What is a mental health problem?

Mental health disorders take many different forms, affecting the way you behave, feel, and think. They can feel as bad or worse than any physical illness. Although certain symptoms are common in specific mental health problems, no two people behave in exactly the same way when unwell. The level of impairment of an individual’s cognitive, emotional, or behavioural functioning will be different.

Mental health problems are not a sign of weakness. They are upsetting and frightening experience. But remember they are a common human experience, so please talk about what you are feeling and seek help. This will decrease the distress and sense of isolation you may be suffering.

Who is affected by mental health problems?

Anyone can suffer from a mental health problem. They affect around one in four people in Britain, and range from common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, to more rare problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

How common are specific problems?

A study in England in 2016 reported the following figures. View the full report here.

  • Generalised anxiety disorder – 5.9 in 100 people
  • Depression – 3.3 in 100 people
  • Phobias – 2.4 in 100 people
  • OCD – 1.3 in 100 people
  • Panic disorder – 0.6 in 100 people
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – 4.4 in 100 people
  • Mixed anxiety and depression – 7.8 in 100 people
  • Psychotic disorder – 0.7 in 100 people
  • Bipolar disorder – 2.0 in 100 people
  • Antisocial personality disorder – 3.3 in 100 people
  • Borderline personality disorder – 2.4 in 100 people
  • Suicidal thoughts – 20.6 in 100 people
  • Suicide attempts – 6.7 in 100 people
  • Self-harm – 7.3 in 100 people

What causes mental health problems?

Mental health problems are thought to be caused by a combination of physiological and psychosocial factors rather than just one reason. These factors can be wide-ranging.

Below are some examples of circumstances that may trigger a period of poor mental health.

  • Physical causes e.g. head injury, epilepsy
  • Genetic factors
  • Childhood or adult trauma, neglect or abuse
  • Long-term physical health issue
  • Long-term stress
  • Discrimination or stigma
  • Isolation or loneliness
  • Bereavement
  • Loss of a job
  • Caring for a family member
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Debt or poverty

Mental health conditions treated at Nightingale Hospital

We treat the following mental health conditions at Nightingale Hospital, in central London:

Mental health treatment offered at Nightingale Hospital

All of our treatment is tailored to our patient’s needs based on the understanding that every person is unique and has their own challenge.

Treatment services

Our Therapy team looks after Inpatients, Outpatients, and Day Patients Therapy for all mental health treatment in both group and individual sessions.


We provide ongoing support with weekly free aftercare groups for inpatients and day therapy patients for one year after treatment. These can be invaluable in helping you consolidate your recovery.