What does that mean?

Want to understand what different terms mean and what they look like? See our jargon free descriptions.

Abuse is a broad term that can relate to the physical, mental, sexual or emotional abuse of a person. Any action that intentionally harms or injures another person is abuse.
The term also encompasses inappropriate use of any substance, especially those that alter consciousness (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamines) for more on this see Addiction and dependency.

What are the signs or symptoms of abuse?
• Bruises, burns, bite marks
• Fractures or broken bones
• Other injuries and health problems
• Isolated
• Lack social skills
• Struggle to control strong emotions.

For more information on abuse check out Childline. https://www.childline.org.uk

For help and advice click here.

To read about how Fiona dealt with abuse:

Addiction and dependency are often linked to mental health problems. People can become addicted to most things from alcohol and drugs through to gaming, social media and even sex. These things are often used to escape a feeling that they may not know how to deal with.
Addiction especially to substances can also cause mental health issues, triggering paranoia, psychosis and anxiety.

Signs and symptoms someone could be struggling with addiction or dependency?
Please note not all of these will apply to all types of addiction.
• Increased secrecy,
• Looking tired, strung out or wired,
• Frequently asking for money, or being unable to pay for things,
• Skipping social events with no explanation.

Addiction and dependency issues could be triggered by a number of different things from a traumatic event to feeling overwhelmed on a daily basis. Dependency is generally built up over a longer period time as people ‘slip into’ habits they feel unable to break.

For more information on abuse check out the local organisation Refresh.

For help and advice click here.

Anger is a natural human emotion that can cause physical and mental responses, it takes different forms from blinding rages, to irritation to lasting resentment.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might be angry?
• Hit or physically hurt other people
• Shout at other people
• Mix with people who get you into trouble
• Break things
• Lose control
• Wind people up

Anger is a normal emotion to feel, especially in some situations like during a grieving process or as a response to insults.
However sometimes Anger issues can become more serious, they could be triggered by a number of different things from someone having problems at home or school, having argued with a friend or boyfriend or girlfriend and feeling unhappy and the emotion can come out as anger.
People can feel that no one understands them, or anger at having experienced abuse or neglect.

For more information on anger issues check out the Young Minds page.

For help and advice click here.

To read about how Robbie dealt with his anger issues:

Characterised by feelings of worry and fear, people with anxiety disorders might be living with near constant feelings of apprehension and dread about everyday situations. They often have trouble concentrating and watch out for signs of danger.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have anxiety?
• Irritability
• Restlessness
• Pounding heart/sweating
• Dizziness
• Frequent urination or diarrhoea
• Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
• Tremors and twitches
• Insomnia

Anxiety could be triggered by a number of different things from exams to everyday life.

For more information on Anxiety issues go to Young Minds

For help and advice click here.

Watch to see how Zoella has dealt with their anxiety click here.

Autism is a ‘spectrum’ disorder that affects different people in different ways. Autism is a lifelong, developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them.

The symptoms and characteristics of autism can present themselves in a wide variety of combinations. Both children and adults can exhibit any combination of autistic behaviours in varying degrees of severity. This means that two children, both with the same diagnosis, can act very differently from one another and have varying skills.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have autism?
• Difficulty in understanding others and also in communicating themselves.
• Many autistic people are delayed in learning to speak and some do not develop speech.
• Finding it hard to understand the social behaviour of others.
• Behaving in socially inappropriate ways.
• Very literal thinking and interpreting of language, often unable to read social context.
• Special interests in particular topics or activities, which may become obsessive.
• Happy with routines and can struggle with change.
• Sensitivity (or insensitivity) to certain sounds, sights and textures.
• They may also make unusual eye contact – ie. they may not talk and look at someone at the same time.

The most likely cause of ASD is genetic although there are some researchers who think that environmental factors trigger the condition. Autism is something a person is born with and isn’t developed.

For more information on Autism issues visit the National Autistic Society at http://www.autism.org.uk/

For help and advice click you can get in touch with the local NAS branch. http://hulleastridingnas.weebly.com/

To read about how Trevor has dealt with autism click here.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – or ADHD – is thought to be to do with a chemical imbalance in the brain that affects concentration, attention and impulsivity. A person with ADHD will often struggle with attention, appear restless and overactive.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have ADHD?
• Overactive and/or impulsive behaviour.
• Paying little or no attention to details and as such so making careless mistakes.
• Trouble finishing work or school projects.
• Difficulty in paying attention and easily distracted.
• Always “on the go”.
• Impatient – can act before thinking.
• Often speak before thinking by blurting out and interrupting others.

The causes of ADHD are still not fully known. It is believed to be caused by low levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which carry messages from one neuron to another.
Most cases begin in childhood and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood.

For more information on ADHD issues check out the mental health foundation.

For help and advice click here.

To read about how Dana has dealt with her ADHD click here.

Bereavement is the time we spend adjusting following a loss. Grief is normal and there is no standard reaction or time limit on coming to terms with losing someone (a person, a pet or sometimes a thing). Everyone must learn to cope in their own way.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might be grieving?
• Highly emotional, crying and unable to face the day.
• Longer term impact including depression and anxiety.
• Loneliness.
• Anger.
• Fatigue.
• Nausea.
• Lowered immunity.
• Weight loss or weight gain.
• Aches and pains.
• Insomnia.

Grief and bereavement is always triggered by the loss of someone or the memory of a loss.

For more information and advice on Bereavement check out the charity Cruise.

To read about how other young people have coped with loss.

Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your mood and often means people swing from one extreme to another with Manic and Depressive episodes.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might be Bipolar?
• Extreme changes in behaviour (from being really energetic to really sad)
• During a period of depression signs include:
– Lack of energy,
– Self-doubt, feelings of despair and guilt,
– Lack of appetite and difficulty sleeping,
– Being delusional, having hallucinations and not being able to think straight.
• During a manic period, signs include:
– Being very happy, elated and overjoyed,
– Talking very quickly and being full of energy,
– Having new ideas and plans,
– Being easily distracted and making decisions that could be risky or harmful.

Bipolar can be managed and often people can be in a balanced position for a while. Manic and depressive episodes could be triggered by a number of different things and can often just happen for no specific reason.

For more information on Bipolar go to the mental health foundation.

To read about how Ellie has dealt with her bipolar click here.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look. This may mean when they look in the mirror they genuinely see an overweight person when that is not reality as a result they spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have BDD?
• Constantly comparing their looks to other people’s.
• Spending a prolonged amount of time in front of a mirror, or avoid mirrors altogether.
• Trying to conceal what they believe is a defect.
• Becoming distressed by a particular area of their body (most commonly their face).
• Feeling anxious around other people and avoiding social situations.
• Being secretive and reluctant to seek help.
• Believe others will think they are vain or self-obsessed.
• They may have cosmetic surgery to solve their ‘defect’, which is unlikely to relieve their distress.
• Excessive dieting and exercise.

No one knows exactly what causes BDD. However, there are a number of risk factors that could mean someone is more likely to experience BDD. These include abuse or bullying, low self-esteem, fear of being alone or isolated, perfectionism or competing with others, genetics and depression or anxiety.

For more information on BDD go to Mind.

For help and advice click here.

To read about how Emma has dealt with BDD click here.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder. It causes you to form or have attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that have longstanding implications for your life.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have BPD?
• Fear of being abandoned, doing anything to stop that happening.
• Very intense emotions that last from a few hours to a few days and can change quickly.
• Lack of conviction about who they are which changes depending on who they’re with.
• Struggling to create and maintain stable relationships.
• Acting impulsively and doing things that could harm you (i.e. binge eating, using drugs or driving dangerously).
• Having suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harming behaviour.
• Feeling empty and lonely a lot.
• Anger issues.
• Feeling paranoid.
• Having psychotic experiences, such as seeing or hearing things other people don’t.
• Feeling numb or ‘checked out’ and not remember things properly after they’ve happened.

There’s no clear reason why some people develop BPD. Although generally it is suggested that it could be to do with one or more of the following: a difficult childhood and teenage experiences, genetic factors and personality traits.

For more information on BPD go to Mind.

For help and advice click here.

To read about how Tas has dealt with BPD click here.

Bullying is when one person intimidates, upsets or excludes another with the intention of being hurtful.
What are the signs and symptoms someone might be being bullied?
• Name-calling, teasing or saying untrue things about the person.
• It can be physical, for example pushing, hitting or kicking, and can include serious physical violence.
• Can involve taking money or other things from the victim, either by force or using pressure to persuade them.
Bullying using mobile phones includes sending unkind texts, filming or taking photos of the victim without permission.

Cyber-bullying is bullying on the internet, using email, instant messaging or social networking sites to intimidate, expose or spread rumours about others. Cyber-bullying is one of the biggest concerns for young people today as the internet and social media is so readily available. It is important to be careful what you share with friends in order to protect yourself. No one should upload images to the internet without consent from the person in the photo.
If you are worried about bullying on the internet or social media, or want more tips and advice for staying safe on the internet visit the www.caremonkeys.co.uk which has been developed by young people in Hull

Children and young people who bully others may be doing it for a variety of reasons but often they may be experiencing unhappiness, anger or feelings of powerlessness. They may have experienced bullying or abuse at home or in another situation, and be inflicting this on others in turn, to make up for their own negative feelings.

For more information on bullying go to Young Minds.

Or download the local Care Monkeys app which was created by young people in Hull.

Visit our local HeadStart Youtube channel which includes local videos made with young people about bullying and its affects.

To watch how Jack dealt with bullying click here:

Watch Gemma Oaten’s story of Bullying here.

Claustrophobia is the irrational fear of confined spaces
What are the signs and symptoms that someone has claustrophobia?
• Feelings of anxiety
• sweating
• trembling
• hot flushes or chills
• shortness of breath, chest pain, or a tight feeling in the chest
• rapid heartbeat
• a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
• nausea
• headaches and dizziness, feeling faint, ringing in your ears
• dry mouth
• feeling confused or disorientated

Claustrophobia is often caused by a traumatic event experienced during early childhood. It can also be triggered by unpleasant experiences or situations, such as turbulence when flying or being stuck in a tube tunnel between stations.

For more information on claustrophobia go NHS Choices.

For help and advice click here.

Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life. In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.

What are the signs and symptoms that someone has depression?
• lack of energydown, upset or tearful
• restless, agitated or irritable
• guilty, worthless and down on yourself
• empty and numb
• isolated and unable to relate to other people
• finding no pleasure in life or things you usually enjoy
• no self-confidence or self-esteem
• suicidal

Depression can be caused by a reaction to something in your life such as abuse, family breakdown or bullying. Depression may run in your family and be caused by genetic factors or it may be that you are under a lot of stress and feel you have a lack of support. Depression can also occur for no apparent reason

For more information on Depression go Young Minds.

To read about how Hayley dealt with depression click here.

Stress is the reaction people have to excessive demands or pressures. It’s very common to feel stressed around exam time. You might feel there’s a huge amount of pressure to do well, or anxious you can’t fit all the revision in. The build up to results day can also leave you feeling overwhelmed and run down.

What are the signs and symptoms that someone has depression?
• Difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty waking up in the morning
• Forgetfulness
• Poor appetite
• Social withdrawal, loss of interest in activities
• Increased anxiety and irritability
• “Flying off the handle”
• Increased heart rate
• Migraines/headaches
• Blurred vision and/or dizziness

Exam stress can be triggered by various things such as the pressure from pressure from parents and relatives to do well or the need to get high grades to get on track for the career you really want. Uncertainty about what to do next can be really stressful, feeling like “there are so many options, what if I make the wrong choice?”

For more information on exam stress go to The Mix.

