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May 2, 2023

Mental Health: What You Need to Know

The month of May is designated Mental Health Month, so now is the perfect time to open up the dialogue with yourself or those you love about this important subject. While there are moments in everyone’s life when they feel down or get the blues, mental health issues are different in their persistence and severity. Learning about mental health is an essential part of the recovery process that helps you gain more control of these feelings. Understanding more about mental health can also help you see the signs in those you love and help them get the assistance and care they need. Here we help you get started with a bit of information about this serious issue.

The purpose of Mental Health Month is to raise awareness and inspire people to get educated about the causes, signs, and treatments of mental health problems. It is also a day to learn about the effects mental health has on the lives of people around the globe. Going against the social stigma, this month is designed to bring people together and to help open up the important topics, including whether they need anxiety therapy or other treatments.

If you are having a mental health crisis, call or text 988. The 988 national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is a term used to describe how you are doing emotionally, psychologically, and socially. Your mental health affects your daily life, from how you act and how you feel to what you think about. Mental health also involves your responses to stressors and negative events in your life. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health because they both can have a significant impact on each other. Just as your brain is connected to the rest of your body, so is your mental well-being. If you stub your toe, your foot hurts and your brain reacts with an emotion like pain or frustration. When you are struggling with your mental health, you may notice your body is too. This can show up in a variety of ways, from low energy and lack of motivation for physical activity to stomach and bowel problems.

Mental health and mental illness are two different things. Your mental health refers to your mental well-being and is always with you, just like your physical health. You may be experiencing positive mental health, enjoying strong interpersonal connections, and managing your stress with healthy activities, or you may be struggling with your mental health, finding yourself easily frustrated, overly tired, or uninterested in spending time with others because you are stressed. A mental illness is a specific, diagnosable condition that significantly impacts your daily functioning. People may struggle with their mental health when a mental illness is present because the symptoms of the mental illness affect their mental well-being. Whether or not you have a mental illness, you will always have your mental health so it’s important you learn more about how to take care of your mental well-being.

Causes of Mental Health Struggles

Mental health struggles are caused by many different variables and the experience is unique for each person. While there may be similarities amongst those suffering from similar mental health problems, it is important that individuals get help from a medical professional for their specific issues so that they know if they need treatment for conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, or other health issues.

In some cases, a sudden situation that causes a significant amount of stress and anxiety can trigger a mental health problem. Losing a job, owing an outstanding amount of debt, the loss of a loved one, or other life events can cause depression, particularly when not addressed. Also, sudden harm to the body such as a car accident, rape, or other traumatic events can cause mental health issues to develop and the person to struggle. Continual stresses such as unrealistic expectations from a boss, a parent, or a spouse can also contribute to mental health. Ongoing medical concerns or other chronic conditions can cause mental health illnesses too. A childhood history including neglect or abuse, or a pattern of unhealthy relationships and poor social interactions can also affect your mental health.

In other cases, genetics and brain chemistry can cause mental health issues to develop and be present in individuals. Some mental health concerns are more common with people who also have family members who struggle with a specific condition, like bipolar disorder or depression. You may inherit certain genes from your parents and relatives that increase the likelihood of you developing a mental health disorder. Your brain chemistry can also affect your mental health and when certain chemicals and hormones are off-balance you may experience depression or other mood disorders.

Attention-deficit problems, psychotic disorders, depression, schizophrenia, and more can be treated and don’t have to be ignored or simply suffered through. If you are not sure what the cause of your mental illness is, a medical professional can help you get to the root of the problem so that you can start taking control of it.

Signs of Mental Health Issues

A wide range of mental health conditions can affect your emotions, behaviors, and even the way you think. While signs and symptoms can vary depending on the condition, there are some things to look out for if you are concerned about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one. These signs and symptoms can begin to affect daily life and even impact your relationships and interactions with people around you.

Here are some examples that may signal a mental health concern:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Low energy, feeling tired, and problems sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Pulling away from people and normal activities
  • Inability to perform daily tasks
  • Feeling like nothing matters
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Smoking or using drugs and alcohol more frequently

More severe signs of mental illness that should be addressed immediately are suicidal thoughts, confusion, delusions, hallucinations, and dramatic changes in social, eating, and sleeping patterns. Drug and alcohol abuse may occur as an attempt to cope with mental health problems and can also be a sign that there is more going on.

If you are having a mental health crisis, call or text 988. The 988 national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides 24/7, confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress.

Learn More About Mental Health to Get Answers

One big part of Mental Health Month is to get people involved by helping them learn more. Mental health does not just affect those that are struggling with it, but also those that surround the struggling individual. Whether you, a family member or friend, or someone else you have a relationship with is dealing with a mental illness, there are resources available to help you gain a better understanding of what you can do and what to expect from depression treatment and other therapies.

Learning more about your own mental health and talking about your thoughts, feelings, and moods with trusted family, friends, and a therapist can help take the mystery out of mental health issues. The more you acknowledge what you are thinking and feeling, the more you allow yourself to take control and accept what is going on inside you. Talking more openly about your mental health and paying attention to warning signs and stressors will help you be more aware and resilient in the future.

There Is Help Available

People who have mental health issues will sometimes just try to deal with the problem alone instead of getting help. They push through the negativity and depression and try to cope on their own. They may try to face the issue alone because they do not realize that help is available or because they don’t understand the severity of the issue. They may also be worried about seeking treatment for fear of what others may think, but everyone needs to realize that there is no shame in seeking help and there is nothing to be afraid of. Mental health professionals apply the best depression treatments and therapies, and they seek to identify the problem by getting to the root of it rather than trying to cover it up.

The First Step Is to Have a Conversation

Remember, it is all about taking that first step and opening up the dialogue when it comes to mental health issues. Sit down with your doctor and loved ones, and take that first step to gain control of the problem with the right treatments. When you feel healthy mentally, your quality of life improves and the world is not the uphill battle that it once seemed to be.

Virtual Health Care and Mental Health

Virtual health care, also sometimes known as telehealth, offers health services through a variety of technologies where you can actually meet with your doctor or therapist in real-time while physically apart. Virtual health care can also include other ways of communicating between you and your health care provider, like through an online portal with direct messages and audio files.

Virtual health care helps you connect with your doctor or therapist without needing to go to a specific location. You may appreciate the convenience of virtual health care and find that scheduling appointments is easier when travel time is not involved in the decision. Virtual health care offers greater access between you and your health care providers so you can get the care and treatment you need.

Participating in virtual health care visits can help you improve your mental health and well-being. Therapy conducted virtually is a valued option both for people who struggle with mental illnesses and people who struggle with their mental health. Whether you are in need of treatment or want to talk with someone about how to develop better coping skills for when you’re feeling down, talk therapy or scheduling an appointment with your doctor can be your first step toward making a significant impact on your health and well-being.

Help is available! Call TrueCare at (760) 736-6767 to speak with our friendly professionals about scheduling an appointment and to learn more about your options for treatment.

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The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, and other material contained on this website, are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new healthcare regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you read on this website.

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Extraordinary care with a heart.
Jessica L. Randalls, PA
Primary Care
“I enjoy getting to know my patients and it is important to me that they feel heard, understood and involved in their healthcare.”