A Wee Q&A the North Lanarkshire Mental Health Campaign

Find out the answers to some common questions you might have about mental health, as well as an introduction to what you can expect from the rest of the campaign page created by young people in North Lanarkshire.

'What's Mental Health?'

Mental health is likely a term you’ve heard a lot recently, but you may never have given it a second thought. Mental health doesn’t just refer to mental illness- everyone has it, all the time, just like your physical health. Your mental health can be good or bad.

It’s also VERY important to note that bad mental health doesn’t mean you’re somehow a bad person, weak, or a failure, as it’s often down to factors totally beyond your control such as changes in your body or unexpected events in your life.

Another problem people with mental health issues run into is stigma.

'Oh No, Here We Go With the Fancy Words. What's Stigma?'

Without getting too technical, stigma in this context is basically people attaching bad things to a particular quality in other people. A common misconception is that anyone with a mental illness is somehow dangerous. Sometimes, this is down to things like horror movies, where the villain is portrayed as a "psycho" with a vaguely-defined condition.

Often this isn't done with much research behind it, and bits of media just do it because other people have done it. This becomes a problem when people apply this stereotype to real life - avoiding, excluding or even being cruel to someone because they've been labelled "mental".

This can obviously make someone's day-to-day life miserable, which is why there are so many people nowadays trying to fight against it. In Scotland, we tend to think of ourselves as quite open-minded, but the reality is that depending on the situation it can be just as bad as anywhere else.

‘I’ve Not Got a Condition. Why Should I Care?’

You might feel fine now, but you may have problems in the future- you might as well be prepared. Adult life can be very stressful and some people find it difficult to cope, especially after moving away on their own. Being aware of what makes you feel good and bad, and how to lead a life you find fulfilling, can potentially allow you to avoid serious mental health problems.

Another reason to get in the know is that your friends and family could also be affected. Someone you know could really be struggling, and afraid to open up. You don’t need special training to help with this, sometimes you just need to listen.

'What Causes Mental Illness?'

Sometimes, life gets you down. There are many common turns of phrase that relate to or express this- ‘the daily grind’, ‘the rat race’ and so on. A lot of things can cause your mental wellbeing to take a turn for the worse, and that’s perfectly normal.

Everyone will react to and deal with these in a different way. Sometimes it takes multiple causes. It can be set off by a single event or something that happens often.

Common causes include:

  • Abuse, neglect or bullying
  • A traumatic event (such as a moment where you thought you might die)
  • Poverty
  • Long-term stress (for example if you’re overworked at a job or struggling at school)
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Someone you love dying
  • Being seriously injured

This obviously varies from person to person, and this is not an exhaustive list. This doesn’t mean that these things will inevitably cause you to have a mental illness- just that you shouldn’t feel weird for worrying about them.

No matter what causes someone’s mental illness, it isn’t their fault. If someone you know is mentally unwell, remember that it’s not a choice or something they can just snap out of.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, you deserve help no matter what, and getting it is part of your human rights.

The Rest of the Campaign Page

Now you (hopefully) know a bit more about the subject, go back and take a look at the other articles and links on the page.

If you need urgent help or support, we've got a list of numbers and emails you can contact at almost any time to speak to a professional. If you have any more questions, there are plenty of sites linked that have FAQ pages or someone you can contact for more information.

If you want to know more about a specific condition or issue, or need advice on supporting yourself or other people, then we've got what you need.