WE all have our off days, especially during what’s been a difficult 2020.
But how do you know if feelings of tiredness, irritability, or panic are not something more serious?
The NHS has created a mood assessment tool to reveal if you have signs of anxiety or depression.
It asks a broad set of 18 questions about your feelings in the past two weeks with multiple choice answers.
The questions include: “How often have you been bothered by feeling tired or having little energy?”, and “How often are you restless?”.
Then the tool will give you a score for both anxiety and depression at the end, and what steps you should take next, perhaps encouraging you to see your GP.
If left untreated without either therapy or medication, mental health problems can spiral out of control.
The Sun previously launched the You’re Not Alone campaign in September 2018, on World Suicide Day.
It helps to remind anyone facing a tough time, grappling with mental illness or feeling like there’s nowhere left to turn, that there is hope.
Britain was facing a mental health crisis even before the Covid pandemic came along and exacerbated the situation.
Staying indoors, limited social contact, job losses, money troubles and uncertain futures have caused mental illness to worsen.
A bundle of statistics supports this, including from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Where to get help
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
In June, the agency found an increasing number of people reporting high levels of anxiety sharply elevated by the pandemic.
It returned to almost normal levels after the spring peak. However, the report was in June, and ONS have not yet measured the effect of the second national lockdown in the winter on people’s wellbeing.
The statistics showed those who are married, in civil partnerships or are over 60’s category were heavily impacted.
The ONS said “loneliness is a key factor” to explain the higher anxiety levels in older age groups.
This winter, The Sun launched it’s Christmas Together campaign to help combat loneliness during a time of year which should be full of joy.
More figures from ONS show depression rates doubled from 9.7 per cent in March to 19.2 per cent in June.
However this time, it was adults who were young, female, unable to afford an unexpected expense or disabled that were the most at risk of depression.
People most at risk of mental illness include those who are LGBTQ+, women aged between 16 and 24, black or British black, or have been a substance abuse problem, according to Mind.
The studies show that anyone can be impacted by mental health illness, regardless of who they are.
So what are the most common signs to look out for?
There are many symptoms of depression, including low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of energy and problems with sleep.
The more symptoms someone has, the more likely they are to be depressed, the NHS says.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, if you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
There are several types of anxiety disorders.
People with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) worry, most days for at least 6 months, about a number of things in their life.
YOU’RE 1.5M IN QUEUE
New calculator reveals when YOU can expect to get the Covid vaccine
Generalised anxiety disorder symptoms include:
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
- Being irritable
- Having muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
Another more common form of anxiety is panic disorder, which causes repeated and unexpected panic attacks, sometimes brought on by a trigger.
During a panic attack, people may experience:
- Heart palpitations, a pounding heartbeat, or an accelerated heartrate
- Trembling or shaking
- Sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking
- Feelings of impending doom
- Feelings of being out of control
The Sun’s Christmas Together campaign
THIS Christmas we are teaming up with the Together Campaign, a coalition of community groups and organisations, and Royal Voluntary Service to combat loneliness.
And we want to recruit an army of volunteers to support those feeling cut off, anxious and isolated, this Christmas.Could YOU reach out to someone who might be struggling and alone? It might be someone you know in your own life or community who needs support.
Or we can connect you with someone in need through the NHS Volunteer responder programme run by the NHS, Royal Voluntary Service and the GoodSAM app.
Could you give up half an hour to make a call and chat with someone feeling isolated? Or could you volunteer to deliver essential shopping or festive treats?
Go to nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk/christmastogether to sign up as a volunteer. You will then receive an email taking you through the sign up process and be asked to download the responder app which will match you to those in need in your area.
Don’t worry if you don’t get a job straight away, because jobs are matched according to the need local to you. Being ready to help is what really matters