By Danielle Fritze
This Mental Health Month, we’re going back to basics. After two years existing in a pandemic, many people are realizing that stress, isolation, and uncertainty have taken a toll on their well-being. This May, we aim to provide foundational knowledge about mental health and mental health conditions for people who might be experiencing symptoms for the first time. The basics can also serve as a good refresher for everyone – while 1 in 5 of us will meet the requirements for a diagnosable mental health condition in a given year, 5 in 5 of us have mental health.
Here are a few basics to start with:
Not everyone experiences the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions in the same way. It is important to have a sense of how you feel when your mental health is in a good place so you can notice early if things start to change. Take a moment to think about a time when you felt good about your life. What kinds of friendships did you have? What kind of work were you doing? What hobbies did you enjoy? What did your eating, exercise, and sleep routines look like?
Act if You Need Help
We all have tough days and weeks, and struggling with your mental health doesn’t automatically mean you have a mental health condition. However, if you experience changes in your thinking and emotions that seriously hurt your ability to do the things you want to do, especially over a long period of weeks or months, then it is time to get help.
Screen for Mental Health Conditions
A screen is a quick, free, and confidential way to determine if you might be experiencing signs of a mental health condition. A screening only takes a few minutes, and after you are finished you will be given information about the next steps you should take based on the results. A screening is not a diagnosis, but it can be a helpful tool for starting a conversation with your doctor or a loved one about your mental health. Visit mhascreening.org to get started.
Mental health deserves your attention just as much as your physical health does. Learning about the factors that affect mental health and the warning signs of different mental health conditions can help you catch problems early and take action. It’s also important to be up to speed about different types of treatment options as you seek help to improve your well-being.
Coping Skills are Key
Coping skills are ways to help you deal with difficult feelings. It’s important to figure out which coping skills work best for you and practice them often so that you’re better able to handle tough times when they happen. Not sure where to start? MHA can help. Learn about building your coping toolbox.
If your mental health is suffering, you may feel alone, but you are not alone.. Chances are that someone you know has also had a mental health concern at some point. Talking about your mental health struggles to someone you trust can be a great relief and helps you build a support system. Check out these tips for starting a conversation.
Extra Tip: Check Out Our Mental Health Month Toolkit
Learn more about mental health by downloading our Back to Basics toolkit during Mental Health Month.
Danielle Fritze is the Vice President of Public Education and Design at Mental Health America.