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Types of mental health problems

Types of mental health problems If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health problem you might be looking for information on your diagnosis, treatment options and where to go for support. Our information pages will help you learn more. Anger Explains what anger is, and how to deal with it in a constructive and healthy way. Anxiety and panic attacks Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Bipolar disorder Explains what bipolar disorder is, what kinds of treatment are available, and how you can help yourself cope. Also provides guidance on what friends and family can do to help. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) Explains body dysmorphic disorder, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) Explains what BPD is and what it’s like to live with this diagnosis. Also provides information about self-care, treatment and recovery, and gives guidance on how friends and family can help. Depression Explains depression, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Dissociation and dissociative disorders Explains dissociative disorders, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Drugs - recreational drugs & alcohol Explains the mental health effects of recreational drugs and alcohol, and what might happen if you use recreational drugs and also have a mental health problem. Includes suggestions for where you might find support. Eating problems Explains eating problems, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Hearing voices Explains what it is like to hear voices, where to go for help if you need it, and what others can do to support someone who is struggling with hearing voices. Hoarding Explains hoarding, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Hypomania and mania Explains hypomania and mania, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Loneliness Explains loneliness, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Mental health problems - introduction Explains what mental health problems are, what may cause them, and the many different kinds of help, treatment and support that are available. Also provides guidance on where to find more information, and tips for friends and family. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) Explains obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Panic attacks Explains what panic attacks are, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Paranoia Explains paranoia, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Personality disorders Explains personality disorders, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Phobias Explains phobias, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Postnatal depression & perinatal mental health Explains postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health issues, including possible causes, sources of treatment and support. Also gives advice for friends and family. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Explains what post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD are, and provides information on how you can access treatment and support. Includes self-care tips and guidance for friends and family. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) Explains what PMDD is and explores issues around getting a diagnosis. Also provides information on self care and treatment options, and how friends and family can help. Psychosis Explains what psychosis is, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Schizoaffective disorder Explains what schizoaffective disorder is, including its symptoms and causes. Gives advice on how you can help yourself and what types of treatment and support are available, as well as guidance for friends and family. Schizophrenia Explains schizophrenia, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Explains seasonal affective disorder, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Self-esteem Explains how to increase your self-esteem, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Self-harm Explains self-harm, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Sleep problems Explains insomnia and other sleep problems, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Stress Explains what stress is, what might cause it and how it can affect you. Includes information about ways you can help yourself and how to get support. Suicidal feelings Explains what suicidal feelings are, including possible causes and how you can learn to cope. Tardive dyskinesia Explains what tardive dyskinesia is, what causes it and what you can do to manage it. Trauma Explains what trauma is and how it affects your mental health, including how you can help yourself, what treatments are available and how to overcome barriers to getting the right support. Also includes tips for people who want to support someone who has gone through trauma.

Thousands 'likely to have mental health problems' following lockdown

More than 40 times the number of people in Devon who have died from coronavirus are likely to have mental health problems as a result of the lockdown, health bosses are expecting. A board meeting of the Devon CCG on Thursday with hear that the National Centre for Mental Health’s first assessment indicates 500,000 people likely to have mental health problems as a result of COVID nationally – which equates to 12,500 people with Devon. So far, the ONS statistics have shown that 198 COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in the county. A presentation to the meeting will outline that the mental health effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic might be profound and there are suggestions that suicide rates will rise, although this is not inevitable. Demand and capacity modelling for the NHS Devon CCG of mental health problems Demand and capacity modelling for the NHS Devon CCG of mental health problems It adds: “Mental health consequences are likely to be present for longer and peak later than the actual pandemic, and the pandemic will cause distress and leave many people vulnerable to mental health problems and suicidal behaviour. Those with mental illness might experience worsening symptoms.” RELATED ARTICLES June 12 Map showing coronavirus cases per 100,000 population Second day without coronavirus cases in Devon or Cornwall No patients with coronavirus at Plymouth's hospitals - but trust remains 'on alert' The presentation adds that an economic crisis increases the risk factors for poor mental health, with the effects of recession are likely to continue for many years. The UK economy shrunk by a record 20 per cent in April. What is These Four Walls? PlymouthLive, CornwallLive and DevonLive launch new lockdown social isolation campaign Our fall walls may be very real, but it's by sharing our experiences, stories and struggles that we all remain connected The lockdown has changed all of our lives - in ways we could never have imagined. It happened in a matter of days. One minute we were allowed to leave our homes at will, the next we were not. Seeing friends and family has always been our right; but now we have been separated from the ones we love in the hope it will save lives. And for many of us, being confined within the four walls of our homes has had dire consequences - financially, mentally or physically. This is why we are launching These Four Walls, a campaign which aims to inform, educate and share important, harrowing and inspiring stories from the coronavirus lockdown in Devon and Cornwall. Each week we will be focusing on a different issue and raising money for a different charity, starting with the Samaritans to coincide with their own campaign Our Frontline. Our four walls may be very real, but it's through sharing our experiences, stories and struggles that we all remain connected. A recession can lead to unemployment, debt and housing, which in turn can increase mental health issues an causes an increase in depression, more suicides and suicidal behaviour, increased domestic violence and child neglect, impact on child mental health and wellbeing and an increase in drug and alcohol dependency. Where to get help for mental health These local organisations offer help and support to those suffering with mental illness Mind Plymouth Livewell Southwest Chil Plymouth Papyrus The Samaritans Blurt it Out Combat Stress Plymouth Options (IAPT) Anxiety & Depression Service (Livewell South West) The increase in poverty and will impact people who are homeless or vulnerably housed, on low incomes and vulnerable groups the most, including children, young people, single-parent families, unemployed people, ethnic minorities, migrants and older people, the report adds. Demand and capacity modelling for the NHS Devon CCG of mental health problems Demand and capacity modelling for the NHS Devon CCG of mental health problems Since the coronavirus pandemic struck, the National Centre for Mental Health has seen of adults using mental health wellbeing services online report: 53 per cent increased demand for mental health support online 40 per cent rise in sadness and depression 30 per cent increase in levels of loneliness 89 per cent in sleep difficulties 115 per cent rise in pressure linked to a new work culture For Children & Young People using online MHWB services, there has been: 34 per cent increased demand for mental health support online 31 per cent increase in levels of loneliness 13 per cent increase in suicidal thoughts 170 per cent rise in sadness and depression 121 per cent in sleep difficulties 49 per cent increase in eating difficulties Graphs shown to the meeting outlining the estimated mental health need show that the need and demand associated with socioeconomic impact dramatically increases as the impact of the coronavirus lockdown become clear and as time passes. RELATED ARTICLES Student raises £10,000 for mental health charity by running five marathons in five days New £11.8m Devon mental health ward has been given the go-ahead The meeting will hear that the Devon CCG has already set up four new urgent mental health hubs and a 24/7 crisis response for public and professionals has been implemented, while for children and young people, all services have been maintained all services with a move to a digital/ telephone offer wherever appropriate. The Devon CCG are now and planning and preparing to undertake demand and capacity modelling and review the enabling changes required to work together with the people of Devon to deliver wider ambitions for our population’s mental health and wellbeing. RELATED ARTICLES Andy's Man Club has moved online Plymouth mental health group Andy's Man Club moves online Andy's Man Club members take to the ring to 'fight' for mental health The NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Governing Body takes place virtually on Thursday at 1pm. Advice and support for those in need Talk to someone. There are useful helplines and websites available now. Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org . Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill. PAPYRUS (0800 068 41 41) is a voluntary organisation supporting teenagers and young adults. Depression Alliance is a charity for people with depression. It doesn’t have a helpline, but offers a wide range of useful resources and links to other relevant information. http://www.depressionalliance.org/ Students Against Depression is a website for students who are depressed, have a low mood or are having suicidal thoughts. Bullying UK is a website for both children and adults affected by bullying. http://studentsagainstdepression.org/ The Sanctuary (0300 003 7029) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, for people who are struggling to cope - experiencing depression, anxiety, panic attacks or in crisis.

