Mental Health Matters ACM Student Support Hub

This link includes:

  • What is Mental Health?
  • What does Positive & Poor Mental Health Look Like?
  • What does Positive Mental Health enable you to do?
  • What are the side effects of Poor Mental Health?
  • Why is positive Mental Health and Wellbeing Important?
  • Information on Anxiety & Depression
  • Risk factors for mental ill health in education
  • What can you do to support someone with Poor Mental Health?
  • What can I do if I have Poor Mental Health?
  • How can ACM Help?
  • Links to charities and support organisations
ACM Mental Health Matters

*** Scroll to the last page for tips on self help and what support the ACM can offer ***

What is mental health?

…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 community.”

What does Positive Mental Health look like?

= Positive capacity

= Positive social and emotional wellbeing

= Positive behaviour, thoughts and emotions

What does Poor Mental Health look like?

≠ Struggling to concentrate

≠ Long periods of unhappiness with no real reason

≠ Inability to find positives in various situations

What does Positive Mental Health enable you to do?

> Increased ability for Personal development

> Better Communication

> Positive and respectful relationships

> Identify, manage and understand emotion

> Solve problems, make decisions, take responsibility

> Set goals

What are the effects of poor mental health?

< Struggle within various relationships

< Makes communicating effectively difficult

< Seeing things negatively on a regular basis

< Difficulty in finding motivation

< Inability to plan for the future or see hope in setting goals

*** Scroll to the last page for tips on self help and what support ACM can offer ***

Looking After Your Mental Health

It’s important to take care of yourself and get the most from life.

Below are 10 practical ways to look after your mental health. Making simple changes to how you live doesn’t need to cost a fortune or take up loads of time.

Anyone can follow this advice. Why not start today?

1. Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.

2. Keep active

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

3. Eat well

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

4. Drink sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.

5. Keep in touch

There’s nothing better than catching up with someone face to face, but that’s not always possible. You can also give them a call, drop them a note, or chat to them online instead. Keep the lines of communication open: it’s good for you!

6. Ask for help

None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan.

If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help. Your family or friends may be able to offer practical help or a listening ear.

Local services are there to help you.

7. Take a break

A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health.

It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work, or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de-stress you. Give yourself some ‘me time’.

8. Do something you’re good at

What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past?

Enjoying yourself can help beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it, and achieving something boosts your self-esteem

9. Accept who you are

We’re all different. It’s much healthier to accept that you’re unique than to wish you were more like someone else. Feeling good about yourself boosts your confidence to learn new skills, visit new places and make new friends. Good self-esteem helps you cope when life takes a difficult turn.

10. Care for others

‘Friends are really important… We help each other whenever we can, so it’s a two-way street, and supporting them uplifts me.’

Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.

Depression and anxiety are the most common forms of mental illness


Everyone experiences stress and anxiousness at times – in moderation this can be beneficial

Anxiety experienced in anxiety disorders differs from normal responses:

> More prolonged

> Occurring out of the blue without a particular reason

> Can impair relationships, schooling and everyday functioning

> 15.4% 16-24 years olds have an anxiety disorder

Mental Health Matters


- Nausea, perspiration and racing heart

- Persistent worry

- Restlessness and irritability

- Crying

- Loss of temper

- Procrastination

- Disruption to sleep and eating

- Decline in academic performance

- Truancy

- Increased use of alcohol / drugs

- Withdrawal

- Obsessive thinking

- Perfectionist behaviour

Mental Health Matters

*** Scroll to the last page for tips on self help and what support ACM can offer ***


More than just a low mood, or feeling sad from time to time

Depression can impact on:

> Enjoyment of activities

> Energy levels

> Sleep

> Concentration

> Coping with day to day activities


- Frequently upset, sad, anxious or negative

- Irritable, angry or aggressive

- Crying

- Losing temper

- Withdrawal and isolation

- Risky or criminal behaviour

- Increased use of alcohol or other drugs

- Decline in energy

- Lack of enjoyment

- Decline in academic performance

- Self-harming behaviour or suicide thoughts.

*** Scroll to the last page for tips on self help and what support ACM can offer ***

Risk factors for mental ill-health In education

Students may experience the following:

> Feelings of being overly fearful or anxious

> Argumentative and non-compliant

> Difficulty concentrating

> Poor attachment

> Lack of appetite

> Confusion and struggles with processing information

> Avoidance of work or peers

Mental Health Matters

*** Scroll to the last page for tips on self help and what support ACM can offer ***

What is Emotional Wellbeing?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being - For example:

  • Your ability to manage your feelings
  • Your ability to cope with day to day life
  • The quality of your relationships
  • The way you feel about yourself
  • How you are able to deal with challenging & difficult situations
  • Emotional well-being is related to but not limited to mental health concerns such as
  • Stress, Depression and Anxiety

Mental health is part of our overall health and wellbeing. It is important to remember that as human beings we all experience a range of emotions in response to what happens in our lives.

When something positive happens we tend to feel happy or excited and if we are faced with worry or sadness we may feel anxious, scared, sad or angry.

Although these are all natural responses, our overall mental health can be affected by a whole range of different factors, including life events such as:

  • Our home life
  • Friendships
  • Relationships
  • Loss


  • Study/work stress

How we deal with these emotions depends on the circumstances and it is important to recognise that sometimes you may need some help in dealing with something that is affecting you.

Most importantly.…please remember to be kind to yourself.

We all respond to situations differently and there are a whole range of physical and emotional responses associated with mental ill health.

If you are experiencing some of the following it might be a good idea to talk this through with a member of the ACM Student Support Team:

  • An unusually sad mood that does not go away
  • Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Lack of energy and tiredness
  • Difficulty in concentrating and making decisions
  • Difficulty in sleeping or having too much sleep
  • Excessive worry
  • Irritability, impatience, anger
  • Palpitations, chest pain, rapid heart beat
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge, nervousness
  • Avoidance of situations

Tips for reducing stress

People can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives. You may want to begin with the following tips:

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Accept that there are events that you cannot control.
  • Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive.
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi.
  • Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit.
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
  • Learn to manage your time more effectively.
  • Set limits appropriately and say no to requests that would create excessive stress in your life.
  • Make time for hobbies and interests.* ACM Societies can help with this.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.
  • Don't rely on alcohol, drugs, or compulsive behaviours to reduce stress.
  • Seek out social support. Spend enough time with those you love.
  • Seek treatment with a psychologist or other mental health professional trained in stress management to learn more healthy ways of dealing with the stress in your life.

What can you do to help someone with Poor Mental Health?

Addressing the signs and symptoms through education and promotion of support will help identify Poor Mental Health in its early stages"

Mental Health Awareness and Early Intervention can help by:

> Reducing risk factors

> Increase protective factors

> Improve future mental health outcomes.

Tackle Mental Health Stigma - W.A.L.L.S.

Watch your language

Make sure you are not using language or comments that stigmatise people with mental illness.

Ask questions

A lot can be learned by asking questions of a mental health professional like a counsellor or doctor, or a person who has lived experience with a mental illness.

Learn more

Great resources are available online to help educate you on different mental illnesses. Increased education means fewer misunderstandings and less stigma.

Listen to experiences

Once you have learned a bit about mental illness, consider asking someone you know about their experience with mental illness. If you are considerate and respectful, they may be comfortable speaking about their experiences. If you have lived experience, consider sharing your story with others.

Speak out

Help reduce stigma by speaking out when others stigmatise people with mental illnesses or spread misconceptions.

What can I do If I have Poor Mental Health?

  • Take time-out. Listen to music, meditate or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
  • Eat well-balanced meals regularly. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
  • Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
  • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a doctor or therapist for professional help.

How can ACM Help?

  • We can signpost you to a number of great organisations, charities or agencies who can help
  • Organise Wellness and Anxiety Workshops
  • Offer resources for self help
  • Give advice on industry specific coping mechanisms
  • Help with circumstantial issues through Pastoral Care
  • Offer of Counselling Services on site
Mental Health Matters