Mental health

WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?

Mental health relates to how we think, feel and act. Having good mental health is about feeling positive about ourselves and others, being able to form good relationships and having the resilience to overcome challenges. People who have poor mental health may find it difficult to manage how they think, feel and act with daily stresses. They might not enjoy things they used to like doing, or feel sad or angry for a longer time than usual.

Mental health problems are common, and help is available.


If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or are at risk of harming yourself or others, please call 111, speak to the Samaritans on 116 123, text Shout on 85258, or speak to your GP.

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ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

Learn more about the different mental health conditions and ways to help manage them.

There are many different types of mental health conditions. Some common ones include:

  • Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and phobias
  • Depression, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders
  • Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia
  • Personality disorders, such paranoia and borderline personality disorder (BPT)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
  • Postnatal depression

Signs & symptoms of a mental health condition could include the following:

  • Sadness that doesn’t go away.
  • High and low mood swings.
  • Withdrawing from the people and activities you enjoy.
  • Having low or no energy.
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters.
  • Worries or fears that seem out of proportion.
  • Neglecting your appearance and hygiene.
  • Losing interest in sex.
  • Becoming disorganised or confused.
  • Seeing or hearing things that others can’t.
  • A change in your eating or sleeping habits.
  • Smoking, drinking, or using illicit drugs more than usual.
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others.


If you notice any of the above mentioned, you should talk to your GP, who can help you find the right support.


If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or are at risk of harming yourself or others, please call 111, speak to the Samaritans on 116 123, text Shout on 85258 or speak to your GP.

Being active is not only great for your physical health, it can also improve your mental wellbeing. Just 30 minutes of walking everyday can help boost your mood and improve your health. Small amounts of exercise add up, so don’t be discouraged if you can’t do 30 minutes at one time.


Eating healthy, regular meals and staying hydrated can help you feel better. A balanced diet and plenty of water can improve your energy and focus throughout the day.

Research shows that learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • Boosting self-confidence and raising self-esteem.
  • Helping you to build a sense of purpose.
  • Connecting with others with a shared interest.

Reach out to your friends or family members who can provide emotional support and practical help. Ways in which you can do this include:

  • If possible, take time each day to be with your family, for example, try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together or arrange a virtual call if they live far away.
  • Arrange a day out with friends you have not seen for a while.
  • Try switching off the TV to talk, or play a game with your children, friends or family.
  • Take a lunch break to catch up with a colleague.
  • Visit a friend or family member who needs support or company.
  • Volunteer at a local community group - research has shown acts of kindness can boost mental wellbeing.


Occasionally we find ourselves in new situations with new people and making new friends as an adult can seem daunting. Find some tips on how to help you overcome this here.

Sleep plays an essential role in mental health. To get enough high quality sleep, try starting with these tips:

  • Avoid caffeine drinks after 3 pm.
  • Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time everyday.
  • Make your bedroom into a quiet, relaxing, clutter-free space.
  • Try to relax before bedtime - this could be listening to music or taking a bath.
  • Avoiding looking at devices an hour or two before bed; try reading a book or magazine instead.
  • Explore relaxation or wellness programmes or apps, which may incorporate meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing exercises.

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga. Some people find that it helps them become more aware of their thoughts and feelings so that, instead of being overwhelmed by them, they are better able to manage them.


Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us and understand ourselves better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.


There are many ways to learn mindfulness, from one-to-one coaching, to free self-guided resources available online and through the NHS.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy that can help you manage challenges through understanding how you think, respond and behave.


CBT is a practical therapy focusing on current problems rather than the past. It can help you become aware of how connected our bodies and minds are and how they respond to each other.


An alternative may be talking therapies or counselling, often called psychological therapies. This type of treatment involves talking either face-to-face or virtually to a trained counsellor privately about your thoughts and feelings.


Therapy can help you manage difficult life events, such as bereavement, depression, anxiety, trauma and feeling low. If you are registered with a GP, you may be able to access CBT and other talking therapies on the NHS. Alternatively, you can explore the services available on the Boots Health Hub, such as on-demand talking therapy from SupportRoom.*

If you notice changes to your feelings, thoughts and behaviour that last for more than two weeks, keep coming back or interfere with your day-to-day life, you should speak with your GP, who can talk through different treatment options. Most people find that they are able to manage their mental health problems well with the right combination of treatment and support. This might include self-care techniques, medication and talking therapies.


Treatment for depression and anxiety is available through Boots Online Doctor** if you’re experiencing low mood, anxiety, stress, or other related symptoms. Simply complete a confidential online consultation (this takes between five and ten minutes) and then choose between a telephone or video appointment with a qualified medical professional. Our clinician will work with you to come up with the right treatment plan for you, which may include antidepressant medication, if appropriate, or signposting you to counselling or talking therapies. This service is for mild to moderate depression and anxiety. If you’re experiencing other mental health problems, speak to your GP.

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WELLNESS PRODUCTS

Boots Online Doctor is here to help, with quick access to advice & prescription-only medicine, without having to see your GP**

Find out how to access NHS mental health services & where to get urgent help

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

In England, one in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year. One in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (for instance, anxiety or depression) in any given week.

There are many different mental health problems that can affect people. If you’re looking for more information about mental health problems, there are some resources available that may be helpful:

  • NHS provides information on mental health symptoms and how to access treatment.
  • Mind is a mental health charity who provide advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
  • Boots pharmacy teams can help with any questions about existing prescriptions for mental health problems. As healthcare professionals, pharmacists can listen to your concerns and point you in the right direction for further support.

Explore Living Well for a variety of health advice & support to help you lead a healthy lifestyle

1Subject to availability. Eligibility criteria may apply. Charges may apply.

2
Access to prescription-only treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply.

3
Subject to availability. Eligibility criteria apply.

*Subject to availability. Charges apply.

**Access to prescription-only treatment is subject to an online consultation with a clinician to assess suitability. Subject to availability. Charges apply. 

***3 for 2 on selected vitamins, supplements health foods and complementary medicines. Cheapest free. Subject to availability

† You must speak to your GP before using Flow and always before making changes to your current treatment for depression.

Page last reviewed on 26/03/2024

It's important to talk about our mental health and Boots is here to help. Explore all the mental health support, mental health services and mental health advice Boots has to offer.