Get support If you need urgent help, you can call Samaritans on 116 123. They’re available to offer support 24/7 every single day of the year. If you need immediate support, you can text SHOUT to 85258 anytime day or night and chat by text to share what is worrying you.

Get Support From Our Charity Partners If you need support with your mental health but don’t know where to turn, our Heads Together Charity Partners are there for you. Whoever you are and whatever you’re going through, talking it through can help and it’s important you know you’re not alone. We all struggle with our mental health at times, and we all need support. Many of our Heads Together partners, and many other organisations, run confidential helplines and online services staffed by volunteers who can relate to the difficult times you or someone you know may be going through. See below for support that is available to you.

Talking Mental Health Guide

How to approach difficult conversations It can be hard to know how to talk about your mental health, especially when you’re struggling. But talking can be incredibly helpful to make sense of and manage difficult experiences. Here are some things you might want to consider when finding the words: Plan beforehand. When you are struggling it can be hard to articulate how you are feeling so it might help to wait until you are in a calm space and map out what you want to say with bullet points. Think about timing. There is no right time to speak up, but so that you are able to say what you need to, try to find a time when you know you won’t need to rush off or the other person is distracted. Also find a time when you feel a bit calmer. Imagine you’ve got an ‘emotional thermometer’ and wait until you aren’t too hot, and also not so switched off from your feelings that you are too ‘cold’. Being in the middle range, when you can really think about what you want to say, is the best time to open up about your thoughts and feelings. Who to tell. Find a person you trust and who you can be in contact with easily. It doesn’t need to be someone in your family, or even necessarily the person you hang out with most. But the person who will be able to understand how you feel is what counts the most. Where to talk. Find a place you feel comfortable. Maybe in your bedroom, over a cup of tea at home, over lunch break in the park or in a quiet corner of the playground. Take courage. We all have good days and days when life is more of a struggle. That’s OK. Remember how incredibly brave you are by opening up. A range of feelings is what makes a person interesting and actually what brings us close to other people, so don’t worry that expressing a bad or negative feeling will put people off. Funnily enough, it might bring people closer. How to be there when someone speaks up Because there are so many misconceptions and stigma around mental health problems, choosing to speak about these can be very difficult. So, if a friend, loved one or colleague talks to you about some of their difficulties, there are useful ways that you can support them and: This may be the first time that they have spoken to anyone about how they are feeling. Give them space to find the words, listen patiently, and acknowledge their important feelings and experiences. Ask questions. Being curious and asking about someone is better than assuming that you always know how they feel. Even if it’s something you’ve been through yourself, the chances are that they will be having a different experience to you, so ask as many open and curious questions as you like, without being intrusive. Offer empathy. Sometimes people believe that no one else in the world feels the way they do or understands them. Let them know that you’re not judging them and that you get how they feel. And remember: if you feel you do not know how to help the other person it is OK to say so and it is OK to seek advice. Think about your language. Try not to lecture people or assume that the way they are feeling is equivalent to what you or others may have experienced. Keep in contact. Let them know that you are, and will be, there for them and are willing to talk and support when necessary. Be kind to yourself. If you have ever been on an airplane they always ask you to put your own oxygen mask on first before you offer help to others. So remember to look after yourself, too. How to help children talk mental health Having conversations about mental health can help children and young people by making them feel less isolated. But sometimes children and young people won’t or aren’t able to share how they are feeling. Sometimes a prompt or check in is important. Let the unsaid be said and ask “Is there something you want to say?”. Also consider that: You can talk too much and you can talk not enough! Begin by putting yourself in your child’s shoes then ask yourself “Is this the right time to talk?”. Pick your moment. Try and find moments when your child is in a reflective state of mind when they may be able to offer you some information about what has been happening, especially if you express genuine curiosity, as opposed to an interrogatory questioning that will have them running to their bedroom! Stay with the feeling. Tempting as it may be to reassure your child, or jolly them along, if they say they feel ‘scared’, ‘lonely’ or just even ‘unsure’, staying with the negative is important. Friendships really matter. The older children get, the more likely they are to share experiences with their friends. This is to be encouraged. Facilitating a move away from family to peer group is an important part of every child’s development. Check in with yourself. If you are a parent, carer or teacher, try to manage your own feelings or worries. A worried or anxious face in the classroom or at home suggests to children that how they are feeling can’t be managed. So try to get your own feelings in check before you start asking children about their own. It will really help. JOIN HEADS TOGETHER

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. If you have bipolar disorder, you are likely to have times where you experience: manic or hypomanic episodes (feeling high) depressive episodes (feeling low) potentially some psychotic symptoms during manic or depressed episodes You might hear these different experiences referred to as mood states, and you can read more about them in our page on bipolar moods and symptoms. Everyone has variations in their mood, but in bipolar disorder these changes can be very distressing and have a big impact on your life. You may feel that your high and low moods are extreme, and that swings in your mood are overwhelming. Depending on the way you experience these mood states, and how severely they affect you, your doctor may diagnose you with a particular type of bipolar disorder. "It's an emotional amplifier: when my mood is high I feel far quicker, funnier, smarter and livelier than anyone; when my mood is low I take on the suffering of the whole world." Bipolar disorder or manic depression? The term 'bipolar' refers to the way your mood can change between two very different states – mania and depression. In the past, bipolar disorder was referred to as manic depression, so you might still hear people use this term. Some health care professionals may also use the term bipolar affective disorder ('affective' means the disorder relates to mood or emotions). What's it like living with bipolar disorder? You can watch Laura, Steve and Joe talk about their experiences of living with bipolar disorder in this video. Siobhan's story You can also listen to Siobhan talking about her experiences of bipolar disorder in this podcast. Read the transcript of the podcast here. Find out more about our podcasts or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Audioboom. Bipolar disorder and stigma Many people have heard of bipolar disorder, but this doesn't mean they understand the diagnosis fully. You might find that some people have misconceptions about you or have a negative or inaccurate image of bipolar disorder. This can be very upsetting, especially if someone who feels this way is a friend, colleague, family member or a health care professional. But it's important to remember that you aren't alone, and you don't have to put up with people treating you badly. You can read more about dealing with stigma on our page on stigma and misconceptions. Here are some options for you to think about: Show people this information to help them understand more about what your diagnosis really means. Get more involved in your treatment. Our pages on seeking help for a mental health problem provide guidance on having your say in your treatment, making your voice heard, and steps you can take if you're not happy with your care. Know your rights. Our pages on legal rights provide more information. Take action with Mind. See our campaigning page for details of the different ways you can get involved with helping us challenge stigma. "What helps me the most is the ongoing realisation and acceptance that the way in which my bipolar disorder manifests itself, and the symptoms I display, are not personality traits or 'bad behaviour'."

Anxiety and panic attacks Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) is impacting all our lives, and we know that the usual advice might not quite apply. Some ideas for looking after yourself may feel unrealistic right now. And some treatment and support options will be harder to access, or may be unavailable for a while. But we hope that you can still find information here that helps you understand what you're going through, and find a path forward. You can also find lots of resources in our coronavirus information hub. And our page of coronavirus useful contacts can direct you to more support. View this information as a PDF (new window) Order this information as a print booklet About anxiety Anxiety disorders Anxiety symptoms Panic attacks Causes of anxiety Self-care for anxiety Anxiety treatments For friends & family Useful contacts What is anxiety? Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. "For me, anxiety feels as if everyone in the world is waiting for me to trip up, so that they can laugh at me. It makes me feel nervous and unsure whether the next step I take is the best way forward." Most people feel anxious at times. It's particularly common to experience some anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes, especially if they could have a big impact on your life. (See our pages on managing stress for more information about stress.) What is the 'fight, flight or freeze' response? Like all animals, human beings have evolved ways to help us protect ourselves from danger. When we feel under threat our bodies react by releasing certain hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones: make us feel more alert, so we can act faster make our hearts beat faster, quickly sending blood to where it's needed most. After we feel the threat has passed, our bodies release other hormones to help our muscles relax. This can sometimes cause us to shake. This is commonly called the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response – it’s something that happens automatically in our bodies, and we have no control over it. "Going out of the house is a challenge because I [have a] fear of panicking and feel that I'm being watched or judged. It's just horrible. I want to get help but I'm afraid of being judged." When is anxiety a mental health problem? Anxiety can become a mental health problem if it impacts on your ability to live your life as fully as you want to. For example, it may be a problem for you if: your feelings of anxiety are very strong or last for a long time your fears or worries are out of proportion to the situation you avoid situations that might cause you to feel anxious your worries feel very distressing or are hard to control you regularly experience symptoms of anxiety, which could include panic attacks you find it hard to go about your everyday life or do things you enjoy. If your symptoms fit a particular set of medical criteria then you might be diagnosed with a particular anxiety disorder. But it's also possible to experience problems with anxiety without having a specific diagnosis. Our pages on self-care and treatment for anxiety problems offer suggestions for help and support. What do anxiety problems feel like? Watch Lewis, Polly, Faisal, Shelley and Brian talk about what living with anxiety problems feels like for them, and what helps them cope: Gus' story Heart FM DJ Matt Wilkinson talks to Gus Marshall about his experience of anxiety and panic attacks. Read the transcript of the podcast here. Find out more about our podcasts or subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Audioboom. "You know that feeling when you’re rocking on the back legs of your chair and suddenly for just a split second you think you’re about to fall; that feeling in your chest? Imagine that split second feeling being frozen in time and lodged in your chest for minutes/hours/days, and imagine with it that sense of impending doom and dread sticking around too, but sometimes you don’t even know why."

