Mental health and illness are difficult subjects to talk about for many people. Not only is the stigma still around for some, but taking in information can be overwhelming. There are also issues surrounding access to therapy and referrals through the NHS—people struggle to get their burning questions answered.
Luckily, there is now a platform that looks to address this. Just Ask A Question (JAAQ) is a mental health platform that has answered 30,000 questions in 60 countries. The site is free-to-use, online and offers an immediate response to questions about different mental health conditions such as psychosis, body dysmorphia and depression.
According to JAAQ, 64% of users are between 25 and 54—26% of those using the site are aged between 25 and 34. Depression is the most looked-at topic on the platform, with people asking questions such as “What kind of lifestyle changes will help with my depression symptoms?” Questions are answered by people such as David Harewood, Dr. Erin Tiner, Alistair Campbell and Professor Paul Gilbert OBE.
The platform was launched by Danny Gray, who has lived with body dysmorphia for over 20 years
and as a result founded War Paint for Men, the world’s first men’s makeup brand. Already users
have been able to ask him questions such as “How long have you suffered with body dysmorphia?”
and “What does it feel like to have body dysmorphia?” while subject expert, Professor David Veale
has given advice to people on the symptoms of body dysmorphia and treatments available.
What Are The Most Asked Questions On Mental Health?
We asked JAAQ what the most asked questions on their site were and they provided the following:
- What is depression?
- What is psychosis?
- What is BDD? Prof. David Veale
- How do I know if I have depression?
- What kind of lifestyle changes will help with my depression symptoms?
- What are some of the different types of depression?
- How do you cope with your depression?
- What does it feel like to have depression?
Across the world, 1 in 4 people are affected by mental health issues. Half of mental ill health starts by age 15 and 75% develop by the age of 18. According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 25% of people with mental health problems have to wait at least three months to start NHS treatment—some do not get help for four years.
Speaking on the platform’s launch, Gray says: “Knowing we’re reaching people around the world with information and advice they would be waiting months to get from health experts is incredible, but there’s still lots to be done. Our vision for JAAQ is to change the world of mental health, one question at a time and we’re already looking to add OCD, anxiety, eating disorders and the impact that racism can have on mental health to the platform.
“We simply want to provide accurate information to individuals and the people close to them from the very beginning of their journey, in order to encourage them to reach out for help and potentially prevent them reaching crisis stage,” he explains.
What Is Depression?
According to the NHS, depression is a low mood that can last a long time or keep returning, affecting your everyday life. There are different types of depression include clinical, psychotic, post-natal and depression in children and young people.
Symptoms of depression can be psychological, physical and social. These can include:
- continuous low mood or sadness
- feeling hopeless and helpless
- having low self-esteem
- irritable and intolerant of others
- having no motivation or interest in things
- finding it difficult to make decisions
- not getting any enjoyment out of life
- feeling anxious or worried
- having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself
- moving or speaking more slowly than usual
- changes in appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased)
- unexplained aches and pains
- lack of energy
- low sex drive (loss of libido)
- changes to your menstrual cycle
- disturbed sleep, such as finding it difficult to fall asleep at night or waking up very early in the morning
- avoiding contact with friends and taking part in fewer social activities
- neglecting your hobbies and interests
- having difficulties in your home, work or family life
If you’re having any of these symptoms for most of the day, every day for over two weeks, speak to your GP.
If you need support and you’re in the UK, you can also contact the mental health charity, Mind by calling 0300 123 3393 or by visiting www.mind.org.uk or Samaritans by calling or by calling 116 123 (free, day or night, 365 days a year) or by visiting www.samaritans.org.
If you need support and you’re in the US, you also can contact Mental Health America by calling 1-800-985-5990 or by visiting www.mhanational.org.