To watch how Jess dealt with school stress watch.

There are a number of types of eating disorder, all with very different presentations. The two most common eating disorders are Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia – more detail is included below.

Anorexia nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which often leads to restrictive eating and an intense fear of gaining weight. Although the effects are very physical, it is a serious mental health problem. Often sufferers judge their self-worth on their weight and it is about much more than skipping meals.

What are some of the Behavioural signs and symptoms someone might be Anorexic?
• Pre-occupation with their size and weight.
• Distorted perception of body shape or weight, genuinely believing they are bigger than they are.
• May underestimate the seriousness of the problem even after diagnosis.
• Lying about eating or what they have eaten, giving excuses or pretending they have eaten earlier.
• Eating only low-calorie food in small portions (i.e. half an apple).
• Missing meals (restricting).
• Avoiding eating with other people.
• Hiding food, or cutting food into tiny pieces.
• Obsessive behaviour and rituals around eating.
• Excessive exercising.
• Social withdrawal and isolation, shutting yourself off from the world.

What are some of the physical signs and symptoms someone might be Anorexic?
• Severe weight loss.
• Difficulty sleeping and tiredness.
• Feeling dizzy.
• Stomach pains – Constipation and bloating.
• Feeling cold or having a low body temperature.
• Growth of downy (soft and fine) hair all over your body (called Lanugo).
• Getting irritable and moody.
• Difficulty concentrating.
• Low blood pressure.

There is no single cause of anorexia and everyone’s reasons or triggers can be very different. It is usually understood as being due to a combination of factors including but not limited to low self-esteem, perfectionism, stress and depression and societal pressures to have the perfect body.

For help and advice click here. Beat website
See how Isabella has dealt with their anorexia click here.

Bulimia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa is a serious eating disorder where someone might feel that they have lost control over their eating and constantly evaluate their body shape and weight. Someone with bulimia may feel caught in a cycle of binge (eating large quantities of food), and then purging (attempting to get rid of the food – typically vomiting).

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have bulimia?
• Bingeing and purging behaviours.
• Secretive eating behaviours.
• Distorted perception of body shape or weight.
• Feelings of guilt and shame around food and eating.
• Anxiety or depression.
• Disappearing after eating.
• Feeling tired or lethargic.
• Stomach pains.
• Constant sore throat.
• Bad breath.
• Signs of alcohol misuse.
• Low self-esteem.

Bulimia is caused by a wide range of biological, psychological and social factors. Reasons why someone may develop bulimia can be very different between individuals with bulimia. Food can be a way of coping with distressing emotions and feelings.

Many people report triggers and negative emotions occurring before a binge. Low self-esteem and perfectionist tendencies, fear that they are inadequate in some way, fear rejection or have strong desires to gain the approval of others can also be triggers.

New research also suggests that genetics, neurological changes or neurochemicals in the brain may be factors in developing bulimia.

For more information and advice on Bulimia check out the https://www.b-eat.co.uk/

For help and advice click here.

To read about how Claire has dealt with bulimia.

Insomnia means that you have difficulty in falling asleep or getting back to sleep if you wake up in the night. It can also mean that you find yourself waking up very early in the morning. You may find that sleeping does not refresh you, and that you feel constantly tired.

What are the signs and symptoms that someone has insomnia?
• Difficulty falling asleep at night/awakening during the night/awakening too early
• Not feeling well rested after a night’s sleep
• Daytime tiredness or sleepiness
• Irritability, depression or anxiety
• Difficulty paying attention, focusing on tasks or remembering
• Increased errors or accidents
• Tension headaches
• Ongoing worries about sleep

Many things can trigger insomnia, some which are relatively easy to change; a poor sleep routine – going to bed too early or too late, or not relaxing properly before bed. A poor sleep environment for instance sleeping somewhere uncomfortable, or with too much light or noise. A change in sleep normal patterns like for those who work shifts or night can be a problem if your body doesn’t adjust.

