The Importance of Mental Health and How to Take Care of It 

Jun 22, 2023 | Mental Health

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Millions of Americans experience mental health issues every year. Mental Health America’s 2023 State of Mental Health in America revealed that approximately 50 million American adults are struggling with one or more mental illnesses. Among them, 55% aren’t seeking treatment, which underscores the need for education and awareness about managing mental health.  

Dr. Manuel Astruc, M.D. and Associates has more than 25 years of experience helping people cope with mental illness and navigate a path forward. Having spent more than 50,000 hours of working with patients, Dr. Astruc has unique insight into finding your way out of the constraints of mental illness. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, making this the ideal time to start the conversation. It’s time to learn more about how to take care of your mental health and develop positive mental health practices.  

Understanding Mental Health  

Mental health is a complex topic with far-reaching effects that impact every part of your life. Your mental health encompasses your social, psychological, and emotional well-being, all of which can impact how you think and feel. It also affects how you interact with others and how you cope with both everyday life and major life events.  

Maintaining your mental health can enhance your productivity, boost your self-image, and help you engage in more positive relationships. It also has a direct effect on physical health. For example, people with depression are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases like arthritis and diabetes. Additionally, people with schizophrenia are more likely to develop respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.  

Positive mental health allows you to cope with the everyday stressors in life while remaining productive and engaging in meaningful relationships. Your mental state correlates with how you relate to others and how you feel about yourself. 

Mental health and well-being are also affected by physical health and factors like a history of childhood abuse or trauma. Your lifestyle and biology also factor into mental well-being, which is why learning how to take care of yourself mentally is so critical.  

Common Mental Health Issues  

More than 20% of American adults experience mental health issues, along with more than one in five young people between the ages of 13 to 18. Statistics suggest that mental illness is becoming more prevalent, with a significant rise in anxiety and depression, in particular. 

Some of the most common mental health issues include: 

Anxiety: The group of disorders that fall into this category, including panic disorder and generalized anxiety, are among the most diagnosed mental health conditions. Symptoms include excessive fear and worry. 

Depression: Depression affects hundreds of millions worldwide, creating extended periods of sadness and irritability. Additional symptoms include low self-worth, feeling empty or hopeless, losing interest in activities, and low energy. 

PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder affects approximately 12 million American adults. Caused by traumatic events or exposure to a series of threatening events, it’s characterized by symptoms like flashbacks and nightmares. It may also cause avoidance of memories of that event or activities that evoke the memories, and some may experience lingering feelings of a current threat. 

Bipolar Disorder: More than three million adults in America have a bipolar disorder diagnosis. Symptoms include periods of depression that alternate with periods of mania. Manic episodes may produce symptoms like euphoria, increased energy, racing thoughts, and impulsive or reckless behaviors. 

Schizophrenia: This mental illness affects one in 300 people globally and can reduce life expectancy by 10 to 20 years. It causes serious behavioral changes, delusions, disorganized thinking, and problems with cognitive functions. 

How to Take Care of Mental Health  

Some factors that increase your risk of mental health problems are beyond your control. However, you might feel more empowered when you realize there are ways to manage your mental health and support your well-being.  

Some of the top tips to maintain your mental health include:  

Developing Healthy Habits  

Call it self-care or call it a healthy lifestyle. Either way, focusing on making time for living better can help with improving physical health and managing mental health. Examples include:  

  • Participating in regular physical activities 
  • Prioritizing hydration and eating regular balanced meals 
  • Limiting caffeinated beverages and alcohol 
  • Creating a sleep schedule and getting ample rest 
  • Engaging in relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, and journaling 
  • Practicing gratitude and finding things to be thankful for every day 
  • Setting goals and learning to say no to avoid feeling overwhelmed or trying to do too much 

Seeking Support  

Simply staying more connected with family and friends can help build a strong emotional support system. Peers, mentors, and others can provide a sounding board when you encounter challenges and need advice to help navigate hardships. Talking to others who have gone through tough times can provide perspective and help you broaden your knowledge and coping skills.  

Seeking Professional Help  

The stigma surrounding mental health issues is finally beginning to dissipate. However, many people are still slow to accept help or resist seeking professional help altogether. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when you need help. You aren’t alone. Getting professional help is a brave step toward taking control of your mental health and managing your wellness.  

Your pain and suffering are real. With compassionate care and expert support, you can regain hopeful feelings and get back to feeling like yourself. Professionals can arm you with the tools you need to recover, manage your mental well-being, and take care of yourself moving forward.  

Don’t Face Your Difficulties Alone, Contact Dr. Manuel Astruc Today for Expert Help 

Of all the ways to take care of your mental health, recognizing the need for help is mission-critical. Awareness, education, and adopting healthier habits can make a positive difference, but you don’t need to do these things alone.  

Even when you feel powerless, you still have the power to choose. Dr. Manuel Astruc is a caring, compassionate psychiatrist in Saratoga Springs, NY, offering innovative treatment options and mental health management. Call our office today to learn more.