“Suck it up,” “cheer up,” “snap out of it,” “but you don’t look sick”- these are just some of the phrases that well-meaning friends and family tell loved ones struggling with mental health issues. Research shows that one in five adults struggle with mental health conditions. Mental health struggles include depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, and eating disorders.
Mental illness is also becoming increasingly common among teenagers; studies indicate that approximately one in five teens between ages twelve and eighteen are diagnosed with a mental health disorder. These issues deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others. When your mental health suffers, everything in your life will suffer as a result.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
The fact is, a mental illness is a disorder of the brain – your body’s most important organ. Like most diseases of the body, mental illness has many causes – from genetics to other biological, environmental and social/cultural factors. And just as with most diseases, mental illnesses are no one’s fault. For many people, recovery – including having meaningful roles in social life, work and school – is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.
What Are the Warning Signs?
Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness can include the following:
What Are Some Things You Can Do to Look After Your Mental Health?
Mental health is undoubtedly just as integral as physical health but it’s something that we often don’t prioritize. We all experience times when we feel stressed or overwhelmed but if these feelings persist, it’s time to slow down and re-evaluate your mental wellbeing.
Most people are afraid to ask for help, but seeking help is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please reach out to a local mental health professional.