Mental Health and Everyday Well-BeingMonday June 24, 2019
When striving to live a healthy lifestyle, you might focus on your diet or try to add more exercise into your routine. Or maybe your focus is more on being spiritually fit or increasing your emotional strength? One area not to neglect, however, is our mental health. Without commitment to our mental health, we could potentially experience obstacles physically, emotionally, spiritually or psychologically.
Mental health awareness, support, education and treatment is vital for us to thrive as human beings. Our mental health doesn’t differentiate by gender, sexual identity, race, socioeconomic status, IQ, religion or age. We don’t choose to experience emotional difficulties. We experience life, and with life, we experience a multitude of emotions and adversities. Read on, as we further discuss the importance of mental health on our everyday well-being.
Mental health is a person’s condition regarding their psychological, social or emotional well-being. Genetics, environment, socioeconomic status, life events, social circumstances and previous choices and consequences all affect our well-being. Symptoms of poor mental health vary depending on circumstances. Having experienced psychological or emotional pain, you may experience depression, anxiety, phobias, thoughts of harming oneself or others, psychosis, aggression, appetite changes, sleep changes or low self-esteem.
Additionally, you could also experience somatic symptoms, which is best defined as physical pain or discomfort like headaches/migraines, digestive issues, nausea, high blood pressure, numbness and muscle tension. Somatic symptoms vary and can be difficult to treat if they’re masked by psychological issues or mistaken for other physical causes.
Benefits of Supporting Our Well-Being
Mental health affects daily living. Whether a person meets the criteria for a mental health diagnosis or not, we all experience emotions or feelings which are tied to our thoughts and actions. Supporting and being active in your mental health promotes overall wellness in your thoughts, feelings and behavior. Individuals who engage in counseling may experience benefits that include positive effects on development issues like speech-language and fine/gross motor skills, healing trauma, creating healthy attachments with others, learning coping skills, improving self-concept, empowerment, and managing symptoms of emotional disorders.
Positive Strategies for Home
Creating positive practices at home benefits the whole family and models healthy mental health practices for your children. This can include activities like exercising, gardening, playing with your pet, reading a book, journaling, meditating, or listening to music. While it can be difficult to find time to practice this, incorporating activities or strategies you enjoy is extremely important as you manage your mental health. Create a schedule or set an alarm to take time during your daily routine to focus on yourself.
Mental Health Stigma
Sometimes, it can be difficult to reach out for help. Although some may view seeking help as weak, it takes a lot of strength and courage. Just as it is important to seek a professional for medical needs, it’s just as valuable to seek a professional for your mental health needs. With education and understanding, we can normalize mental health and empower others to speak up and share their experience. Below are several facts on mental health in America.
- 8 million adults are affected by mental health within a given year
- 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year, with 1 in 25 adults experiencing severe limitations to one or more major life activities
- 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14; 75% by the age of 24
- Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24
- 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness
- The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years
Mental Health Myths
It’s unfortunate that many people have a lack of understanding, training or insight to mental health and the stigma that has surrounded it for many years. Below are common myths associated with mental health help and wellness.
A counselor can “fix” or “solve” me or my child’s problems.
Unfortunately, many have the misconception that a mental health professional “fixes” one’s problems. However, with encouragement, support and unconditional positive regard; a therapist strives to empower an individual as they learn skills, techniques and strategies to better manage their struggles. As a client gains new perspectives and skills that work for them, they can better manage issues that arise.
All who are treated for mental health are medicated.
Not all who are treated for mental health conditions are prescribed medication. Treatment varies for the individual, symptoms and diagnosis being treated.
Children don’t have mental health issues, they just need structure.
Consistency and structure are very important. Though, just like adults, children show signs or symptoms of behavioral, emotional or developmental issues, and often don’t have the ability to articulate or express themselves. Seeking an evaluation or consultation from a mental health professional can be helpful in determining whether services are necessary for a child.
I have people who are supportive of me. I don’t need to see a counselor.
Many of us seek support from friends, family members or coworkers. Often, they may give us advice, provide a listening ear, or help distract us from concerns. However, sometimes it may be difficult for our support network to not be biased or share opinions or judgment. Seeking a counselor provides you the opportunity to meet with a skilled, educated professional who holds a safe, judgment-free space as you learn and grow in your journey.
Mental Health Services at The Carruth Center
The Carruth Center at The Parish School provides mental health services for children, adolescents, adults and families, with sessions led by licensed mental health professionals and Registered Play Therapists. All services are accessible to the public, as well as The Parish School community, and include:
- Adult individual counseling
- Adult group therapy
- Children’s group therapy
- Play therapy
- Child-Parent Relationship Therapy
- Family therapy
National Alliance on Mental Illness: www.nami.org
Mental Health by The Numbers. (n.d.): https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers