Mental health plays a vital role in our overall well-being. It is just as important as our physical health and, as a result, heavily influences our quality of life. Those who are struggling with their mental health are more likely to experience relationship challenges, physical health issues, and disruptions in their long-term goals. For this reason, it is extremely important to prioritize your mental health and address any issues that arise. Treating mental health problems early can change – and even save – a life.
Unfortunately, most people that struggle with their mental health do not receive the help they deserve. It is estimated that more than 1 in 5 Americans face mental illness each year, yet less than half (47%) receive treatment. Many people are scared to speak up and get the support they need.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month – a time to spread awareness about mental health, normalize conversations about it, and advocate for those who are struggling. You may be wondering, though, “Why is this so important?” Keep reading to find out.
The Importance of Mental Health
Mental health refers to a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “It affects how we think, feel, and act, and helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”
When a person is in a state of good mental health, they generally can find success and satisfaction in their lives. They are likely to have a more positive attitude and outlook, as well as more confidence in who they are as individuals. They typically have goals, a sense of stability in their lives, and can accomplish daily tasks like going to school or maintaining their career. Those with a positive mental health state usually have the ability to make friends, maintain relationships, and engage or connect with others.
These actions, while they may seem straightforward to some, do not come easy for those who are struggling with mental health problems. Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety, for example, have an unfortunate way of disrupting a person’s ability to cope with negative emotions, build friendships, and sometimes, to even get out of the house.
If you’re asking, “Why is mental health important?”, the answer is right here: Mental health affects our overall quality of life. A good mental health state can positively influence how we feel, how we go about our days, and how we forge our future success. A mental health disorder, meanwhile, can cause us to feel badly about ourselves, to get lost in negative thought patterns, and to struggle to connect with others or find the motivation to get help.
Why is it Important to Talk About Mental Health?
When there isn’t a motivation or a willingness to get help, or if there’s a fear of what others might think that’s getting in the way, mental health problems will continue to persist and create issues—for individuals and society alike. As a result, it is more important than ever that we talk openly about mental health and encourage or empower others to get the help they deserve. Treatment can be vital in changing someone’s path and putting them on the road to recovery.
When we do not talk about mental health, we increase the stigma around it. This stigma prevents people from getting treatment. It also leads to a lack of education in our society about mental health. Misconceptions about mental illness thrive under this stigma, because people do not fully understand it. This can lead to bullying, discrimination, and fewer opportunities for those who are struggling with mental illness. The mental illness stigma can also lead a person to believe that they are not enough, and that they do not deserve to get better.
That is why, for May 2023, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Month is #MoreThanEnough. This theme is designed to show that – no matter who you are, what your diagnosis is, where you come from, or your socioeconomic status – you are enough. As the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) explains, “If all you did was wake up today, that’s more than enough. No matter what, you are inherently worthy of more than enough life, love and healing. Showing up, just as you are, for yourself and the people around you is more than enough.”
This Mental Health Awareness Month, do what you can to talk about mental health. Whether you are struggling and wish to share your story, or want to advocate for those in need, any open conversations can make a positive difference. We also encourage you to help people who are struggling to find the help they need and deserve. Mental health disorders are highly treatable and manageable. Recovery is possible for people struggling with mental illness.
Why is it Important to Care for Your Mental Health?
On top of spreading awareness about mental health, it is important to take care of your mental health. Whether or not you are facing a mental health issue, prioritizing mental health care should be an important part of your everyday life.
Maintaining a positive state of mental health, and addressing any mental health conditions you have, will be crucial to finding a healthy balance in your life. Prioritizing your mental health will be important in:
- Stabilizing your behaviors, emotions, and thoughts
- Improving your overall mood
- Increasing your productivity in life, at work, in school
- Enhancing your overall self-esteem and self-image
- Bettering your relationships with others and yourself
- Boosting your physical health and well-being
- Finding a state of inner peace
- Staying motivated and active
- Reducing your stress or learning how to cope with it
- Realizing your full potential and finding meaning in your life
When you do not take care of your mental health, it can lead to negative effects on your life. For example, untreated mental illnesses can:
- Take a toll on your physical health. According to the CDC, mental illnesses can increase the risk for many types of physical health problems. Depression, for example, has been linked to diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
- Increase the risk of suicidal thoughts. National research shows that most people who commit suicide suffer from mental health disorders, and this number could at least 90%. There is a close connection between mental illness and suicide, as those struggling do not know how to cope.
- Inhibit your ability to connect with others. Mental health plays an important role in relationships. When a person is struggling with their mental health, it can inhibit their ability to participate in social activities. It can lead to aggressiveness, hostility, and anxiety in social conversations. It can also lead to complete withdrawal from others. Healthy connections with peers and the community, however, is an important component of keeping mental stability.
- Disrupt your feelings of self-worth. An unhealthy mind can cause you to lose your sense of self and purpose over time. It can lead to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, anxiety, fear, loss of control, and general dislike for the life you’re living. It is important to recognize if you start to experience any of these emotions, and to seek help if you feel negatively towards yourself or your life in general. Seeking professional therapy can help you find coping mechanisms, get to the root of these negative feelings, and start you on the road to recovery.
These are just some of the many ways that mental health can affect your quality of life. There is no denying the importance of mental health and how it relates to a person’s happiness, relationships, stability, and general well-being.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health problem, there is no better time than right now to seek help. Professional support is always available for those struggling. Whether you are facing feelings of anxiety or depression, or dealing with symptoms of another mental health disorder, do not hesitate to prioritize getting the help you need. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. It is an essential puzzle piece in your quality of life.
If you do not know where to start, or who to talk to about mental health, you can always contact Turnbridge. Turnbridge is a recognized mental health treatment provider for young adults and adolescents struggling. We are always here for you. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.