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How is your mental health?

How is your mental health?

Diane Roberts Stoler Ed.D.

The Resilient Brain

How is Your Mental Health?

One in five adults experiences mental illness. Isn’t it time we talk about it?

Posted May 24, 2022, |

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it offers an opportunity to increase awareness about mental illness and mental health conditions, and to provide information about what you can do if mental health is a cause for concern for you or a loved one. Together, we can replace the stigma surrounding mental illness with hope.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health refers to our social and emotional well-being. Mental health impacts how we think, feel, and behave. It plays a role in connecting with others, making decisions, handling stress, and many other aspects of daily life. Everyone has mental health, and it deserves just as much attention as physical health does.

About Mental Health

Throughout life, there will be times when your mental health may suffer from any number of reasons, including insomnia, poor nutrition, stress, unhealthy relationships, loss, and trauma. You can have periods of poor mental health without having a diagnosable condition—just like you can be physically unhealthy without having a particular illness. Short-lived symptoms can be a result of situational events and circumstances. However, if you have been suffering from your symptoms for over a year or more, it is important to seek help.

  • 1 in 5 U.K. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 25 U.K. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U.K. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34.
    (If you feel you are in immediate danger of harming yourself, call Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or 911 immediately)

What is a Mental Health Condition?

A mental health condition, or mental illness, is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behaviors. Types of mental health conditions include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, learning disabilities, phobias, and borderline personality disorder—just to name a few.

Early identification and treatment can make a big difference in successfully treating and managing a condition. For example, major depression is a mood disorder that is more serious than “feeling blue” or temporary sadness. The following are some of the signs and symptoms to be aware of:

  • Depressed mood (sadness)                                
  • Poor concentration
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Disturbance of appetite
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide

Whether you have a mental illness or are experiencing a time of not “feeling like yourself,” it is important to know that you can get better. Talk to a trusted family member, friend, or co-worker; or a professional, such as a doctor, mental health counselor, or social worker about how you are feeling.

How Does Mental Health Affect You?

Do you feel as if your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors have changed, or something is preventing you from functioning normally? Are you having trouble concentrating or staying focused? Do you find yourself overthinking? Are you tired all the time? Do you have problems sleeping? Do you binge eat or have a loss of appetite? Has the COVID pandemic left you feeling sad, down, or utterly exhausted? All these factors can affect your mental health and impact your productivity at work or school.

Ways to Improve Mental Health

  • Talk: to a friend, a family member, a doctor, or a therapist. Don’t suffer in silence. Help is available.
  • Practice stress management: learn to meditate, try yoga, go for a walk, garden, or take a vacation.
  • Take care of yourself: get proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, and socialization.
  • Take a break from the news and/or social media.
  • Set boundaries: whether it is at home, at work, or within your social circle, learn to say “no” and prioritize your needs to avoid being stretched too thin or risk burnout.

Traditional, Alternative, and Complementary Treatment Methods

  • Acupuncture
  • Aroma Therapy
  • Neurofeedback/Biofeedback
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or Talk Therapy                         
  • Cranial Electro Stimulation (CES)
  • Energy Work (Reiki, Polarity, Quantum Touch)
  • Eye Movement Desensitization
  • Massage
  • Medication ( before using any medication, prescribed or over the counter, please consider their side effects and how they may affect you. Before taking any medication, discuss your medical history with your PCP or licensed provider and ask about drug interactions).

Help Spread Awareness – What can you do?

Common misconceptions often prevent people from seeking the help they need. Did you know that, on average, a person who suffers from a mental health-related illness waits at least a decade before seeking the necessary treatment because of the stigma surrounding mental health? Why is it that individuals who are suffering from suicidal thoughts are ashamed to come forward and seek help when they need it most? How many more lives must we lose to mental health-related illnesses before we start viewing them for what they are: Illnesses.

One of the most important things you can do to raise awareness about mental health is to talk about it. Normalizing conversations about mental health is an important part of eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health conditions, and this will encourage sufferers to seek help.

Check up on your family members, co-workers, and friends. Sometimes people just need to feel they are not alone. Even if you are not sure what to say, just being there to listen or to be a shoulder to cry on can bring comfort.

Mental health awareness should not apply only to adults. Children also suffer from mental health problems. Anxiety and depression are among the most diagnosed mental disorders in children. About 75 percent of children diagnosed with depression also have anxiety.

Do you know someone who may be considering suicide?

Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide. For people with severe depression, it is not uncommon to think about suicide. What you should know if you are worried about someone:

  • Suicides are preventable.
  • It is okay to talk about suicide.
  • Asking about suicide does not provoke the act of suicide, it often reduces anxiety and helps people feel understood.
  • Encourage the person to seek help from a professional. Help them find a professional to see, and offer to accompany them to an appointment.
  • If you think the person is in immediate danger, do not leave him or her alone. Seek help from emergency service, a crisis line, or healthcare professional. Stay in touch to check how the person is doing.

Now, more than ever, we need to keep the conversations going and remind everyone that it is okay not to feel okay. There is help. There is hope. There is a way

If you feel you need to talk to a counsellor about your mental health then call us on 01483 602998 or email appointmens@relatewestsurrey.org.uk. Check out our website for more information.