What is it?
The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community”.
Mental health here refers to both mental ill health and mental wellbeing.
While many gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (MSM) enjoy healthy, happy and productive lives, there are a range of preventable mental health issues which affect a disproportionate number of men compared to the general population as a whole.
Mental ill health may include: anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and feeling isolated from others.
Mental wellbeing may include a sense of control, purpose in life, sense of belonging and fulfilling relationships with others.
How do I develop Mental Well-Being?
Developing good emotional and mental well-being involves a good adjustment to all aspects of your self, sexuality and the world we live in.
Through trial and error we have all learned to manage our thoughts and emotions that drive the actions aimed at satisfying our physical, emotional and social needs.
However, when things don’t work out as expected, we need to re-evaluate how useful (or not) our old ways of thinking and feeling have been in providing solutions to our current problems.
Many of us already self-manage and acquire new mental skills and strategies to let go of the past and move forward to the future. However, sometimes we need the temporary support of others (friends, family and professionals) to help guide us through certain problematic life events.
Using both guided self-help strategies and support from others when appropriate can be an effective way to develop and maintain good mental well-being.
What signs might I notice?
Signs of mental ill health you might notice can include regular episodes of worrying, feeling down and/or feeling overwhelmed. These signs may suggest low level anxiety, depression or perhaps more severe emotional states affecting the quality of your day to day life.
How might I be assessed?
If you feel you would like to get support, our SRP Choices team have been trained to assess where you are in terms of what support you need and what service would be most appropriate for you.
How might I be supported?
For times when you just need someone to talk through an issue with, or you need more intensive support, we can provide one-off "listening ear" sessions to prevent issues escalating, short-term counselling sessions for more difficult issues or refer you to more intensive support services if your needs are more complex.
SRP choices provide a free and confidential service for:
Our team of therapists draw on a range of approaches to best meet the needs of individuals. These include “Solution Focussed”, “Asset Based Approaches” and “Guided Self-help”, as well as “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” (CBT).
What if I’m HIV positive?
If you are HIV positive, there may be times when living with HIV can present particular mental health challenges compared to others and additional support is required to resolve a particular issue you are experiencing. Our SRP team will able to assess where you are in terms of what support you need and which of our services would be most appropriate for you.
Where can I get help?
If you think you need help to support your Mental Well-Being, click on the SRP Choices page.
Planning ahead and taking control will give you the benefit of knowing that whatever else is going on in 2017, you’ll be taking care of your sexual health.Read More