Everyone goes through periods when their mental health suffers. These periods can happen when there is a loss, extreme stress or a changing relationship. When self-doubt, anxiety and unhealthy habits become part of daily life, it’s time to seek help.
The good news is that up to 90 percent of people who get professional help are able to greatly decrease symptoms and improve their quality of life, according to The Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness.
May is mental health month
At Health Net, we recognize mental health month because good mental health is just as important as good physical health. Mental Health America started this campaign 68 years ago to raise awareness about the various types of mental health conditions, and to show the importance of seeking care to sustain good mental health.
Stay educated on these statistics
- 1 in 5 U.S. adults will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
- Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in America. Some common anxiety disorders are: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, phobias and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- 75 percent of people with a mental health condition do not seek help. Waiting too long to seek treatment for a mental health condition can lead to a more difficult recovery.
Don’t delay treatment
The average delay between feeling symptoms and getting formal mental health care is 8 to 10 years. For most cases, that’s far too long. It is known that the stigma that surrounds mental illness, such as seeing mental health issues as a sign of weakness, is a barrier to getting care.
Stamp out the stigma
The reality is that dialogue about mental illness is either negative, not discussed or lacks empathy.
During Mental Health Month, every one of us can begin erasing the stigma by:
- Supporting others who are struggling emotionally
- Helping them to seek formal help beyond friends and family, while still being an important support system
- Researching the help a loved one might need, like assisting in driving to the appointment
Boost your brain health
Emotional stress can put strain on the brain. Some nutritionists and therapists say you can promote a healthy brain by:
- Eating a balanced diet: Include salmon, walnuts, beans, avocados, blueberries, and dark leafy greens (i.e. spinach and kale) in your diet.
- Exercising: A regular and balanced exercise routine can help boost and stabilize your mood. Talk to your doctor before you start an exercise routine.
- Balancing Internet usage: Find a balance between your online and offline time. If you think you spend too much time online, talk to a health professional.
- Using online tools: Health Net members can visit myStrength, a health hub for the mind that provides a range of mood-improving resources, including step-by-step eLearning modules, interactive tools, weekly action plans, self-help workbooks and more.
Educate, erase and encourage
Trying to make sense of your feelings without reaching out to others can be harmful to your mental wellbeing. Take notice of the symptoms in yourself and in those around you – and encourage treatment. By helping yourself and others, you help to improve the overall wellness of your community.
And, you just might save a life.