Types of mental health issues

Here's our at-a-glance guide to types of mental health problems together with some videos and downloadable information booklets


Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, which we might experience if we feel attacked, deceived, frustrated, invalidated or unfairly treated. Learning healthy ways to recognise, express and deal with anger is important for our mental and physical health.


Anxiety and panic attacks

Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat.


Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental health problem that mainly affects your mood. Everyone has variations in their mood, but in bipolar disorder these changes can be extreme, very distressing and have a big impact on your life.


Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder related to body image. BDD can vary in severity from person to person and from day to day. For some of us, concerns around appearance may make it difficult to go out in public or see other people.


BPD (Borderline personality disorder)

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD). You might be diagnosed with a personality disorder if you have difficulties with how you think and feel about yourself and other people, and are having problems in your life as a result.



Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life. If you are given a diagnosis of depression, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe depression. This describes what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently, and what sort of treatment you're likely to be offered.


Dissociative disorders

Many people may experience dissociation (dissociate) during their life. If you dissociate, you may feel disconnected from yourself and the world around you. For example, you may feel detached from your body or feel as though the world around you is unreal.


Eating problems

An eating problem is any relationship with food that you find difficult. Food plays an important part in our lives and most of us will spend time thinking about what we eat. Changing your eating habits every now and again is normal. But if food and eating feels like it's taking over your life then it may become a problem.


Hearing voices

We might say someone is ‘hearing voices’ if you hear a voice when no-one is present with you, or which other people with you cannot hear. It's common to think that if you hear voices you must have a mental health problem. But research shows that lots of people hear voices and many of them are not mentally unwell.



We all feel lonely from time to time. One common description of loneliness is the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact and relationships is not met. But loneliness is not always the same as being alone.


OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions. You might find that sometimes your obsessions and compulsions are manageable, and at other times they may make your day-to-day life really difficult. If you experience OCD, it's likely that your obsessions and compulsions will have a big impact on how you live your life.


Perinatal anxiety

Lots of people are aware that you can become depressed after having a baby. But many people also experience anxiety during pregnancy and after giving birth. In fact, it is common to experience depression and anxiety together.


Perinatal OCD

Perinatal OCD is when you experience OCD during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. It's normal to worry about your child's well-being and want to protect your baby while you are pregnant and after giving birth. But if you start to experience obsessive and compulsive symptoms that affect your daily life and well-being, you may be experiencing perinatal OCD.


Personality disorders

Our personality is the collection of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that makes each of us the individuals we are. If you experience significant difficulties in how you relate to yourself and others and have problems coping day to day, you may receive a diagnosis of personality disorder.



A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as going outside) or object (such as spiders), even when there is no danger. Someone with a phobia may even feel this extreme anxiety just by thinking or talking about the particular situation or object.


Postnatal depression

If you experience depression while you are pregnant or after giving birth, this may be known as antenatal depression, postnatal depression (PND) or perinatal depression. Lots of people are aware of postnatal depression. But it is less known that many people experience antenatal depression, and some people may experience both.


Postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a serious but rare mental health problem which develops after you give birth. It is sometimes called puerperal psychosis. Postpartum psychosis can be an overwhelming and frightening experience, and it is important to seek help as soon as possible if you experience symptoms. But with the right support, most people fully recover.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder which you may develop after being involved in, or witnessing, traumatic events. The condition was first recognised in war veterans and has been known by a variety of names, such as 'shell shock'. But it's not only diagnosed in soldiers – a wide range of traumatic experiences can cause PTSD.


Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a very severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which can cause many emotional and physical symptoms every month during the week or two before you start your period. It is sometimes referred to as 'severe PMS'.



Many experiences and behaviours can be part of schizophrenia. They can start suddenly for some people, while others find that they develop gradually over time. Each person's experience of schizophrenia is unique to them, but you might find that you aren't able to carry on with day-to-day activities, like going to work or taking care of yourself.



Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of dealing with very difficult feelings, painful memories or overwhelming situations and experiences. There are lots of different forms of self-harming. Some people use the same one all the time, other people hurt themselves in different ways at different times.


Sleep problems

Everyone needs sleep but many of us have problems with it. There's a close relationship between sleep and mental health. Living with a mental health problem can affect how well you sleep, and poor sleep can have a negative impact on your mental health.



We all know what it's like to feel stressed, but it's not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. Being under pressure is a normal part of life. It can help you take action, feel more energised and get results. But if you often become overwhelmed by stress, these feelings could start to be a problem for you.


Suicidal feelings

Suicide is the act of intentionally taking your own life. Suicidal feelings can mean having abstract thoughts about ending your life or feeling that people would be better off without you. Or it can mean thinking about methods of suicide or making clear plans to take your own life.



Going through very stressful, frightening or distressing events is sometimes called trauma. Traumatic events can happen at any age and can cause long-lasting harm. Everyone has a different reaction to trauma so you might notice any effects quickly, or a long time afterwards.


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