2Mental Health is the ability to live your life and be with your friends and family/whanau in a positive wayGood mental health includes a general sense of well being and control over your life, allowing you to join in with things and make good decisions about different situations.
3It is perfectly normal for our mental health to have ups and downs. Sometimes life is great (hanging out with mates, going on holiday, watching a good movie..)Sometimes life is not so great (exams, parents split up, fight with a friend..)Sometimes people experience on-going problems that affect their ability to enjoy life over a longer period of time, which we may refer to as having a mental illness.
4So what is Mental Illness then? Saying exactly what mental illness is can be a tricky job.What’s regarded as ‘normal’ can vary from culture to culture and even family to family.Mental health is a continuum ( a long line with mentally health at one end and mental illness at another)When stuff stresses us out we can move away from being mentally healthy and towards mental illness.
5Usually this slip down the mental health continuum is only temporary, however, when people get ‘stuck’ and cant feel happy again we refer to them as having a mental illness.
6Misconceptions about mental illness Mentally Ill people are violent: people with stresses in their life lose confidence and are less likely to be aggressive!Mentally Ill people never get better: Most people experiencing mental health problems have one episode then completely recover.Mental Illness is rare: In New Zealand mental illness affects one in five people and the most common mental illness, depression, affects one in 12 teenagers.
7Who can help a person if they are becoming unwell? FamilyFriendsSchool counsellorFamily doctorMinisters or other people in your community
8Tips for copingTry to find someone supportive. Ignoring your problems may not make them go away so talk to someoneGet help earlyDon't blame yourself it is not your fault!You are not crazy and you are not abnormalTry to keep up a healthy lifestyle, remember healthy body = healthy mind!Drugs and Alcohol may make things worseSpend time with your friends and enjoy life when you can