Mental Health: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Mental health struggles are common and can affect people in various ways. In the UK, every workplace has a duty of care to support their employers' wellbeing and health. This responsibility includes assigning equal importance to physical and mental health problems. Employers should encourage their staff to talk openly about their struggles. 

Over the last couple of years, open discussions about mental health have helped to lift the stigma surrounding this topic. Conversations about mental health at work are more commonplace. A supportive workplace can allow us to speak more freely when we experience problems.

The first step to creating a supportive environment is learning about mental health. 

Commodious is an online mental health course provider. To cultivate a greater understanding, we have rounded up the most common questions related to mental health. Keep reading to understand why mental health is so important, how many people it affects, and the most common issues. 


Mental Health Questions and Answers

Why is mental health important?

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes mental health as an emotional state where individuals can reach their potential and cope with life's adversities—in other words, having a positive outlook and the ability to bounce back whenever a problem arises. 

It may seem obvious, but having good mental health helps us feel happier, healthier and better prepared to handle life's challenges. It can help you feel more motivated and successful, especially when doing something you enjoy.

In contrast, poor mental wellbeing translates into low resilience and an inability to work well. These limitations can prevent us from reaching our goals and living fulfilling lives. Mental health problems can also result in physical symptoms. Sufferers may experience unexplained pains or digestion issues. There is also a higher chance of developing other health problems, like diabetes or heart disease. 

How common are mental health problems?

Mental health issues are common in the UK. Estimates suggest that about 1 in 4 people will struggle with mental health problems each year. In addition, stress, depression, and anxiety are leading causes of work-related ill health. 

How does mental health affect the quality of life?

Having bad days does not have to indicate a mental health illness. But symptoms that last for a long time and interfere with daily life are signs of a mental health problem that won't go away on its own. For example, someone with mental health problems might have trouble at work, struggle to maintain relationships, and lack interest in their responsibilities. Untreated mental health problems can lead to self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and even suicide attempts.

What causes mental health problems?

Several factors typically cause mental health problems. These might include:

  • family history of mental health issues
  • misuse of drugs or alcohol
  • childhood or adulthood experience of trauma, neglect, or abuse
  • chemical imbalances in the brain
  • stressful life events such as a death of a loved one, divorce or job loss
  • severe stress
  • financial difficulties such as debt, unemployment, or poverty
  • being homeless
  • experiencing social isolation or discrimination
  • having a chronic health condition

What are the symptoms of mental health problems?

Mental wellbeing symptoms are as unique as each of our personalities. Issues vary depending on each person and from disorder to disorder. However, the most common signs to look out for are listed below:

  • changes in appetite
  • changes in libido
  • mood changes, e.g., feeling more irritable, on edge or hopeless
  • sleep disturbance
  • concentration and memory problems
  • decreased self-esteem
  • loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • social isolation
  • tiredness
  • panic attacks
  • decreased ability to cope with stress

What are the most common mental health problems?

The most common mental health problems are:

  • anxiety disorders,
  • stress, 
  • persistent depressive disorder, 
  • depression, and
  • bipolar disorder. 


We will discuss each of these disorders in the following sections. To learn more, take our Online Mental Health Awareness course.

What is anxiety? 

It is normal to feel anxious sometimes. The feelings of worry or uneasiness we experience are a response to stressful life events and go away once the source of anxiety no longer exists. But if anxiety lasts for a long time, it may not have a clear cause or trigger, making it hard to do things in everyday life.

You are more likely to have problems with anxiety if you deal with stress or pressure. The risk also increases if you have other mental health problems or have a history of trauma, neglect, or abuse.

Anxiety is also an umbrella term that encompasses various anxiety disorders. These include:

  • generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • social anxiety disorder
  • panic disorder
  • phobias
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • health anxiety (hypochondria)

You can learn more about these by taking our online Mental Health Awareness course.

What is stress? 

Stress relates to the way our body responds to being under pressure. 

Pressure can mean different things to different people. Some examples include struggling with money, relationship problems or too many responsibilities.

Even though stress can push us to get things done, being on high alert for an extended time can be bad for our mental, physical, and emotional health.

What is depression?

According to the NHS, depression is a complex illness characterised by psychological, physical and social difficulties. These might include an inability to feel pleasure, loss of interest in socialising, unexplained pains, irritable mood, and sleep problems. While experiencing some of these symptoms can be a normal response to upsetting life events, they should go away with time. In the worst cases, untreated depression can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms or suicidal thoughts.

The causes of depression vary from person to person but are typically a combination of a few factors: 

  • stress
  • trauma
  • childhood experiences
  • family history of mental health issues
  • physical health conditions
  • side effects of medications
  • alcohol and drug use

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar is a mood disorder. There are the following types of bipolar disorders:

  • Bipolar type I presents at least one episode of mania (elevated mood)
  • Bipolar type II is evidenced by at least one episode of depression and hypomania (less severe than mania)
  • Cyclothymia is associated with the same symptoms as the types above but not as extreme

Like other health disorders, bipolar has many possible causes. Some factors include adverse childhood experiences, heightened levels of stress hormones and neurotransmitter dysfunction.

What kind of help is available in the UK?

Asking for help might be difficult because mental health problems are still subject to stigma. 

One of the main reasons for this is that people are worried about appearing over-sensitive or weak. If the workplace has a culture insensitive to or devalues mental health, speaking out can be even more challenging. 

However, prioritising your mental wellbeing demonstrates strength and bravery. Asking for help is an important step towards overcoming mental health issues.

Even if we are not suffering from mental health issues, we all have a part to play. Contributing to a workplace environment that is both open and supportive helps everyone. 

If you want mental health services, speak to your GP to refer you for appropriate treatment. Local health centres or mental health clinics typically provide mental health services. 

If you need urgent support, stay safe by contacting a friend or an organisation that handles mental health crises is important. 

In Conclusion

 Knowing about mental health is important for creating a supportive environment at work and in our everyday lives. By understanding how important mental health is, we can handle problems better, help those around us, and get help when needed. 

Remember that mental health problems are common. Getting help from a professional is a brave and important step towards improving. 

Consider taking our Online Mental Health Awareness course for more information. You will learn about the types of help available and how to support mental health. 


Bethany Wesson

Bethany Wesson

Bethany is a freelance content writer and has produced articles for the Commodious Knowledge Bank since 2023. She has written about various health and safety topics, from asbestos to mindful business practices.

  • Business
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Wellbeing