There are lots of things you can do to stay mentally healthy. These things can help if you already have a mental health problem, or if you have recovered and don't want the same thing to happen again.
Simple things like doing more exercise, improving your diet, spending more time outdoors and upping your social contact can do an enormous amount to improve your mental wellbeing.
Research has proven that exercising can help people to keep mentally well. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals that make us feel better straight away.
It's also a great way to meet new people, get fresh air and a change of scenery. Just half-an-hour's brisk walk every other day can make a huge difference. But try to exercise for at least 20 minutes every day if you can.
Sharing your feelings with others and being listened to can really help. When you put things into words it helps you to think more clearly about the problem.
Instead of whirling around in your head and getting out of proportion, talking helps make the problem seem more manageable.
If you don't feel you have anybody you can talk to, you could try calling or emailing a helpline. By talking to others, you can get a different view on what's happening.
Sometimes other people can help you put things in perspective, or signpost you to other means of support or make suggestions.
Some organisations (such as Samaritans and ChildLine) run email helplines – which can be great if you find talking difficult.
Try your best to stick with a healthy diet. There is growing evidence that what we eat really does affect the way we feel.
Try to avoid or cut down on the things that can trigger or aggravate mental health problems, like alcohol and recreational drugs. Even though it might make you feel good temporarily, alcohol is a depressant drug.
Tea, coffee, cola, and other soft drinks contain caffeine – a powerful stimulant drug related to amphetamine and cocaine. Too much caffeine can cause anxiety and make it difficult to get enough sleep. Try cutting down on caffeine – or cutting it out completely to see how you feel.
Try not to be a 'perfectionist' and expect too much of yourself – in your schoolwork or what you think your body should look like.
Spend time with people who make you feel good and avoid people who criticise or judge you.
Break difficult jobs or schoolwork down into smaller chunks which are easier to manage. Make sure you set goals that are realistic, write them down and tick them off when you've done them.
If you feel you need help with things – tell people. Seek out support, whether it's for schoolwork, family or relationship problems or questions about drugs or alcohol. Professional organisations are used to dealing with young people and will not judge you or break your confidence unless someone is in danger.
If you have a serious problem – try not to bottle it up and keep it to yourself. Tell someone that something is wrong.
Seeking help quickly is the best thing you can do to help stop a problem growing. Getting help is not being weak – it's a sign of strength and shows that you are responsible.
People who are happiest in life are the ones who have a real passion for, or interest in, something.
If you don't already have a hobby that you enjoy, try learning something new or doing something creative. This will boost your self-confidence and stop you spending time focusing on any problems or worries. Doing something new is also a great way to meet new people and have a change of scenery.
Learn to meditate or practice some form of relaxation. It sounds very easy for people to tell you to 'just relax' but if you learn how to do this it can be a very powerful tool. It can help to prevent mental health problems, or help you to recover from them and stop you getting them again. Controlled breathing exercises are also part of relaxation.
Ask your GP for information about learning relaxation techniques. There is lots information on the web, as well as books and CDs on relaxation and meditation in shops and libraries, which can help you to teach yourself the techniques.
When you're anxious or depressed, you can end up just sitting and staring or spending ages in your room thinking and doing nothing.
Getting up and getting out can really improve your mood, helping you to think more clearly and giving you a different, more positive view of things.
Research has shown that being outside and in green spaces helps relieve anxiety and boosts your mood.
Why not volunteer for a local conservation project? Volunteer centres are always looking for people to help out (look in the Yellow Pages or ask at your local volunteer centre).
Even if you've had more than your fair share of problems, helping other people is a great way to boost your self-esteem and make you feel good. People often say they are happiest when they are doing something for other people. See if you can find a way to get involved in a project or in helping someone.
Sometimes a little stress if good for us – it helps to motivate and push us to do our best. But too much can lead to problems.
See if you can remove or reduce the sources of stress in your life. Then deal with the leftover stress with relaxation and channel the energy into exercise and your hobbies.
Music is a very powerful way to either lift your mood or to help you to relax. Hearing upbeat music in the morning can put you in a good mood for the day. Relaxing music at night can help you have a deeper, more refreshing sleep.
Music is also a great way to be sociable. Going out for a boogie with your friends can really make you feel connected – and that's backed up by research! Music therapy is used in hospitals to help people recover from all sorts of problems.
What we pay attention to in life seems to grow stronger. Therefore if you pay attention to the positive and the good things in your life, this will in turn boost your mood.
One good technique is to write down the good things that have happened that day – however small – before you go to bed.
It's all too easy to simply focus on the negative aspects of life.