Mental wellbeing while staying at home

Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important while staying at home because of coronavirus (COVID-19). You may feel bored, frustrated or lonely. You may also be low, worried or anxious, or concerned about your finances, your health or those close to you. It's important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these feelings will pass. Staying at home may be difficult, but you are helping to protect yourself and others by doing it. The tips and advice here are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel while staying at home. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it. The government also has wider guidance on staying at home as a result of coronavirus. 1. Find out about your employment and benefits rights You may be worried about work and money while you have to stay home – these issues can have a big effect on your mental health. If you have not already, talk with your employer about working from home, and learn about your sick pay and benefits rights. Knowing the details about what the coronavirus outbreak means for you (England and Wales only) can reduce worry and help you feel more in control. GOV.UK: Coronavirus support 2. Plan practical things Work out how you can get any household supplies you need. You could try asking neighbours or family friends, or find a delivery service. Continue accessing treatment and support for any existing physical or mental health problems where possible. Let services know you are staying at home, and discuss how to continue receiving support. If you need regular medicine, you might be able to order repeat prescriptions by phone, or online via a website or app. Contact your GP and ask if they offer this. You can also ask your pharmacy about getting your medicine delivered, or ask someone else to collect it for you. If you support or care for others, either in your home or by visiting them regularly, think about who can help out while you are staying at home. Let your local authority (England, Scotland and Wales only) know if you provide care or support someone you do not live with. Carers UK has further advice on creating a contingency plan. Carers UK: Coronavirus 3. Stay connected with others Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while you are all staying at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or social media – whether it's people you usually see often, or connecting with old friends. Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too. 4. Talk about your worries It's normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead. NHS-recommended helplines 5. Look after your body Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for 1 form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others. Or you could try one of our easy 10-minute home workouts. Try a 10-minute home workout 6. Stay on top of difficult feelings Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from. It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about the situation are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety. Watch: Reframing unhelpful thoughts 7. Do not stay glued to the news Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to checking a couple of times a day. Use trustworthy sources – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information from the news, social media or other people. GOV.UK: Coronavirus response 8. Carry on doing things you enjoy If we are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, we may stop doing things we usually enjoy. Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, picking something new to learn at home might help. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts. Watch: Keep learning 9. Take time to relax This can help with difficult emotions and worries, and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety. Watch: Mindful breathing 10. Think about your new daily routine Life is changing for a while and you are likely to see some disruption to your normal routine. Think about how you can adapt and create positive new routines and set yourself goals. You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week. If you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule. You could set a new time for a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV programme or film, or cook. 11. Look after your sleep Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel, so it's important to get enough. Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices. Watch: Sleep tips 12. Keep your mind active Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete sudoku puzzles, finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting. Whatever it is, find something that works for you. Further support and advice There are plenty of things you can do and places to get more help and support if you are struggling with your mental health. Our pages on stress, anxiety, sleep and low mood have lots more tips and specific advice. If you are a parent or caregiver for a child or young person, Young Minds has guidance on talking to your child about coronavirus. The NHS mental health and wellbeing advice pages also have a self-assessment, as well as audio guides and other tools you can use while staying at home. We also have guidance and information to help others if someone you know is struggling with their mental health. Remember, it is quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when you are low or anxious. Some of these, like feeling hot or short of breath, could be confused with symptoms of coronavirus. If this happens, try to distract yourself. When you feel less anxious, see if you still have the symptoms that worried you. If you are still concerned, visit the NHS website. If you do not live in England Additional country-specific coronavirus guidance is available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Types of mental health problems If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health problem you might be looking for information on your diagnosis, treatment options and where to go for support. Our information pages will help you learn more.

Anger Explains what anger is, and how to deal with it in a constructive and healthy way. Anxiety and panic attacks Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Bipolar disorder Explains what bipolar disorder is, what kinds of treatment are available, and how you can help yourself cope. Also provides guidance on what friends and family can do to help. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) Explains body dysmorphic disorder, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) Explains what BPD is and what it’s like to live with this diagnosis. Also provides information about self-care, treatment and recovery, and gives guidance on how friends and family can help. Depression Explains depression, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Dissociation and dissociative disorders Explains dissociative disorders, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Drugs - recreational drugs & alcohol Explains the mental health effects of recreational drugs and alcohol, and what might happen if you use recreational drugs and also have a mental health problem. Includes suggestions for where you might find support. Eating problems Explains eating problems, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Hearing voices Explains what it is like to hear voices, where to go for help if you need it, and what others can do to support someone who is struggling with hearing voices. Hoarding Explains hoarding, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Hypomania and mania Explains hypomania and mania, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Loneliness Explains loneliness, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Mental health problems - introduction Explains what mental health problems are, what may cause them, and the many different kinds of help, treatment and support that are available. Also provides guidance on where to find more information, and tips for friends and family. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) Explains obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Panic attacks Explains what panic attacks are, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Paranoia Explains paranoia, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Personality disorders Explains personality disorders, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Phobias Explains phobias, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Postnatal depression & perinatal mental health Explains postnatal depression and other perinatal mental health issues, including possible causes, sources of treatment and support. Also gives advice for friends and family. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Explains what post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex PTSD are, and provides information on how you can access treatment and support. Includes self-care tips and guidance for friends and family. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) Explains what PMDD is and explores issues around getting a diagnosis. Also provides information on self care and treatment options, and how friends and family can help. Psychosis Explains what psychosis is, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Schizoaffective disorder Explains what schizoaffective disorder is, including its symptoms and causes. Gives advice on how you can help yourself and what types of treatment and support are available, as well as guidance for friends and family. Schizophrenia Explains schizophrenia, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) Explains seasonal affective disorder, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Self-esteem Explains how to increase your self-esteem, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Self-harm Explains self-harm, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family. Sleep problems Explains insomnia and other sleep problems, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Stress Explains what stress is, what might cause it and how it can affect you. Includes information about ways you can help yourself and how to get support. Suicidal feelings Explains what suicidal feelings are, including possible causes and how you can learn to cope. Tardive dyskinesia Explains what tardive dyskinesia is, what causes it and what you can do to manage it. Trauma Explains what trauma is and how it affects your mental health, including how you can help yourself, what treatments are available and how to overcome barriers to getting the right support. Also includes tips for people who want to support someone who has gone through trauma. Was this page useful?

How to cope with anger Explains anger, giving practical suggestions for what you can do and where you can go for support. Also includes advice for friends and family.

What is anger? We all feel angry at times – it's part of being human. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, which we might experience if we feel: attacked deceived frustrated invalidated or unfairly treated It isn't necessarily a 'bad' emotion; in fact it can sometimes be useful. For example, feeling angry about something can: help us identify problems or things that are hurting us motivate us to create change, achieve our goals and move on help us stay safe and defend ourselves in dangerous situations by giving us a burst of energy as part of our fight or flight system Most people will experience episodes of anger which feel manageable and don't have a big impact on their lives. Learning healthy ways to recognise, express and deal with anger is important for our mental and physical health. (Our pages on managing outbursts and long-term coping have some tips on how to deal with anger.) When is anger a problem? Anger only becomes a problem when it gets out of control and harms you or people around you. This can happen when: you regularly express your anger through unhelpful or destructive behaviour your anger is having a negative impact on your overall mental and physical health anger becomes your go-to emotion, blocking out your ability to feel other emotions you haven't developed healthy ways to express your anger "It feels like there's a ball of fire in the middle of my chest that blurts its way straight out of my mouth and burns the people around me." What is unhelpful angry behaviour? How you behave when you're angry depends on how well you're able to identify and cope with your feelings, and how you've learned to express them (see our page on causes of anger for more information). Not everyone expresses anger in the same way. For example, some unhelpful ways you may have learned to express anger include: Outward aggression and violence - such as shouting, swearing, slamming doors, hitting or throwing things and being physically violent or verbally abusive and threatening towards others. Inward aggression - such as telling yourself that you hate yourself, denying yourself your basic needs (like food, or things that might make you happy), cutting yourself off from the world and self-harming. Non-violent or passive aggression - such as ignoring people or refusing to speak to them, refusing to do tasks, or deliberately doing things poorly, late or at the last possible minute, and being sarcastic or sulky while not saying anything explicitly aggressive or angry. "My brain goes blank and I absent-mindedly release my anger through physical violence towards myself or objects around me. I don't realise how destructive I've been until immediately afterwards." If you find you express your anger through outward aggression and violence, this can be extremely frightening and damaging for people around you - especially children. And it can have serious consequences: it could mean you lose your family, job and get into trouble with the law. In this case it's very important to seek treatment and support. But even if you're never outwardly violent or aggressive towards others, and never even raise your voice, you might still recognise some of these angry behaviours and feel that they're a problem for you. For example, you turn your anger inwards and self-harm or deny yourself food. "I internalise anger and punish myself by self-harm."

