief brochure will be of use to sufferers of hoarding, as well as their families and those who want to learn more. We will touch on what hoarding entails, as well as discussing the causes of hoarding, how common a condition hoarding is, and how hoarding is treated.

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Eating Disorders

“Eating disorders” is the term used to describe a category of mental illnesses involving disordered eating and weight problems. This category can then generally be separated into four main disorders Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED).

Some clinicians argue that separating eating disorders into smaller classifications can, in some cases, hinder treatment when new diagnosis labels are needed. Currently the consensus is that these four disorder classifications will be kept in place, while others may be added in the future.

These are serious and often complex disorders that can have significant and long-lasting impacts on a person’s life. Whilst most consequences of eating disorders can be reversed with effective treatment, there are some problems such as osteoporosis that will stay with a sufferer for the rest of his or her life. In other cases, eating disorders can unfortunately be fatal, with Anorexia Nervosa currently having the highest mortality rate for any psychiatric disorder. We therefore encourage anybody reading this leaflet who may be suffering, or suspect someone they know is suffering, to seek professional help as soon as possible.

This brochure will aim to highlight some of the basics of the eating disorder category, but as this is such a complex area we will only be scratching the surface. We therefore encourage sufferers, or those with an interest in the subject, to seek out further additional materials.

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