(Image: Virgin Care Private)

Mental health problems affect more than 1 in 4 people and left unchecked, minor problems can become more serious and more difficult to treat as time goes by.

When we think about the phrase ‘mental health’, we often think of symptoms like low mood and conditions such as depression or anxiety.

In fact, everyone has mental health – we will all have times when our mental health is good – and times when it is less good. Just like physical health.

So, whether it’s the strains of modern life, the impact of social media or increased awareness, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and panic disorders or something completely different, it’s really important we are all aware of our mental health and how we can manage it.

And with such an increase in demand, getting help isn’t always easy and can take time. But Sabina Bedi, Virgin Care Private’s Consultant Psychologist, is helping people take back control and live life better with appointments available within 24 hours available to book now at www.virgincareprivate.co.uk.

Here’s Sabina’s top 10 tips for spotting some of the most common mental health difficulties she sees at the Edmund Street, Birmingham clinic.

  1. Anxiety is a general feeling of worry, nervousness or unease which affects your thinking. It includes over-worrying and feeling fearful that something ‘bad’ is going to happen. It can affect you physically as well as mentally, with irregular breathing, stomach churning or a constant feeling of nervousness.
  2. You might find yourself avoiding situations which can trigger your anxiety. Long periods of stress, traumatic events and a general tendency to worry a lot can all be triggers.
  3. If you’re feeling particularly anxious or have been for a few days, try controlled breathing exercises or exercise – it can help to reduce the physical symptoms and acts as a distraction technique to keep your mind off your worries. Going for a walk, trying your hand at a crossword or hobbies can all help.
  4. Limit the amount of caffeine you’re consuming if you’re feeling anxious. It’s a stimulant – so it can increase the level of anxiety you’re feeling
  5. Depression is a state of low mood that can last for a long period. People with depression can have disturbed sleep – waking up early or finding it hard to get to sleep – as well as high levels of hopelessness, and a reluctance to take part in activities you’ve enjoyed in the past, low self-esteem, low energy levels and a difficulty concentrating.
  6. Depression isn’t always caused by a specific event, but there are some common situations that can bring about feelings of depression. These include bereavement, family problems, stress at work or relationship problems.
  7. There’s plenty you can do if you’re feeling depressed – it isn’t something you have to face on your own. Try to make sure you have a good social support system, don’t isolate yourself and take time of out of the business of life for self-care.
  8. If you’re finding it difficult to talk to your friends and family, or you’re finding it difficult to know where to begin with self-care, you might find it easier to talk to a GP or a psychologist.
  9. Irrational fears (phobias) are more common than you might think. An extreme and irrational fear of spiders, or small spaces or something else which causes sweating, trembling, hot flushes or chills, a shortness of breath or a difficulty breathing are all quite common. Quite often triggered by an unpleasant experience like being attacked by a dog, the sight of blood, or certain social situations, support from a Psychologist is the best way to help you overcome the fear.
  10. Panic disorder is a form of anxiety which causes regular panic attacks, often out of the blue. It can feel like you’re breathless, light-headed and can include palpitations. Difficulty breathing is an emotional response to anxiety, which increases your physical symptoms, including your heart rate. It can be triggered by a bereavement, family problems, stress at work, or a history of health problems. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy from a psychologist is the best form of help – focusing on developing coping strategies which reframe your response to situations.

It’s important to remember that everyone is different and so everyone has a different experience and symptoms may vary from person to person, or even from day to day – and a conversation with a doctor or a psychologist is the best way to get back on top of things. Virgin Care Private have created a guide to coping with stress, anxiety and depression, which you can find here.

Virgin Care Private, Birmingham’s new health and wellbeing clinic, has a range of emotional wellbeing specialists on hand to give advice, coaching and treatment to help you get back to feeling your best.

With same-day GP appointments for just £55 and a range of specialists, like Sabina, available to book within 24 hours you can get the support you need, when you need it, to live life better. Virgin Care Private is on demand, you don’t need health insurance and it doesn’t cost the earth.

Find out more about the emotional wellbeing services at the city centre clinic here: www.virgincareprivate.co.uk.