10 tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. It's important to remember it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass. There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help you think clearly, and make sure you are able to look after yourself and those you care about. Here are 10 ways you can help improve your mental health and wellbeing if you are worried or anxious about the coronavirus outbreak. For specific tips and advice while staying at home, read our advice on maintaining your mental wellbeing while staying at home. It is important to follow the latest official guidance on staying at home and away from others to keep everyone safe. 1. Stay connected with people Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing, so think about how you can stay in touch with friends and family while needing to stay at home. You could try phone calls, video calls or social media instead of meeting in person – whether it's with people you normally see often or connecting with old friends. 2. Talk about your worries It's normal to feel a bit worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember: it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – and doing so may help them too. If you cannot speak to someone you know or if doing so has not helped, there are plenty of helplines you can try instead. NHS-recommended helplines 3. Support and help others Helping someone else can benefit you as well as them, so try to be a little more understanding of other people's concerns, worries or behaviours at this time. Try to think of things you can do to help those around you. Is there a friend or family member nearby you could message? Are there any community groups you could join to support others locally? Remember, it is important to do this in line with official coronavirus guidance to keep everyone safe. Helping others 4. Feel prepared Working through the implications of staying at home should help you feel more prepared and less concerned. Think through a normal week: how will it be affected and what do you need to do to solve any problems? If you have not already, you might want to talk with your employer, understand your sick pay and benefits rights, and get hold of some essentials for while you are at home. You could also think about who you can get help from locally – as well as people you know, lots of local and community help groups are being set up. Try to remember this disruption should only be temporary. GOV.UK: Coronavirus support 5. Look after your body Our physical health has a big impact on how we feel. At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. You can leave your house, alone or with members of your household, for 1 form of exercise a day – like a walk, run or bike ride. But make you keep a safe 2-metre distance from others. Or you could try one of our easy 10-minute home workouts. Try a home workout 6. Stick to the facts Find a credible source you can trust – such as GOV.UK or the NHS website – and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people. You could also use the GOV.UK Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp. This automated chatbot covers the most common questions about coronavirus. Message the coronavirus chatbot to get started. Think about how possibly inaccurate information could affect others too. Try not to share information without fact-checking against credible sources. You might also want to consider limiting the time you spend watching, reading or listening to coverage of the outbreak, including on social media, and think about turning off breaking-news alerts on your phone. You could set yourself a specific time to read updates or limit yourself to a couple of checks a day. NHS information on coronavirus 7. Stay on top of difficult feelings Concern about the coronavirus outbreak is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their daily life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, who you speak to, and where and how often you get information. It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about coronavirus are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, try some ideas to help manage your anxiety or listening to an audio guide. NHS audio guides 8. Do things you enjoy If we are feeling worried, anxious or low, we might stop doing things we usually enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing indoors or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings. If you cannot do the things you normally enjoy because you are staying at home, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive new ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts. Watch: Keep learning 9. Focus on the present Focusing on the present, rather than worrying about the future, can help with difficult emotions and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help some people deal with feelings of anxiety, or you could try our mindful breathing video. Watch: Mindful breathing 10. Look after your sleep Good-quality sleep makes a big difference to how we feel mentally and physically, so it is important to get enough. Try to maintain regular sleeping patterns and keep up good sleep hygiene practices – like avoiding screens before bed, cutting back on caffeine and creating a restful environment. See our sleep page for more advice. Tips to improve your sleep Further support and advice There are plenty of things you can do and places to get more help and support if you are struggling with your mental health. Our pages on stress, anxiety, sleep and low mood have lots more tips and specific advice. If you are a parent or caregiver for a child or young person, Young Minds has guidance on talking to your child about coronavirus. The NHS mental health and wellbeing advice pages also have a self-assessment, as well as audio guides and other tools you can use while staying at home. We also have guidance and information to help others if someone you know is struggling with their mental health. Remember, it is quite common to experience short-lived physical symptoms when you are low or anxious. Some of these, like feeling hot or short of breath, could be confused with symptoms of coronavirus. If this happens, try to distract yourself. When you feel less anxious, see if you still have the symptoms that worried you. If you are still concerned, visit the NHS website. If you do not live in England Additional country-specific coronavirus guidance is available for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Rising violence, drug use and mental health problems among young people in England mean society is in danger of “failing a generation”, children’s doctors have said. English teenagers are increasingly likely to be injured in youth violence and the UK is lagging behind other European countries on measures including infant mortality, according to UK-wide research into the state of child health by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The numbers of children in poverty, under child protection plans and being “looked after” have increased since its 2017 report, and progress on mental health among five- to 15-year-olds has stalled or reversed. “It’s not a pretty sight,” said the president of the college, Prof Russell Viner. “On many vital measures we risk lagging behind other European countries. We’re in danger of failing a generation if we don’t turn this situation around. The government has made welcome commitments on childhood obesity and young people’s mental health but we need to see delivery in these and other areas.” Advertisement Separate figures from Childline revealed that in 2018-19 653 children under 11 contacted its freephone number with suicidal thoughts and feelings, an increase of 87% since 2015-16. Across all age groups it delivered 24,447 counselling sessions to young people overwhelmed by a sense of despair, an increase of a quarter over three years. Esther Rantzen, Childline’s founder, said that when she launched the charity in 1986 most calls related to pain caused by someone else, including abuse, bullying or neglect. “Over the last 10 years we have seen a rise in the number of children describing their feelings of such intense unhappiness that they tell Childline they want to end their own lives,” she said. “It is deeply disturbing that we have reached a point where, on average, 67 children a day are receiving help for suicidal thoughts and feelings.” Get Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service professionals Read more The royal college study claims to be the largest ever compilation of data on the health of babies, children and young people in the UK. It found that the health of children who live in deprived areas is largely worse than those in more prosperous places and that inequalities have widened since 2017. More children are undertaking unpaid care work, with the biggest increase in Scotland where the rate has almost doubled since 2017. The college said the slide in conditions was rarely seen in developed countries and it blamed deep cuts to local authority budgets that are used to finance public health initiatives and community services. The NSPCC said it was “scandalous that progress in children’s health is not improving and shameful that the most disadvantaged are seeing the biggest retreat”. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We want every child to have the best start in life, regardless of their background, and tackling health inequalities is a priority for the government. “Early intervention is key and we are taking urgent steps to improve child health. We have launched the most ambitious plan in the world to cut childhood obesity by half by 2030, we are transforming children’s mental health to treat to give 70,000 more children access to services by next year and we are improving maternity services.” Stabbings and injuries with sharp objects have risen in England among 15- to 19-year-olds since 2014, the study found. The likelihood of such an injury was unchanged in Wales and falling in Scotland and Northern Ireland. By contrast, the likelihood of a 17- to 19-year-old being harmed in a road traffic accident is falling across England, Wales and Scotland. The figures reflect the rise in serious knife crime across England, with 47,000 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument recorded in England and Wales in 2018-19, the highest number since 2011. The danger from knives is increasing only in England and there have been decreases in incidents in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The report includes some signs of hope: the treatment of chronic medical conditions including asthma, diabetes and epilepsy is improving. Children in England, Wales and Scotland have healthier teeth, and smoking and consumption of alcohol is falling among children in England and Scotland, while teen pregnancies are falling across all four home nations. However, on infant mortality (children under one) the UK is fifth from bottom among 27 European countries. Among its recommendations to tackle the problem, the college said every child should receive a minimum of five mandatory contacts from a health visitor, universal midwifery visiting services should be offered for new mothers and the government should require the fortification of flour with folic acid. “The harsh reality is that in terms of health and wellbeing, children born in the UK are often worse off than those born in other comparably wealthy countries,” said Dr Ronny Cheung, a clinical lead for the RCPCH and a co-author of the State of Child Heath 2020 report. “This is especially true if the child is from a less well-off background. Throughout the world, the number of babies dying in their first year has been steadily falling for decades, as incomes rise and mothers and children receive better healthcare. Yet UK infant mortality rates have stalled, and in England they actually got worse between 2016 and 2017. For a high-income nation such as ours, that should be a major wakeup call.” The college called for government investment to “minimise social risk factors, early identification and intervention in those at risk, and a coordinated approach across public and social services including health, policing, social care and youth services.” It said this approach had proven successful in Scotland, where youth violence in 20- to 24-year-olds has decreased following the introduction of a violence reduction unit in 2005. Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, shoes and outdoor

tigma and discrimination toward obese persons are pervasive and pose numerous consequences for their psychological and physical health. Despite decades of science documenting weight stigma, its public health implications are widely ignored. Instead, obese persons are blamed for their weight, with common perceptions that weight stigmatization is justifiable and may motivate individuals to adopt healthier behaviors. We examine evidence to address these assumptions and discuss their public health implications. On the basis of current findings, we propose that weight stigma is not a beneficial public health tool for reducing obesity. Rather, stigmatization of obese individuals threatens health, generates health disparities, and interferes with effective obesity intervention efforts. These findings highlight weight stigma as both a social justice issue and a priority for public health. Negative attitudes toward obese persons are pervasive in North American society. Numerous studies have documented harmful weight-based stereotypes that overweight and obese individuals are lazy, weak-willed, unsuccessful, unintelligent, lack self-discipline, have poor willpower, and are noncompliant with weight-loss treatment.1–3 These stereotypes give way to stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against obese persons in multiple domains of living, including the workplace, health care facilities, educational institutions, the mass media, and even in close interpersonal relationships.1–3 Perhaps because weight stigma remains a socially acceptable form of bias, negative attitudes and stereotypes toward obese persons have been frequently reported by employers, coworkers, teachers, physicians, nurses, medical students, dietitians, psychologists, peers, friends, family members,1–4 and even among children aged as young as 3 years.5 Recent estimates suggest that the prevalence of weight discrimination has increased by 66% over the past decade,6 and is now comparable to prevalence rates of racial discrimination in America.7 Despite several decades of literature documenting weight stigma as a compelling social problem,1,2,8,9 this form of stigma is rarely challenged in North American society and its public health implications have been primarily ignored. Instead, prevailing societal attributions place blame on obese individuals for their excess weight, with common perceptions that weight stigmatization is justifiable (and perhaps necessary) because obese individuals are personally responsible for their weight,10 and that stigma might even serve as a useful tool to motivate obese persons to adopt healthier lifestyle behaviors.11–13 We have examined existing evidence to address these assumptions about weight stigma and discuss their public health implications. Documentation of the stigma of obesity has been extensively reviewed elsewhere,1,2,4 thus, our aim was to highlight relevant evidence from this body of work to examine public health implications of weight stigma, an issue that has received little attention in the obesity field. We obtained articles cited in this paper through comprehensive literature searches in computerized medical and social science databases, including PubMed, PsycINFO, and SCOPUS. Search terms were limited to various keyword combinations pertaining specifically to body weight and stigma descriptors to identify studies examining the relationship between weight stigma and public health, and emotional and physical health consequences of obesity stigma. (For examples of descriptor search terms, please refer to Puhl and Heuer.2) We also conducted manual searches for specific authors and journals that have published relevant research on these topics. In addition, we retrieved references from a recent comprehensive systematic review of peer-reviewed research studies documenting bias and stigma toward obese individuals that we recently published.2 The vast majority (87%) of studies we included were published in the past decade, with the exception of several studies published earlier that are cited when relevant to the historical context of the discussion or to provide 7 examples of landmark studies. On the basis of the current evidence, we conclude that weight stigma is not a beneficial public health tool for reducing obesity or improving health. Rather, stigmatization of obese individuals poses serious risks to their psychological and physical health, generates health disparities, and interferes with implementation of effective obesity prevention efforts. This evidence highlights the importance of addressing weight stigma as both a social justice issue and a priority in public health interventions to address obesity. Go to: DISEASE STIGMA AND PUBLIC HEALTH In the field of public health, stigma is a known enemy. Throughout history, stigma has imposed suffering on groups vulnerable to disease and impaired efforts to thwart the progression of those diseases. Disease stigma occurs when groups are blamed for their illnesses because they are viewed as immoral, unclean, or lazy.14 For example, in 19th century America, Irish immigrants were commonly believed to be responsible for epidemic diseases because they were “filthy and unmindful of public hygiene.”14(p4) As large numbers of Irish-born immigrants died of cholera and other diseases, many viewed their deaths as acts of retribution upon the “sinful and spiritually unworthy.”14(p36) When African Americans were dying from tuberculosis at the beginning of the 20th century, rather than investing in prevention or treatment of tuberculosis, many cities’ authorities issued warnings to its White citizens against commingling with or hiring African Americans.15 Even the stigmatization of injection drug users and individuals with gonorrhea has been denounced as a barrier to testing and treatment.16,17 These examples have resulted in a broad understanding of the implications of stigma for public health. According to Herek et al., Historical examples abound of stigma interfering with collective responses to diseases ranging from cholera to syphilis. In all of these cases, the social construction of illness incorporated moral judgments about the circumstances in which it was contracted as well as preexisting hostility toward the groups perceived to be most affected by it.18(p538) In the case of HIV/AIDS, the detrimental role of stigma has become so clear that national and international health agendas explicitly identify stigma and discrimination as major barriers to effectively addressing the epidemic. As early as the mid-1980s, just a few years after the disease was initially identified, discrimination against those at risk for HIV/AIDS was identified as counterproductive,19 and early public health policies included protections for patients’ privacy and confidentiality.20 As it became more evident that stigma and discrimination were among the root causes of vulnerability to HIV/AIDS, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS adopted the Declaration of Commitment in 2001, which pledged signatory states to “develop strategies to combat stigma and social exclusion connected with the epidemic.”21(p9) Subsequently, stigma and discrimination were chosen as the theme for the 2002–2003 World AIDS Campaign.22 In 2007, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS issued the report, Reducing HIV Stigma and Discrimination: A Critical Part of National AIDS Programmes, which provides strategies for centralizing the reduction of stigma and discrimination within national responses to the disease. Recommendations from the report include providing funding and programming activities for multifaceted national approaches to the reduction of HIV stigma and discrimination.23 Thus, within current public health ideology there is clear recognition of the critical obstacles created by disease stigma. Bayer notes: In the closing decades of the 20th century, a broadly shared view took hold that the stigmatization of those who were already vulnerable provided the context within which diseases spread, exacerbating morbidity and mortality… . In this view, it was the responsibility of public health officials to counteract stigma if they were to fulfill their mission to protect the communal health.24(p252) In sharp contrast, the stigma of obesity has not been addressed as a legitimate concern that requires the attention of those working to combat obesity, and is rarely discussed in the context of public health.25,26 In fact, weight stigma has been suggested by some as a method for obesity control.11–13 The lack of attention to weight stigma has persisted despite nearly 5 decades of scientific research documenting weight stigma and its consequences for obese individuals.1,2 Its absence was noted in the 1960s when stigma research was first emerging. In 1968, Cahnman published the article entitled “The Stigma of Obesity,” in which he wrote: Obesity is hardly ever mentioned in the writings of sociologists, and not at all in the literature on social deviance. This omission is amazing… . Clearly, in our kind of society, with its stress on affluence and upward mobility, being overweight is considered to be detrimental to health, a blemish to appearance, and a social disgrace.27(p283) This omission remains almost 50 years later. Even as obesity rates have risen dramatically, weight stigma is rarely, if ever, afforded the same recognition or intervention as other disease stigmas. Although there is significant consensus that stigma undermines public health, this principle has not been applied to the obesity epidemic. Common societal assumptions about obesity, including the notion that obese individuals are to blame for their weight, contribute to the disregard of weight stigma and its impact on emotional and physical health. An examination of these assumptions in light of current scientific evidence reveals that obesity stigma creates significant barriers in efforts to address obesity and deserves recognition in the public health agenda. Go to: COUNTERING ASSUMPTIONS THAT PERPETUATE WEIGHT STIGMA Social constructions of body weight are ingrained in the way that our society perceives and reacts to obesity.10,28 According to Herek, the social meaning of disease involves assigning responsibility and blame, so that those afflicted with disease become regarded as either victims or perpetrators.18 Society regularly regards obese persons not as innocent victims, but as architects of their own ill health, personally responsible for their weight problems because of laziness and overeating.29–31 These common assumptions provide the foundation for weight stigma, a prejudice that is often dismissed as acceptable and necessary. Not only is weight stigma viewed as a beneficial incentive for weight loss, but it is also assumed that the condition of obesity is under personal control,10,28,32,33 implying that the social influence of weight stigma will be sufficient to produce change. Although these assumptions about obesity and weight stigma are prevalent in our national mindset, considerable scientific evidence has emerged to challenge them. To optimize obesity prevention and intervention efforts, these assumptions must be addressed within the sphere of public health, with recognition of the harmful impact of weight stigma on quality of life and the need to eliminate stigma from current and future public health approaches to the obesity epidemic. We present scientific evidence relevant to these societal assumptions. Weighty Misperceptions Societal attributions about the causes of obesity contribute significantly to expressions of weight stigma. Experimental research in psychology consistently demonstrates that obese persons are stigmatized because their weight is perceived to be caused by factors within personal control (e.g., overeating and lack of exercise).9,34–37 More than 2 decades ago Weiner et al. first assessed the relationship between perceptions of personal responsibility and stigmatizing conditions, and found that conditions rated low on personal responsibility (such as Alzheimer's disease) were rated high on liking and elicited pity and intentions to help from others.28 However, individuals with stigmatizing conditions rated high on personal responsibility (e.g., obesity and drug addiction) were disliked, evoked little pity and high anger, and received low ratings of helping tendencies.28 Research findings since that time have followed suit. In a study examining attitudes toward 66 different diseases and health conditions (including obesity), the attributed degree of personal responsibility for the disease predicted social distance and rejection by participants.38 Experimental research additionally shows that providing individuals with information emphasizing personal responsibility for obesity increases negative stereotypes toward obese persons, whereas information highlighting the complex etiology of obesity (such as biological and genetic contributors) improves attitudes and reduces stereotypes.39 The view that obesity is a matter of personal responsibility is the prevailing message in the media.29–31,40,41 News coverage of the personal causes and solutions to obesity significantly outnumber other societal attributions of responsibility.29 Entertainment media also communicate anti-fat messages and reinforce perceptions that body weight is within personal control.42–44 The current societal message is that both the cause and the solution for obesity reside within the individual. Thus, the pervasiveness of the “personal responsibility” message plays a key role in stigmatization, and serves to justify stigma as an acceptable societal response.45–47 However, this prevai