Some people develop anxieties or phobias about going to sleep after a period of poor sleep, and other anxieties and worries, such as exam stress or relationship issues can add to the insomnia. This can also be true for trauma, people may find it hard to sleep after experiencing a traumatic event, such as an accident or a bereavement.

Alcohol, street drugs and stimulants and other medications may indicate insomnia as a side effect.

For more information on insomnia go to Mind (for over 16s).

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive activity meaning they feel they have to repeat actions, thoughts or feelings
An obsession is an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters a person’s mind, causing feelings of anxiety, disgust or unease.
A compulsion is a repetitive behaviour or mental act that someone feels they need to carry out to try to temporarily relieve the unpleasant feelings brought on by the obsessive thought.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have OCD?
• Rituals for example washing hands a number of times, touching things in a particular order
• Checking things, for example having to check a door is locked several times,
Constant repetition of an action (i.e. washing hands, checking lock, light switches and taps, counting, or ordering)
• Correcting thoughts, this is having to repeat a name, word or phrase, or counting to a certain number

OCD triggers are completely different for different people and often are part of everyday activities.
There are different theories about why OCD develops; none of these theories can fully explain every person’s experience. Even though we don’t fully understand what causes OCD it can still be successfully treated.

For more help with OCD please go to Young Minds.

To read about how Felix dealt with their OCD click here.

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear when there isn’t an obvious danger or cause. When they occur the person might feel like they are losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have anxiety?
• Pounding heart/sweating
• Dizziness
• Shortness of breath or even a chocking sensation
• Surge of overwhelming panic
• Heart palpitations or chest pain
• Trembling or shaking
• Nausea
• Feeling like they’re about to pass out.

Panic attacks could be triggered by a number of different things from exams to everyday life.

For more information on Panic Attacks go to Young Minds.

To read about how Sarah has dealt with her panic attacks click here.

Personality disorders are a type of mental health problem where someone’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviours cause longstanding problems in their life. The experience of personality disorder is unique to each person. However, they may often experience difficulties in how they think about themselves and others, and may find it difficult to change these unwanted patterns.

What are the signs and symptoms someone might have a personality disorder?
• experiencing negative feelings such as distress, anxiety, worthlessness or anger
• having difficulties managing those feelings without harmful coping mechanisms such as substance misuse, self-harming or in rare cases threatening others
• displaying unusual or ‘odd’ behaviour
• avoiding other people
• having difficulties maintaining close relationships
• sometimes losing touch with reality

There are thought to be different triggers to personality disorders, such as if someone has been a victim of emotional, physical or sexual abuse, has been exposed to chronic fear or distress as a child, been neglected by one or both parents. Growing up with another family member who had a serious mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder or a drink or drug misuse problem can also be a trigger for a child.

For more help with personality disorders go to Mind.

To read about how Kayla dealt with her personality disorder click here.

A phobia is an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as going outside) or object (such as spiders), even when there is no danger.

Many of us have fears about particular objects or situations, and this is perfectly normal. A fear becomes a phobia if it lasts for more than six months, and has a significant impact on how you live your day-to-day life.

The signs and symptoms of having an extreme phobia are:
• feeling unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded or faint
• feeling like you are choking
• a pounding heart, palpitations or accelerated heart rate
• chest pain or tightness in the chest
• sweating
• hot or cold flushes
• shortness of breath or a smothering sensation
• nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
• numbness or tingling sensations
• trembling or shaking

There is one trigger of phobias, but there are several factors that might play a role:
• Particular incidents or traumas. For example, someone who experiences a lot of turbulence on a plane at a young age might later develop a phobia about flying.
• Learned responses, picked up in early life. You might develop the same specific phobia as a parent or older sibling. Factors in the family environment, such as parents who are very worried or anxious, can have an effect on the way you cope with anxiety in later life.
• Responses to panic or fear. If you have a strong reaction, or panic attack, in response to a particular situation or object, and you find this embarrassing or people around you react strongly, this can cause you to develop a more intense anxiety about being in that situation again.
• Long-term stress can cause feelings of anxiety and depression, and reduce your ability to cope in particular situations. This can make you feel more fearful or anxious about being in those situations again, and over a long period, could lead to you developing a phobia.

