Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act and helps us determine how we deal with stress, relate to others and make decisions.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood. During life, if you live psychological problemsit could affect your thinking, mood and behavior.
Mental health conditions
Mental illnesses are disorders, ranging from mild to severe, that affect a person’s thinking, mood and/or behavior. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults lives with a mental illness.
Many factors contribute to mental health conditions, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma misuse of gold
- Mental health problems in the family
Some mental health topics include:
Serious mental illness (SMI) is a mental illness that interferes with a person’s life and ability to function. Despite common misperceptions, having SMI is not a choice, a weakness, or a character flaw. It is not something that just “goes away” or that can be “snapped” by force of will.
Early warning signs and symptoms
Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health issues? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawal from people and usual activities
- Low or no energy
- Feeling numb or as if nothing matters
- Having unexplained pain
- A feeling of helplessness or hopelessness
- Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
- You feel unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried or scared
- Yelling or arguing with family and friends
- You experience severe mood swings that cause relationship problems
- Having persistent thoughts and memories that you can’t get out of your head
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking about hurting yourself or others
- Inability to perform everyday tasks such as taking care of children or going to work or school
Do you think someone you know might have a mental health problem? Speaking of mental health it can be difficult. Learn more about common myths and facts about mental health and read about ways that can help you start the conversation.
Mental health conditions can make it difficult to work, attend school, keep a regular schedule, have healthy relationships, socialize, maintain hygiene, and much more.
However, with early and consistent treatment—often a combination of medication and psychotherapy—it is possible to manage these conditions, overcome challenges, and lead a meaningful, productive life.
Today, there are new tools, evidence-based treatments, and social support systems to help people feel better and pursue their goals. Some of these tips, tools and strategies include:
- Stick to your treatment plan. Even if you feel better, do not stop going to therapy or taking medication without your doctor’s advice. Work with your doctor to safely adjust doses or medications if necessary to continue your treatment plan.
- Keep your primary care physician informed. Primary care physicians are an important part of long-term treatment, even if you also see a psychiatrist.
- Learn more about the condition. Education can help you stick to your treatment plan. Education can also help your loved ones be more supportive and compassionate.
- Practice good self-care. Control stress with activities such as meditation or tai chi; eat healthy and exercise; and get enough sleep.
- Reach out to family and friends. Maintaining relationships with others is important. In crisis or difficult times, turn to them for support and help.
- Develop coping skills. Establishing a healthy coping skills can help people cope with stress more easily.
- Get enough sleep. A good night’s sleep improves your brain, mood and overall health. Consistently poor sleep is linked to anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions.