Per Johns Hopkins Medical, mental health disorders account for several of the top causes of disability in established market economies, such as the U.S. This includes major depression (clinical depression), manic depression (bi-polar disorder), schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Additionally, an estimated 26% of Americans (age 18 and up), suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder each year. That is 1 in 4 adults. Thus, a focus on adult mental health is vital.
What exactly does mental health mean?
Mental health refers to emotional, psychological, and social wellness. It affects:
- Cognition (how we think)
- Perception (how we feel)
- Behavior (how we act)
Throughout life, maintaining good mental health is vital to wellness. While many people commonly associate health with physical well-being, mental health is equally important. In fact, the two are tied together as they impact one another.
How can this be?
WebMD describes a study which found that positive psychological well-being can decrease the risks of heart attacks and strokes. The CDC shares that the presence of chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart problems, and strokes can increase the risk of mental unwellness. Moreover, poor mental health can lead to harmful behaviors. For example, smoking, drinking, and drug addiction results in poor physical health. Therefore, it’s all inner-connected.
Some good news:
It’s comforting to know that people have the power to prioritize mental and physical health. For mental health, it is important to do the following:
- Cases of untreated mental problems may get worse and/or take a negative toll on the body. Thus, anyone experiencing problems related to mental health should see a qualified doctor. Understand that mental health issues are common, and a good doctor will remain unjudgmental. A medical doctor will examine and monitor the patient and provide therapies and/or other treatment options. They may also offer health and lifestyle recommendations, provide helpful resources, and/or refer the patient to a specialist.
- Practice self-care. This means carving out time for yourself to improve upon mental health. It involves setting goals and prioritizing what’s important. Many people find enjoyment by setting aside quiet time for themselves to relax. For some, it may take on the form of soulful meditation. For others, reading a book, taking a walk surrounded by nature, journaling, or simply saying no to someone’s demands. Regardless of the activity, the objective is to turn off outside noise and drama and focus on being at peace. One may wish to create a list of things to be grateful for in order to maintain positivity.
- Reach out to trusted family members, friends, or religious leaders who can provide emotional support or offer help during periods of difficulty. Also, seek out educational resources for tips to talking with a healthcare provider about mental health. Should you be in crisis or are experiencing negative thoughts of suicide, immediately call or text 988 to reach the crisis lifeline, a free and confidential service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Visit 988lifeline.org for more information.
Some basic things one can do to take care of the body can have a positive effect on the mind. Here are some examples:
- Eating a healthy diet full of nutritious fruits and vegetables and avoiding or limiting unhealthy processed foods high in sugar, fats, salt, and chemicals.
- Exercising regularly to stay physically fit. Exercise can be formal (attending a gym/class) or less formal (hiking a mountain or walking in the park). The key is to keep the body moving.
- Gaining adequate sleep and addressing sleep issues such as insomnia, sleep arena, and irregular sleep patterns.
- Managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, heart conditions, arthritis, and more.
- Avoiding poor behaviors such as smoking, excessive drinking, and drug addiction.
Dialoging with a medical doctor for physical evaluation and to determine more ways to be healthy.
Mental health issues are real:
Mental health issues are common and nothing to be ashamed of. Fortunately, the tide has turned on stigmas that were once associated with cases of mental unwellness. Disorders that affect mood, thinking, and behavior should be promptly and medically addressed. To ignore symptoms may lead to the worsening of one’s condition and may put the health of individuals at risk. Due to the interconnectivity of physical and mental wellbeing, and vice-versa, it’s best to stay healthy on all fronts by being proactive when it comes to taking care of one’s health. For these reasons and more, a focus on adult mental health is essential.
To read some life lessons for women that relate to self-discovery, happiness, and well-being, click here.
This article is purely informational and is not intended as a medical resource or substitute for medical advice.