For more help with phobias go to Mind.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Most commonly associated with War Veterans, it can also be a result of abuse, bullying, violent attacks and events (i.e. earthquakes, car accidents). These symptoms are often severe and persistent enough to have a significant impact on the person’s day-to-day life.

• Re-experiencing – involuntarily and vividly re-living a traumatic event in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, repetitive and distressing images or sensations,
• Pain,
• Sweating,
• Nausea,
• Trembling,
• Insomnia,
• Bedwetting,
• Difficulty concentrating,
• Being unusually anxious about being separated from a parent or another adult,
• Young children might re-enacting the traumatic event(s) through their play.

There are internal and external triggers to PTSD, the internal triggers include anger, anxiety, sadness, feeling lonely and abandoned, or out of control. External triggers can be seeing a news article/movie or TV show that reminds you of the traumatic event, an anniversary or seeing someone who reminds you of the event.

For help with PTSD go to NHS choices.

To read about how Lisa dealt with her PTSD click here.

Psychosis (also called a psychotic experience or psychotic episode) is when you perceive or interpret reality in a very different way from people around you. You might be said to ‘lose touch’ with reality.

The signs and symptoms of psychosis are:
• Hallucinations – this may be where a person perceives something that doesn’t exist in reality, so can see, hear, feel, touch or smell something that isn’t really there)
• Delusions – this is where a person has an unshakeable belief in something implausible, bizarre, or obviously untrue. Paranoid delusion often results in someone thinking a person or people are trying to kill them, and delusions of grandeur lead to the person thinking they have an imaginary power or authority. For example, they may think they’re the president of a country or they have the power to bring people back from the dead.
• confused and disturbed thoughts – the person will often have disrupted patterns of thought which leads to rapid and constant speech, which can often me random, switching from one topic to another midsentence
• lack of insight and self-awareness – the person has no idea that their behaviour is in anyway strange, and that their hallucinations and delusions are not real.
Psychosis isn’t a condition in itself – it’s triggered by other specific mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or severe depression. It can also be triggered by a traumatic experience.

For more information on Psychosis go to NHS Choices.

To read about how Sarah has dealt with her psychosis click here.

It is possible to recover from mental health problems and many people do – especially after accessing support. Symptoms may return from time to time, but when someone has discovered which self-care techniques and treatments and work best for them, they are more likely to feel confident in managing them.
If someone has a more serious mental health problem, it’s still very possible to find ways to manage their symptoms. For many people, getting better doesn’t necessarily mean going back to how their life was before, but learning new ways to live their life the way they want to, and gaining control over areas of their life that might have felt out of control before.
It’s important to remember that recovery is a journey, it won’t always be easy but people should find out the best way for them to cope, rather than trying to get rid of every symptom. Recovery is a personal journey.

For more help with recovery go to Mind.

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health problem which affects your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia:
• Hallucinations – this may be where a person perceives something that doesn’t exist in reality, so can see, hear, feel, touch or smell something that isn’t really there)
• Delusions – this is where a person has an unshakeable belief in something implausible, bizarre, or obviously untrue. They may think aliens are talking to them, the government is spying on them, or a boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on them but can not explain why
• Muddled thinking – the person can’t concentrate on a film storyline, or read an article to the end. Their thoughts might be muddled and jump from one idea to the next.
• Being controlled– they feel like their life is being controlled – that someone else is putting the thoughts in their mind and may feel like their body is being taken over.
• Negative problems – because they can’t concentrate ‘negative symptoms’ may occur, which means the person losing interest in their normal life, they can’t be bothered to wash, or go out, meet friends or study

For more help with schizophrenia go to NHS Choices.

To read about how Joe dealt with his schizophrenia click here.

Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. When we have healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general. It makes us able to deal with life’s ups and downs better. When our self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more negative and critical light. We also feel less able to take on the challenges life throws at us.

The signs and symptoms of low self esteem are:
• Hate or dislike of yourself, feeling worthless and not good enough
• Unable to make decisions or assert yourself
• Feeling blame and guilt for things that aren’t your fault
• Unable to recognise your strengths

Low self-esteem often begins in childhood. Teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media give us lots of messages – both positive and negative. But for some reason, the negative messages stick. People often find it difficult to live up to other people’s expectations of them, or their own expectations.

Stress and difficult life events, such as serious illness or a bereavement, can have a negative effect on self-esteem. Personality can also play a part. Some of us are simply more prone to negative thinking, while others set impossibly high standards for themselves.

For more help with self esteem click here

Self-harm is when someone hurts themselves as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, old memories, or overwhelming situations and experiences. This hurt can be physical, such as cutting, or can also be less obvious, such as putting themselves in risky situations, or not looking after their physical or emotional needs.

Signs and symptoms of self-harming can include:
• cutting/poisoning/burning yourself
• over-eating or under-eating
• inserting objects into the body
• overdosing
• exercising excessively
• scratching and hair pulling

People may self-harm if they are feeling anxious, depressed or stressed or if they are being bullied and don’t have a support network or way to deal with your problems. The issues then ‘build up’ to the point where they feel like they are going to explode. Young people who self-harm often talk about the ‘release’ that they feel after they have self-harmed, as they use it as a mechanism to cope with their problems.

People may self-harm to relieve tension, to try and gain control of the issues that may be concerning them or to punish themselves.

For more help with self-harm go to Young minds:

To read about how Hayley dealt with her self harm click here:

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure.
Pressure turns into stress when you feel unable to cope. People have different ways of reacting to stress, so a situation that feels stressful to one person may be motivating to someone else. Stress can develop into more serious mental health problems, and so it is important to ask for help if you feel unable to cope.

The signs and symptoms of stress:
• Sleeping problems
• Sweating
• Loss of appetite
• Difficulty concentrating
• Anxious
• Irritable
• Headaches, pain and dizziness

Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in life which involve:
• being under lots of pressure
• facing big changes
• worrying about something
• not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
• having responsibilities that you’re finding overwhelming
• not having enough work, activities or change in your life

For help with stress go to Mind.

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking your own life.
Suicidal feelings can range from being preoccupied by a person’s abstract thoughts about ending their life, or feeling that people would be better off without them, to thinking about methods of suicide, or making clear plans to take their own life.

If you don’t feel you can keep yourself safe right now, seek immediate help.

Struggling to cope with certain difficulties in life can cause suicidal feelings, such as:
• mental health problems
• bullying or discrimination
• domestic abuse
• bereavement
• long-term physical pain or illness
• money problems or homelessness
• isolation or loneliness
• being in prison
• feeling inadequate or a failure
• addiction or substance abuse
• cultural pressure, such as forced marriage
• doubts about your sexual or gender identity
• sexual or physical abuse

For more help with suicidal feelings go to Mind or Samaritans.

To read about how Ashleigh dealt with her best friend’s suicide click here.

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological condition (affecting the brain and nervous system), characterised by a combination of involuntary noises and movements called tics.

The signs and symptoms of Tourettes syndrome:
• sounds, such as grunting, coughing or shouting out words
• physical (movements) – such as jerking of the head or jumping up and down

They can also be:
• simple – making a small movement or uttering a single sound
• complex – making a series of physical movements or speaking a long phrase

The cause of Tourette’s syndrome is unknown. However, it’s thought to be linked to problems with a part of the brain known as the basal ganglia, which helps regulate body movements.
In people with Tourette’s syndrome, the basal ganglia ‘misfire’, resulting in the characteristic tics.

For more help with Tourettes go to NHS Choices.

If you want more information about any of the mental health problems you have read about here check out NHS Choices, Mind (national), Rethink or Time to Change.

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