Stop for a moment, and let’s think about how you feel right now. Do you think you have a mental health problem? Do you think that you have lost your sense and direction in your life? Do you feel that there is too much pressure on your shoulders?
Each human being deserves to live a meaningful and fulfilling life. The pandemic has made it harder for most of us. Stress factors beyond our control can prevent us from achieving and management our lives. Therefore, experiences like loneliness, long-term stress, loss of friends and families, end of a relationship, loss of business – even genetics make up, upbringing, and our environment. It can affect our well-being and influence how we think and respond to daily situations. Another reason why having good mental health is crucial.
Do you know what mental health is? The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Mental health should not be only considered as the absence of mental disorder or disability. It is integral to living a healthy and balanced life.
Due to life’s everyday worries and stressors, we are vulnerable to experiencing mental health problems. It is normal to feel down, frightened or concerned at times. Nevertheless, not everyone knows how to cope with those day-to-day feelings and emotions. We are all different! There are circumstances others rebound from in a short period, but you may take longer to heal. Similarly, while some people may find that they need counseling, others may require medication and psychotherapy. No matter your condition, you must first know that you are not alone and then seek the solution to help recover or balance your mental health.
Mental health problems do not discriminate. Despite your gender, age, or financial circumstances, you can undergo these situations anytime in your life. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five Americans experiences mental health issues. That’s one in 5 people you know right now is suffering from some kind of mental health issue. Thus, it is more common than you think and can range from temporary reactions of avoidance and crying to severe conditions such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders.
Like heart disease or diabetes, mental illness is a medical condition. You should not be ashamed to seek help or talk about it. It is the first step towards recovery and can significantly improve your quality of life. An honest dialogue with friends, family, or your medical practitioner about issues causing you distress may allow you to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behavior in a supportive environment. As a result, you can develop plans to solve problems and feel stronger in the face of any challenges.
Suppose you think that you or someone you love is living with a mental health disorder. In that case, the following symptoms, recognized by The American Psychiatric Association (APA), can be your first steps in self-assessing the situation and seeking support:
If you’re experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, please seek help!:
- Sleep or appetite changes — eating or sleeping in excess or not enough could be related to deteriorating mental health. For example, insomnia could be a sign of anxiety.
- Increased substance or drug abuse can cause poor mental health.
- Mood changes or sudden and dramatic shifts in mood swings and a feeling of more emotional than usual, experience irritation, anger, feel snappy, and easily frustrated.
- Withdrawal — refusing to participate in social activities and loss of interest in projects previously enjoyed.
- A decrease in functioning, unexpected difficulties in accomplishing family tasks, school failure, or poor performance at work are all indicators of poor mental health
- Feeling disconnected includes limited emotional reactivity, emotional detachment, feeling numb, and feeling disconnected from yourself or others.
Here are some other symptoms such as problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that is hard to explain, illogical thinking, and nervousness.
Children can also experience mental health issues. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), symptoms in children can range from:
- Changes in school performance.
- Excessive worrying or anxiety, for instance, fighting to avoid bed or school.
- Hyperactive behavior.
- Frequent nightmares.
- Frequent disobedience or aggression in children and youths.
- Frequent temper tantrums.
These may all be signs your child is suffering from mental health or other issues. And the importance of mental health is often underestimated in children. But did you know that it can determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices? It influences how we feel, think and behave each day. Hence, there is no ideal age or time to start taking care of your well-being. It can bring multiple benefits to your life, such as improved levels of calmness, self-acceptance, a sense of purpose, and optimism, among others. It is essential to seek medical attention to determine the cause and find a solution.
You don’t have to suffer alone or forever. If you want to live a fulfilling life, you can access these hotlines and services free of charge for those living in Cartagena. If you are outside of the city, please check with your local medical practitioner for support and resources or talk to someone you trust for help:
Divinity, J. (n.d.). Personal stories. NAMI. Retrieved October 27, 2021, from https://www.nami.org/Per…/Never-Be-Ashamed-of-Seeking-Help.
MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Mental health: Definition, common disorders, early signs, and more. Medical News Today. Retrieved October 27, 2021, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543….
Warning signs and symptoms. NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2021, from https://www.nami.org/About…/Warning-Signs-and-Symptoms.
Warning signs of mental illness. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2021, from https://www.psychiatry.org/…/warning-signs-of-mental….