What is mental health?

Good mental health is about feeling well in your own mind.

Mental health is just as important as good physical health. Good mental health and wellbeing means you can: 

  • Enjoy your life and make the most of your potential
  • Cope with day to day life and any problem you may face
  • Play a full part in your family and your social circle social and your local community.

Recognising mental health difficulties

Everyone changes as they go through different phases of their lives and our mental health can change over time too. Sometimes, this may be because we are going through a difficult time in our personal or work life which is causing us to be distressed or unhappy. Sometimes, we may not know what caused us to feel unwell. Mental health difficulties like these are very common and can include:

  • Depression
  • Panic attacks 
  • Low mood 
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder 
  • Anxiety 
  • Stress 
  • Generalised anxiety (excessive worry) 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • Phobias 
  • Social anxiety 
  • Health anxiety.

Talking to someone

Many people with mental health difficulties may feel that no one will understand them and that they won't be taken seriously. It's important to remember that many people around us experience similar problems and it's always better to talk to someone about your feelings.

Sometimes our family or friends may not be the right person to talk to. You may prefer to talk to someone who is in a similar situation like a support group or a professional like a counsellor.

Talking therapies such as counselling can help you think through your emotions and come to terms with any problems you are facing. Counselling can take place in a variety of different formats, including face-to-face, over the telephone or online, on a one-to-one basis or in a group. Richmond Borough Mind and Richmond Wellbeing Service both offer a range of therapies or you can find your own counsellor.


What is a mental illness?

Mental health difficulties which are ongoing for a long period time or which have a serious effect on your life, are called mental illness.  A diagnosis of mental illness is usually made by a doctor, who may suggest a number of treatments such as medication, counselling or therapy. To diagnose a mental health problem, doctors may ask you questions about your mood, thoughts and behaviours and look at: 

  • What symptoms you're experiencing
  • How long you've been experiencing these symptoms
  • The impact they're having on your life.

Getting help 

If you are worried about your mental health, always speak to your GP first. They will refer you to a specialist if necessary.  



If you are having problems with feeling low, anxious or stressed and would like some help, the Richmond Wellbeing Service may be able to help you feel better. 


Useful contacts:

Richmond Borough Mind
Address: Maddison Centre, 140 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8QL
Phone: 020 8948 7652
Email: info@rbmind.org

Richmond Wellbeing Service
Address: St Johns Health Centre, Oak Lane, Twickenham, TW1 3PA
Phone: 020 8548 5550

If you are looking for a counsellor:

Counselling Directory
Phone: 0333 3447 990
Email: info@counselling-directory.org.uk

British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy
Address: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, BACP House, 15 St John's Business Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4HB, United Kingdom
Phone: 01455 883300
Email: bacp@bacp.co.uk

If you are not sure what to do or just need to offload and talk to someone about your problems, then you may find one of the national helplines useful:

Address: Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, PO Box 9090, STIRLING, FK8 2SA
Phone: 116 123
Email: jo@samaritans.org

Phone: 0300 5000 927 - Monday to Friday, 9:30am - 4:00pm
Email: info@rethink.org

Mind Infoline
Phone: 0300 123 3393 - weekdays 9am - 6pm
Email: info@mind.org.uk

If the emergency is life-threatening, don't hesitate. Call 999 straight away.