In all respects, taking good care of your mental health is an important step to having an enjoyable life. However, many people do not fully understand their mental health, nor do they fully grasp how vital it can be to take care of it. Unmonitored mental health issues can promote a vast collection of issues that can be detrimental to the individual. Below is a closer look at mental health and its importance, common misconceptions associated with mental health and more.
What Is Mental Health?
Mental health is the health of your psychological, social and emotional well-being. Your mental health influences everything from how you feel and think to how you act, interact with others and handle stress. Further, mental health never wanes in importance, regardless of age. Mental illness can be vital to a healthy state of being from the time you are a child or teen all the way to adulthood and later adult ages. A multitude of factors can affect mental health, including physical factors, interpersonal connections, emotional history and even genetics or the use of substances.
Mental Health Conditions
Mental health conditions and disorders can be anywhere from mild to severe. However, the conditions always affect an individual’s mood, behaviors and/or thought patterns. Roughly one in five adults in the U.S. are affected by a mental illness. A few mental health conditions include:
- Anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Antisocial personality disorder
Why Mental Health Is So Important
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. In fact, physical and mental health can be closely intertwined. For example, some mental illnesses elevate the risks of physical health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Likewise, some physical health conditions can heighten the risks for some types of mental illness.
Taking care of mental health is important for overall well-being because it has a drastic impact on your day-to-day life. Some issues can arise and change with age and time or with learned coping skills. However, many conditions require therapeutic intervention to some degree, or they can become detrimental to quality of life. In the case of severe mental illness, the condition can even be life-threatening.
Common Misconceptions Surrounding Mental Health
Misconception: Only certain people from certain backgrounds develop a mental health condition.
Mental health disorders are not selective. People from all socio-economic backgrounds, genders, races, intelligence levels and childhood histories can be affected.
Misconception: People who have mental illnesses are weak.
Mental health conditions can affect even the most emotionally resilient people. These conditions are not a sign of a basic lack of willpower or mental motivation.
Misconception: Individuals diagnosed with mental health conditions are dangerous.
Only about 5% of violent crimes are committed by individuals with mental health conditions, even though people are quick to parade the “mentally ill” designation during publicized events. Most people with mental illness are not violent or dangerous.
Misconception: Those who have mental health conditions cannot live an ordinary life.
Some mental health condition symptoms can interfere with certain aspects of life, including jobs and relationships. However, those diagnosed with a mental health condition can live an ordinary existence, especially with the right support system and suitable treatment in place.
Misconception: Children and teens cannot have mental health issues.
People of all ages can have mental health issues. Teens are prone to being overlooked when it comes to mental health. Symptoms are easily disregarded as age-related mood swings.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Taking good care of your mind requires an ongoing effort, just as taking care of your body does. A few ways you can concentrate on supporting good mental health include:
- Living a lifestyle that facilitates mental wellness
- Developing a strong social support network with friends and family
- Learning coping skills to deal with stress and anxiety
- Practicing good self-care habits
- Seeking help from a mental health professional for therapy or medication as needed
Good Mental Health Is the Foundation for a Good Life
A large number of people struggle with mental health, but many never reach out to a mental health facility in Arizona or otherwise when they need it. If you are concerned about your mental health, talk to your primary care physician or a mental health professional for advice.