Blood pressure, temperature, height, and weight – our doctor might have files with our measurements dating back years. But how regularly do you check in with your mental health? As Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, September can serve as a reminder to stay in touch with your emotional well-being. For peace of mind, ensure mental health becomes a part of your healthcare routine.
Mental health includes many aspects of our well-being: it’s our emotional, psychological, and social landscape, affecting how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we react to stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Though it’s partially dependent upon biological factors like family history, the state of your mental health isn’t set in stone and can change over time as your life circumstances do. Your mental health can even affect your physical health – the two are closely intertwined. Poor mental health and mood disorders can actually raise your risk for conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
If you experience problems with your mental health, you’re not alone. Mental illness is common – more than 50% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime. Depression, anxiety, and attention-related disorders are some of the most common, but this umbrella includes conditions like eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia. However, mental illness and poor mental health aren’t the same thing – you don’t need an official diagnosis to take proactive care of your mental health.
One event usually doesn’t spur on a period of poor mental health, but certain experiences like these can put you more at risk:
Many of these experiences can lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation, which compound existing levels of depression and anxiety.
If over the past two weeks, you have experienced any of the following symptoms, it might be time for a mental health check:
To learn more about symptoms that sound familiar to you as well as what sort of diagnosis you may receive from a doctor, you may benefit from a screening for various mental illnesses.
Though we can’t always control what triggers periods of poor mental health, we can develop strategies and coping mechanisms to maintain a baseline of healthy behaviors.
Successful mental health management looks different for everyone, and it isn’t easy – most of these strategies require practice, and they usually involve leaving our comfort zones. Ultimately, though, experimenting with these practices will help you understand yourself on a deeper level and figure out what works best for your health.
Whether you are experiencing a period of difficulty with mental health or have a diagnosed condition, know that recovery is possible and that mental illness is no one’s fault. Your healthcare providers and support networks are here to help.
Riverside Medical Clinic’s Health and Wellness Care Team can provide you with confidential mental health care during in-person or phone counseling sessions. Reach out to our team here, and remember you are not alone.
If you are struggling with self-harm, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1‑800‑273‑TALK (8255), or text HELLO to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line. All communications are confidential. For emergencies, call 911.