The Importance of Mental Health
Mental health is defined as our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. Basically, mental health refers to how we think, feel, and act. Mental health is an important part of our lives and our overall wellbeing at any age. It impacts how we deal with stress and the decisions we make in our lives.
If experiencing mental health issues, our thoughts, moods, and behaviors can all be affected. Some examples of mental health illnesses or conditions are depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
Experiencing mental health problems is very common and there is help available. In fact, many people who experience a mental health problem are able to fully recover.
Why is Mental Health Important?
Mental and physical wellbeing are equally important to our overall health and wellness. It is important to take care of our mental health because experiencing problems in this area can affect all areas of our lives, including our physical health, relationships, career, and finances. For instance, research shows that mental illness can contribute to stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Achieving and maintaining positive mental health and wellness allows us to reach our potential in our personal and professional lives, cope with the stresses of life, build lasting relationships, and contribute to the overall wellness of our communities.
On the other hand, when our mental health is not at its best, we may retreat from the people and responsibilities in our lives, experience physical symptoms and unexplained pains, sleep too much or too little, and feel anxious, nervous, or scared.
Taking care of your mental health is important, and there are many things that you can do to ensure recovery if you are experiencing any problems.
What to Do if Experiencing Mental Health Problems
If you or someone you know are experiencing some of the feelings and behaviors listed below, it may be time to look into what you can do when experiencing mental health problems.
- Changes in eating and sleeping (eating too much or too little, sleeping too much or unable to sleep enough)
- Withdrawing from the people in your life
- No longer finding interest in things you once enjoyed
- Feeling confused, forgetful, angry, upset, or on edge more than usual
- Feeling anxious, worried or scared more than usual
- Hearing voices
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
Someone experiencing a mental health problem may not have all of the symptoms listed above, or may exhibit some behaviors and moods that are not listed here. If you, or someone you know, are experiencing any of the behaviors or moods listed above and want to improve your mental health, there are several things that you can do.
There are many resources available to you, including calling a hotline, speaking to your medical doctor, or finding a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist. Working with a professional to create a recovery plan can help someone struggling with a mental health problem to lead a self-directed life that feels meaningful and fulfilling. Often recovery will include counseling, therapy, group sessions, or medication, or a combination of these.
Achieve and Maintain Mental Health Wellness
To achieve and maintain mental health wellness, there are several things that we can do and commit to habit to help:
- Sleep – make sure to get enough sleep. The actual amount can be different for everyone, but aim for 6 to 8 hours a night.
- Food — eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables so that your mind and body can get all of the vitamins they need.
- Get Outside – Being physically active, getting fresh air, and taking in plenty of sunlight can go a long way in maintaining mental wellness.
- Connect with Others – Developing and maintaining personal relationships and connecting with others can create a support network for long-term wellness.
- Coping Skills – By understanding what triggers your stress, anxiety, or sadness and developing skills in coping with daily stressors, you can maintain mental wellness despite life’s ups and downs.
Mental health is an important contributor to your overall wellness, physical health, relationships, and career. Maintaining your mental wellness can help you lead a self-directed life filled with purpose and meaning. If you are experiencing mental health problems, you can find help by talking to a counselor.