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Mental health

What is the definition of mental health?

Mental health is defined as, ‘A state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’.  World Health Organisation (2010).

Mental Health can be seen as a continuum wherein and individuals mental health may have many different possible values.

Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how “mental health” is defined.

Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Most of these disorders can be successfully treated. World Health Organisation (2010).

There are different types of mental health problems. Mental health problems can be broadly seperated into two main categories:

  • Common mental health problems these include depression and anxiety disorder, panic attacks, phobia's, acute stress disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder;
  • Psychosis - schizophrenia and bipolor disorder (previously called manic depression) are less common.

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What is the impact of adult mental health?

The association between adult mental health disorders and child abuse and neglect has been well documented. It is estimated that health problems will affect 1 in 4 adults at some point in their lives.

Mental health problems are disturbances in the way people think, feel and behave. Untreated a mental health problem can have a major impact on an individuals ability to function. Risk factors differ depending on the mental health problem.

The majority of people recover or learn to lead meaningful and fulfilled lives despite their diagnosis. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence produces evidence based guidance on the treatment of mental health problems

Visit the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (external website)

Many children will grow up with a parent who, at some point, will have some degree of mental health problem. Most of these parents will have mild or short-lived illnesses, and will usually be treated by their general practitioner. A few children live with a parent who has a severe mental illness.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists produce a factsheet on parental mental illness; the impact on children and adolescents; information for parents, carers and anyone working with young people.

Visit the Royal Collect of Psychiatrists website (external website)

The impact is explored further in Children’s Needs – Parenting Capacity available to download below:

Children's Needs Parenting Capacity (pdf 877kb opens in a new window)

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What are the responsibilities of support services?

Adult mental health services – including those providing general adult and community, forensic, psychotherapy, alcohol and substance misuse and learning disability services – have a responsibility in safeguarding children when they become aware of, or identify, a child at risk of harm.

Is there local training available?

East Riding Safeguarding Children Partnership

You can access information and apply on-line for a range of inter-agency mental health training

Youth Mental Health First Aid    

The course overview and aims are the same as MHFA, but focus on 11 to 18 year olds.

The course covers:

  • development;
  • common youth mental health problems;
  • depression and anxiety;
  • suicide and self harm;
  • psychosis;
  • substance misuse and eating disorders;
  • mental health policy and legislation.

To apply online for this course please go to the training page:

ERSCP training

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Where can I find out further information?

Single Point of Access - Mental Health

Worried about you own or someone's elses health? You can access local adult services via:

Tel: 01482 617560 Monday to Friday 8am until 6pm

Bipolar UK

Web: bipolaruk.org.uk (external website)
Tel:  020 7931 6480

Support for people with bipolar disorder (including hypomania) and their families and friends.

British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)

Tel:  0161 705 4304
Web: babcp.com (external website)

Can provide details of accredited therapists.

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

Tel:  (01455) 883300
Web: itsgoodtotalk.org.uk (external website)

For practitioners in your area.

The British Psychological Society

Tel:  0116 254 9568
Web: bps.org.uk (external website)

Produces a directory of chartered psychologists.

Carers UK

Advice line:  0808 808 7777
Web: carersuk.org (external website)

Independent Information and support for carers.

Cruse Bereavement Care

Tel:  0844 477 9400
Web: crusebereavementcare.org.uk (external website)

Helpline and advice for those affected by a death.

Depression Alliance

Tel:  0845 123 2320
Web: depressionalliance.org (external website)

Information and support for anyone affected by depression.

Hearing Voices Network

Tel:  0114 271 821
Web: hearing-voices.org (external website)

A support group providing information, support and understanding to people who hear voices and those who support them.

Mental Health Law Online

Web: mentalhealthlaw.co.uk/Mental Health Act 1983 Overview (external website)


Advice line:  0845 456 0455
Web: rethink.org (external website)

Information and support for people affected by severe mental illness.


24-hour helpline:  08457 90 90 90
Email: jo@samaritans.org
Web: samaritans.org (external website)

Emotional support for anyone feeling down, experiencing distress or struggling to cope.

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