Promoting Adult Mental Health & Wellbeing

Here are some of the mental health influences you may recognise:

  • Stress
  • Relationship pressure
  • Bereavement & loss
  • Work pressures
  • Unemployment
  • Financial worries
  • Abuse (physical, sexual or emotional)
  • Physical illness
  • Homelessness
  • Fear
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Food

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is something we experience in our day to day life, it is a resource that influences how we feel and think of ourselves and others.

It can impact the way we cope with events in our life, which can be traumatic and difficult at times. This influences the way we learn how to deal with and overcome such obstacles. It helps us to communicate, learn and relate to others, survive pain and sadness and helps us to build a sense of resilience, creating us to have a positive wellbeing.

What influences your wellbeing?

There are many things in our day to day life which can impact our wellbeing, it’s important to create an awareness of self to allow you to recognise the signs of when your mental health is affected.

Sunderland Counselling Service promote and support equality the nine characteristics are:

  • Disability
  • Age
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Mental Health Problems

Mental health problems can affect anyone, these issues can have psychological impact as well as creating behaviour patterns which can cause distress. There’s are many symptoms that a person may experience; behavioural, physical and cognitive.

This can affect the persons ability to function. Throughout life a persons they may have positive mental health or could experience symptoms which may have a negative impact on their day to day life.

There is often stigma attached to people that experience mental health issues, this can lead to discrimination. Stigma can create people to have a negative attitude, use inappropriate language and can result in the person feeling isolated, reluctant to talk about their mental health problem causing them stress impacting their mental health further.


Depression can have many symptoms and it can describe feelings of sadness or low mood when faced with difficulties and challenges that don’t work for us.

Some of these feelings can be short lived and many people manage to cope without treatment. Often support from family and friends can be enough to overcome low mood and sad feelings.

However with clinical depression – these feelings do not go away, they can impact your daily life and routine, and symptoms may last much longer.

Life events can impact some individuals more than others, therefore you may experience a bereavement, divorce, loss of employment, physical or sexual abuse and other stressful situations which can increase the risk of depression.

Family history of depression can also increase the risk of an individual developing the problem, that doesn’t mean that everyone genetically will suffer mental health problems. Other factors within the environment adding to the strain may increase and individuals vulnerability.

Symptoms can include:

  • Feeling unhappy most of the time
  • Low mood
  • Little self esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Little interest in doing things
  • No enjoyment in life
  • Lack of sleep
  • Feeling unhappy most of the time
  • Low mood
  • Little self esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Little interest in doing things
  • No enjoyment in life
  • Lack of sleep

Physical symptoms can also be present with
depression these include:

  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Aches and pains
  • Muscular pain
  • Impact on women’s menstrual cycle
  • Impact on emotions and behaviour


Anxiety is a normal feeling when you are faced with a difficult situation and it can be a helpful response especially when faced with a dangerous decision making us more alert and responsive.

Feelings of anxiety can become severe for some and this can then impact day to day life, including relationships, work and other general activities. Symptoms can present physically, psychologically and behaviourally.

Physical symptoms can include:

  • Sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Palpitations, shaking
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Shortness of breath and hyperventilation

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentration
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive worrying
  • Confusion

Behavioural symptoms include:

  • Withdrawal
  • Avoidance of situations
  • Repetitive behaviour

The Warning Signs

You may recognise some of these signs in yourself, a family member, a friend or work colleague.

  • Personality changes that become the norm
  • Getting angry really easily
  • Crying or feeling upset
  • Feeling sad and withdrawn
  • Are they doing less work than usual, making mistakes or working later?
  • They maybe smoking or drinking more than usual
  • Their attendance or appearance may have changed

Recognise the signs of burnout

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Physical symptoms
  • Cognitive symptoms
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Lack of motivation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Insomnia

How to Avoid Burnout

  • Spot the symptoms early
  • Take breaks and put them to good use
  • Create a routine that works for you
  • Prioritise your work and personal commitments
  • Take quality time out
  • Be careful of your alcohol, caffeine and sugar intake

Mental Wellbeing

Your personal resilience helps you to cope and deal with day to day pressures and difficult life situations. Everyone deals with these situations differently and there’s many coping strategies to help you manage the stresses in life.

Here are some examples to help you to cope:

  • Recognise the signs
  • Surround yourself by positive people
  • Ask and accept help
  • Be practical
  • Learn about what keeps you balance
  • Accept that change can help you to move forward
  • Take care of your body and mind
  • Take action
  • Take physical activity
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Join a community group/peer support
  • Reduce your caffeine, sugar and alcohol consumption
  • Value yourself
  • Try a new hobby or sport
  • Meditate
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Be with nature

Try a grounding technique to help focus your mind during anxiety

Focusing on your breathing is a way to help you feel calm during an anxiety attack or any anxious feelings.

Step 1 - Try to be as comfortable as possible and relax the best you can.

Step 2 - The key is to take a short breath in deeply through your nose, relaxing your shoulders and body.

Step 3 -Then take a longer breath out, for example as you breathe in slowly count to 3 and when your breathe out slowly count to

Step 4 - You can start to do this for a few minutes and then increase it slowly each week.

You can also add in a second exercise to help reduce any feelings of anxiety

  • Acknowledge 5 things that you can see
  • Acknowledge 4 things you can touch
  • Acknowledge 3 things you can hear
  • Acknowledge 2 things you can smell
  • Acknowledge 1 thing you can taste

Helpful Resources

The NHS have number of tips to help you with your mental wellbeing

If you need some time out to yourself then a mindful app may help you to relax and sleep.

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organisation)