MENTAL HEALTH

In Stephen Beer's case, mental health resulted in years of addiction. Firstly to alcohol in his early 20s, and then food, resulting in Steve, 46, ending up morbidly obese. Steve, from Plymouth, demonstrated other classic symptoms including self harm, suicidal tendencies, attachment & relationship issues. He has had 6 marriages and found it very difficult to maintain meaningful relationships. Steve featured on Channel 5s "Too Fat To Work " after being convinced it would be a positive programme highlighting the problems associated with the public image of obesity. In fact, all it did was vilify him and he was denounced in the media as 'Britain's fattest scrounger'. The effect of this sent him on a downward spiral, culminating in an attempt to kill himself by jumping off a bridge. Steve was sectioned for 72 hours and received the help and support necessary. Still, upon return to his home & wife, Michelle, Steve continued to self harm and sink deeper & deeper into depression. He was unable to leave his home through fear of attacks, scared to answer his phone, was in a financial crisis and was estranged from family and friends. Life seemed pretty gloomy. Then in May 2016 Steve and Michelle met a new friend and upon discussion Steve realised he had an eating disorder and addiction and it was ok to talk about his mental health issues. Following an appearance on ITVS This Morning in September 2016, Steve broke down when discussing his mental health. The relief of admitting it publicly was liberating. Very soon he received a diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder and made the conscious decision to highlight his condition. Steve now is an advocate of child obesity awareness and men's mental illness , steve recently also was given a membership of anational obesity forum for his campaign work,in 2014 steve lost a friend to obesity ,his friend was so big that he was bed bound steve was trying to get him out ,when steve finaly got him help he died,,,even though steve went through depression and sucide steve has not given up about loseing weight..just recently steve s dad bob was told he had cancer .book comes out december

ME

Stephen Beer For many years Stephen Beer was afraid to go out of his front door; frightened to leave his home for fear of what people would say about his weight. He regularly faced physical and verbal abuse when he walked down the street, which left him feeling suicidal. Stephen says, "I am regularly mocked and abused because of my weight. From name calling to being spat on ...it is horrible and most people don't realise how much it hurts. Unless you've been through it yourself, people don't understand the impact of discrimination." Stephen has experienced a number of health issues over the years. His most recent trip to the hospital after suffering a heart attack left him feeling demoralised with the health service. He was left waiting for treatment because he was told he wouldn't fit in any of the beds and the hospital had to order to a suitable bed for him. He says, "Much of my experience with doctors and hospitals has left me feeling like some staff are against me. There is a stigma that because of my weight I'm no good. There aren’t chairs available that I can sit on in the doctor’s waiting room or the right sized beds available in the hospital. There can be little understanding of the issues that people with obesity regularly face." Stephen is determined not to give up. He is now an obesity campaigner, running a Facebook group to support other people with obesity and travel the countr