We’re all familiar with what we should do to improve our physical health. We know that it’s important to exercise, eat right and get enough sleep to keep our bodies healthy. But did you know that your mental health is just as critical for your overall well-being?
Just as you take steps to protect your physical health, you can also make an effort to safeguard your mental health. Learning to recognize the warning signs is an important first step. Millions of Americans are dealing with mental health issues. It’s OK to seek help.
Mental health issues have become even more common because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s normal to feel anxious during a health crisis like this. Here are some helpful ways to deal with your stress.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,* mental health can affect how we feel, the choices we make, and how we relate to friends and family. It impacts our physical health, too. Mental health problems can put us at greater risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Overcoming the Stigma
People are sometimes embarrassed to seek help for their mental health. Luckily, that stigma is fading as more people realize the importance of mental health.
If you are facing a mental health issue, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
The first step is to notice the signs of a potential concern. Here are just a few common symptoms from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services*:
- Extreme worry or feelings of fear
- Lack of interest in usual activities
- Confusion, forgetfulness or difficulty focusing
- Mood swings
- Feelings of anger
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns, energy levels or social habits
Thoughts of suicide often come along with mental health issues. Sadly, suicide is all too common in the United States. For Americans between ages 15 and 34, suicide is the second-leading cause of death. Overall, it’s the 10th-leading cause of death.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, take it seriously and respond quickly. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Reach Out for Help
There is no “one-size-fits-all” mental health treatment, but help is available! Talk to your doctor about next steps.
Here are some other helpful resources:
- In an emergency, call 911
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline*: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness* helpline: 800-950-NAMI (6264) or, in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741-741
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration* Treatment Referral Helpline: 877-726-4727
*The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration are independent organizations that offer health information you may find helpful.
Nurture Your Mental Health Infographic
Nurture Your Mental Health Flyer