Your Mental Health Matters
For some, getting an annual physical, stepping on the scale, tracking how much water we drink or logging meals in an app are part of what we do to monitor our health and maintain healthy behaviors. But what do we do to check on or maintain good mental health?
Your mental health matters, too. Just like physical health, mental health is an important part of your overall well-being. Mental health conditions are medical conditions that affect how you think, feel and act.
Mental health conditions are common. Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness. There are many things that contribute to mental health conditions, including biological factors (such as genes, physical illness, injury or brain chemistry), life experiences (such as trauma or abuse), and family history of mental health conditions.
There are different types of mental health conditions, including:
- Anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders and phobias.
- Behavioral disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
- Eating disorders.
- Substance use disorders.
- Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder.
- Personality disorders, such as antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.
- Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.
- Suicidal behavior.
- Trauma and stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Fortunately, help is available. People with mental health conditions can get better. Treatment and recovery are ongoing processes that vary by diagnosis and by person. Treatment options can include medication, counseling, social support and education.
Know the Warning Signs
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a person’s normal behavior and what could be a sign of a mental health condition. Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs can include:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little.
- Pulling away from people and usual activities.
- Having low or no energy.
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters.
- Having unexplained aches and pains.
- Feeling helpless or hopeless.
- Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual.
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried or scared.
- Yelling at or fighting with family and friends.
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships.
- Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head.
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true.
- Thinking of harming yourself or others.
- The inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school.
How to Get Help
If you think you may be experiencing a mental health condition, the first step is asking for help. Reaching out can be scary, but it can save your life. Know that you are not alone.
Talk to your primary care provider or another health professional about your mental health concerns. Ask them to connect you with the right mental health services.
For those who do not have a health professional who can help, there are other resources.
- Emergency Medical Services: 911. If the situation is potentially life-threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255). If you or someone you know is suicidal or in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which offers crisis counseling and mental health referrals.
Being in good mental health allows us to feel our best and cope with the stresses of life. Remember to regularly check on your mental health. Because your mental health matters.