Mental health awareness

GEHA | December 13, 2018

mental health
Learn how to monitor and improve your mental health.

Mental health is important to the quality of your overall health. It includes your emotional, psychological and social well-being, and affects how you think, feel and act. It also helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood through adulthood.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five Americans suffer from mental illness. That means if you’re sitting at a table for lunch with five of your friends, one likely has some form of anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD or other mental illness.

Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including biological such as genes or brain chemistry, life experiences such as trauma or abuse, and family history of mental health problems.

It’s important to take care of yourself. Be mindful of triggers and notice if something makes you anxious or depressed. It’s not shameful to have a mental health issue. Find a mental health professional or someone you feel comfortable talking to about your feelings.

Early warning signs:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Low or no energy
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Pulling away from others or usual activities
  • Severe mood swings or easily getting angry, upset, worried or confused
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual

Positive mental health allows you to realize your full potential and live a fuller life. You are better able to cope with life’s stresses and work productively.

Ways to maintain positive mental health:

  • Get professional help if needed
  • Connect with others
  • Stay positive
  • Be physically active
  • Help others
  • Get enough sleep
  • Develop good coping skills

Sources:
“The importance of mental health awareness.” Boston University, 25 April 2018
"What is mental health?" U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 29 August 2017