A stigma has been attached to the phrase “mental health.” When hearing this phrase, in days past, people’s thoughts immediately jumped to scenes from the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or “Girl Interrupted.” As a society, we associate mental health only with “severe mental illness” in the form of such illnesses as Schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder.
Thankfully, mental health is no longer a strictly taboo topic. Mental health is “a person’s condition concerning their psychological and emotional well-being. Society is beginning to recognise that mental health affects how we feel, think, and act.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), in 2020, the following hold for Adults in the United States:
- 1 In 5 experienced a mental illness
- 1 in 20 experiences a severe mental illness
- 1 in 15 experienced both a substance use disorder and mental illness
- 17.7 Million experienced delays or cancellations in appointments
- 7.3 Million experienced delays in getting prescriptions
- 4.9 Million were unable to access the care needed.
The mental health statistics included above are incredibly eye-opening. To overcome becoming a statistic, taking care of your mental health is essential. Below are five choices you can consciously make to support your mental health.
1. Find Healthy Ways to Manage stress
Finding healthy ways to manage stress is one way to support your mental health. Stress is defined as a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Stress is your body’s response system to a challenge or demand.
We will never be able to eliminate it. However, we can do our best to minimise our stress to benefit our mental health. Healthy stress management methods include stretching, deep breathing, or finding a hobby.
2. Get a Hobby
Finding a hobby is a great way to support your mental health. It allows you to connect and interact with others. It reduces stress. It challenges you in positive ways. It activates your brain cells. It promotes a positive flow state and gives you a break from the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine.
Volunteering is another excellent way to support your mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, volunteering provides a sense of purpose and nature relationships and increases positive feelings by releasing dopamine.
Unplugging is a crucial part of supporting your mental health. We live in a society that revolves around technology and constantly being on the go. Setting aside time with no cell phones, laptops, or television is essential and enjoying the world around you.
5. Consider therapy
Engaging in therapy is another way to support your mental health. Treatment allows you to speak freely without regard for anyone or anything. It’s an effective way to allow your mind to let go of negative thoughts or feelings. It also allows you to come up with out-of-the-box solutions you may not have thought of. According to the American Psychological Association, about 75% of people who participate in talk therapy experience some benefit.
Our mental health is an integral part of who we are. It contributes to how we relate with and to others, how we cope with our feelings and emotions and determines our d process.
As such, it is vital to support our mental health in as many ways as possible and as often as possible. Considering therapy, unplugging from technology, volunteering our time, getting involved in a hobby, and finding healthy ways to manage stress are incredible ways to support your mental health.