Did you know that it is widely accepted that we are all only born with two real fears?

They are the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. All the other fears we may have are things we develop, or things we learn as we go through life.

Some fears are good, they are what keep us alert and alive. For example, when we are very young we may find a seventh storey balcony in a holiday apartment as something novel and attractive.

Something we might want to look over without feeling too much fear. As we get older we may have learnt to treat such things with more caution, and that is probably a sensible thing to do.

Problems arise when we move from being cautious of the things we learn about – to having severely irrational fears and phobias.

This can really start to affect our quality of life and of course our mental well-being.

Some severe phobias may stem from something we have either experienced or witnessed when we were younger.

When fears become irrational, when they perhaps prevent us from leaving the house or from doing other things which are necessary for us to function and enjoy our daily lives; they can become a serious issue.

While these fears may seem completely irrational to someone on the outside, to the person experiencing them they are very real.

The good news is that phobias are things we have learnt; meaning we can ‘un-learn’ them, so people who suffer with phobias can be helped.

Even though the NHS here in the UK is under incredible strain at the moment, if you have a phobia which is affecting your life to the point of not being able to leave your home or not being able to function properly in your day-to-day life, your first port of call should be your GP.

They can help you to obtain help in ways you may not have thought about. For example people with a fear of leaving home may be offered online CBT via the NHS which is a type of therapy that can help you to challenge thoughts and feelings which are bad for you.

You can actually be treated online at home for the fear of leaving home.

Other types of therapy can involve gradual exposure, where a person with a specific phobia is routinely exposed to slowly increasing amounts of whatever it is they are frightened of.

Your GP can also advise about other types of therapy such as clinical hypnotherapy which can reduce stress and anxiety and in turn reduce fears and even alter how you think about the things which you are frightened of.

In some cases it may be something that your doctor feels they may wish to treat with medication.

Quite often when people are struggling in some way with their mental health the most difficult thing to do is to take that first step and talk about it. Please talk to them.

If you are in any type of mental health crisis: Call your GP, go to A&E, call the Samaritans on 116 123 or text shout to 85258.