Mental health is one of the most pressing concerns affecting adults, teenagers, and children in the United States today. People with mental health conditions may be in your home, neighborhood, or your children’s school. It may be affecting a family member, a co-worker, or a random person sitting next to you on the subway.
According to the World Health Organization, “there is no health without mental health”. However, due to the taboo associated with mental illness and mental health as a whole, only half or less than half of those affected receive treatment.
Untreated mental health problems can result in poor academic and employment performance, fewer career opportunities, and a higher risk of self-harm.
What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It has an impact on our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In addition, it can influence the way we cope with stress, our interaction with others, and our decision-making. Mental health is important in all stages of a person’s life, from birth to adulthood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Mental Health (under the National Institutes of Health), poor mental health and mental illnesses aren’t the same thing.
Although the phrases are often used interchangeably, they have different meanings. It’s possible for an individual to have poor mental health without getting diagnosed with a mental illness.
If you’re experiencing mental health issues, your thinking, mood, and behavior may have changed over the course of your life. Many variables have an impact on mental health, including but not limited to the following:
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- Effect of chronic conditions, such as cancer and diabetes
- Trauma or abuse
- Alcohol or drug abuse
Why is mental health important?
According to the CDC, both mental and physical health are necessary aspects to achieve overall well-being. Depression, for example, raises the risk of a number of physical health issues, especially long-term diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. In the same way, the presence of serious diseases can raise the risk of mental illness.
Signs of poor mental health
Here are some of the signs of poor mental health in the early stage of life:
- Trouble concentrating
- Easily distracted
- Worried about anything
- Having trouble making judgments
- Lack of interest in day-to-day activities
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Sleeping problems
- Eating disorders
- Avoiding social activities and talking less
- Rapid talking, bouncing between themes and ideas
- Have trouble controlling emotions
- Impatience and short temper
- Violent episodes
Care and treatment
It’s essential to look after yourself in order to get the most out of life. Every once in a while, we should be mindful of our mental health, especially during stressful situations.
Making little improvements to your lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are some easy tips to help you take care of your mental health:
- Don’t hesitate to seek help, assistance, or advice when you need it. Ask for help if circumstances are so difficult that you feel you can’t handle it anymore.
- Discuss your feelings. Talking about your feelings can help you maintain excellent mental health and cope with difficult situations. Remember that opening up doesn’t mean you’re weak. It’s just another way of keeping ourselves mentally healthy.
- Eat healthy and nutritious food. There are significant correlations between what we eat and how we feel. Caffeine and sugar, for example, can have an instant impact. Your brain, like the rest of your body, needs a variety of nutrients to stay healthy and function properly.
- Stay connected with family and friends because strong relations and support can help you deal with life’s pressures. They can make you feel included and cared for. They could provide a different perspective than what’s going on within your thoughts.
- A change of scenery can help improve your mental health. It may be a short break from a busy city, a half-hour tea break at work, or a weekend spent discovering new places. This can help you handle stress and to know and understand more about who we are.
Self-checking is not bad at all. It’s essential in making sure that our mental health is well taken care of. We’ve gathered a couple of tips from MentalHealth.Gov, a website under the Department of Health and Human Services, to achieve a positive mental state:
- If you require expert assistance, get some.
- Connect with other people
- Keep an optimistic attitude
- Increase your physical activity
- Get adequate rest
- Develop coping skills
Seek professional help
If your mental health progresses into a mental illness, consult a healthcare professional. According to the CDC, there are different types of mental illnesses or disorders that can affect people. Sometimes, they happen unexpectedly or when a particular incident triggers them.
Mental illnesses can be recurrent or persistent over a short period of time or maybe longer. They have distinct beginnings and endings. But with proper care and treatment, it can be reduced and managed. When the mind is healthy, the rest of the body follows.