Mental Health matters, don't forget to check in with yourself!

You've heard the phrase "Health is Wealth", well this doesn't just apply to your physical health. Mental health is just as important as physical health, but it can be difficult to pinpoint declining mental health because it is not something you can see! World Mental Health Day is on October 10, and it is a day dedicated to educating about mental health, as well amplifying the voices of those who have struggled with mental health conditions. In this blog post, we are going to talk about mental health conditions and share some things you can do to check in with yourself and prioritize your mental well-being.

What is Mental Health?

Your mental health refers to your psychological, emotional, and social well-being. Your mental well-being affects how you handle conflict, make choices, interact with others, and deal with stress. Mental illnesses can change your behavior such as your mood, actions, and thinking.

What is the Current State of Mental Health in the US?

According to Mental Health America's "2022 State of Mental Health in America" approximately 50 million Americans are experiencing a mental illness. Even before the 2019 Coronavirus Pandemic, it was estimated that 1 in 8 Americans experienced a mental illness. The COVID-19 pandemic provided additional stress and led to a 25% increase in anxiety and depressive disorders in the first year alone. Currently, the most common mental illnesses in the United States are anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. There is a multitude of factors that can contribute to declining mental health such as:

  • Severe or long-term stress
  • trauma or abuse
  • loss of a family member or loved one
  • loneliness or isolation
  • social isolation
  • family history of mental illness  

Signs of Declining Mental Health

It is important to listen to your body and be aware of your habits and behavior to determine when your mental health may be suffering. Here are some signs that your mental health may be suffering.

  • Isolating yourself- While it is important to take time for yourself, isolation can lead to mental health decline. If you find yourself constantly canceling plans or ignoring phone calls, it may be a sign that something may be affecting your mental health.
  • Not following your hygiene routine- It is common when someone is suffering from mental illness or poor mental health that they start to neglect personal hygiene such as showering, brushing their teeth, and brushing their hair. It may begin to feel like too much energy to complete daily hygiene tasks.
  • Trouble sleeping- Sleep is extremely important to overall health. Adults should aim to get 6-8 hours of sleep per night. If you find that you are having trouble sleeping or even sleeping too much, your mental health may be suffering. 

Ways you can check in with yourself

  1. Get a Journal- Ask yourself some questions are record how you are feeling with a journal. Some questions you can use to check in with yourself are: "How is my mental space today?" "What is taking up my headspace today" 
  2. Set aside some time to meditate or stretch-meditation is a great way to start your day and connect with yourself. Stretching is also a way for your mind to connect with your body.
  3. Establish a no-technology bedtime routine- Try putting your phone away 30 minutes before you go to bed and ask yourself questions about your day. Taking the time to wind down from your day may ready you for a sleep-filled night free from distraction. 

Mental health is important to your overall well-being. If you feel your mental health declining, reach out to your doctor to set up an appointment. If you or a loved one are struggling with your mental health, please utilize the resources below.

RELATED: Louisiana Mental Health Coalition

Mental Health Resources

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration