1.3 Identify examples of mental health problems

1.3 Identify examples of mental health problems

NCFE CACHE Level 1 Award in Mental Health Awareness

Care Learning

3 mins READ

Unit 1.3 of the NCFE CACHE Level 1 Award in Mental Health Awareness focuses on identifying examples of mental health problems.

In order to provide a comprehensive understanding, we will cover various types of mental health conditions, their characteristics, and some examples.

Examples of Mental Health Problems

Mental health problems can vary in terms of severity and can affect individuals in different ways.

These conditions impact an individual’s thinking, feeling, mood, and behaviour, significantly impairing their social, occupational, or other important activities. Below are some common examples of mental health problems:

1. Depression


  • Persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or deciding
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Example: An individual who was once very social and active avoids social activities, experiences severe sadness for weeks, and has trouble getting out of bed or maintaining personal hygiene.

2. Anxiety Disorders


  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances


  • Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of daily life for at least six months.
  • Panic Disorder: Recurrent, unexpected panic attacks characterised by heart palpitations, sweating, trembling, and feelings of impending doom.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Intense fear of social situations where the individual may be scrutinised by others.

3. Bipolar Disorder


  • Extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression)
  • Mania may involve increased energy, reduced need for sleep, and risky behaviour
  • Depression may involve low energy, feelings of worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts.


  • Type 1 Bipolar Disorder: Involves recurrent episodes of severe mania and depression.
  • Type 2 Bipolar Disorder: Involves a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic episodes.

4. Schizophrenia


  • Hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t there)
  • Delusions (false beliefs)
  • Disorganised thinking and speech
  • Social withdrawal
  • Impaired ability to function in daily life

Example: An individual who believes they are being persecuted by a secret organisation, hears voices that command them to take certain actions, and withdraws from family and friends because of these beliefs.

5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


  • Obsessions: Repeated, persistent, and unwanted thoughts causing distress or anxiety
  • Compulsions: Repetitive behaviours or mental acts that an individual feels driven to perform in response to an obsession

Example: An individual who has an obsession with germs and cleanliness may wash their hands excessively throughout the day, even causing their skin to crack and bleed.

6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


  • Intrusive memories or flashbacks of a traumatic event
  • Avoidance of reminders of the trauma
  • Negative changes in thinking and mood (e.g., feelings of detachment, guilt, or shame)
  • Changes in physical and emotional reactions (e.g., being easily startled, having difficulty sleeping)

Example: A war veteran experiencing flashbacks of combat, avoiding places that remind them of the trauma, and displaying heightened anxiety and hypervigilance.

7. Eating Disorders


  • Severe disturbances in eating behaviours
  • Preoccupation with food, body weight, and shape
  • Potential physical health complications


  • Anorexia Nervosa: Extreme restriction of food intake, fear of gaining weight, and a distorted body image.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: Episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours, such as vomiting, excessive exercise, or misuse of laxatives.

8. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)


  • Intense and unstable relationships
  • Impulsive and often self-destructive behaviours
  • Severe mood swings
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Distorted self-image

Example: An individual who frequently alternates between admiration and devaluation of friends or partners, experiences extreme mood swings, and may engage in risky behaviours like substance abuse.

9. Postpartum Depression


  • Depression that occurs after childbirth
  • Severe mood swings, fatigue, and a sense of inadequacy
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Changes in sleep and appetite

Example: A new mother who feels overwhelmingly sad or hopeless, has little interest in the baby, and experiences severe fatigue and anxiety over her ability to care for the child.


Recognising and understanding the diversity of mental health problems is essential for anyone involved in health and social care.

Each condition has unique characteristics, but all require compassion, appropriate intervention, and, often, professional support.

By being informed and observant, workers can make a significant positive impact on the mental health and well-being of those affected.

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