What You Need to Know About Mental Health

Having the right frame of mind doesn’t happen by accident. You need to take positive steps to support your mental health. That includes understanding the crucial connection between mind and body. After all, mental health is essential to overall health and wellness and impacts how we think, feel and act.

What is Mental Health?

In simple terms it means emotional, psychological, and social well-being. But for many, anxiety, fear, stress and depression can weigh down the mind and lead to real and serious physical problems. Certain medical disorders can also jeopardize your mental health.

Dispelling the Myths

Mental disorders are medical illnesses just like diabetes, cancer or migraine headaches, yet they often carry a stigma. Here are some common mental health myths and facts:

  • Mental illness occurs only in adults. False! Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before you reach age 14.
  • Mental health problems make people violent and unpredictable. False! Only three to five percent of violent acts are committed by people with serious mental illnesses.
  • People with mental illnesses can’t handle a job. False! Employees with mental illnesses can be as productive and hardworking as anyone else.
  • Mental health problems result from character flaws, personality weaknesses or lack of discipline. False! They are due to biological factors – your genes, brain chemistry, an injury or physical illness; life experiences – a history of abuse or trauma; or heredity – having family members with mental illnesses.

 

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Common Mental Illnesses

Chances are you or family members have first-hand experience with:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder/ Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD or ADHD)
  • Anxiety Disorders – Panic or generalized anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression and Postpartum Depression
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance Abuse

[Click here for common symptoms of these mental health problems]

Does Treatment Work?

Yes! People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely. If you’re suffering from depression, for instance, getting therapy or medication can help you bust the blues. According to Mental Health America, 80 percent of people who seek professional help improve.

Meet the Author

Laura Oliver has been employed in administration at Aurora Behavioral Health Services since 2002, and has worked in mental health and substance abuse clinics for over 20 years.

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The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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