Getting help doesn’t mean you’re weak or crazy.
Our minds affect the way we think, feel and act and a healthy mind strengthens and supports our overall health and well-being.
Both adults and children can experience mental health problems, but the great news is that there is more help available now than ever before.
How can I prevent mental health problems?
There is no guaranteed way to prevent mental health problems, but there are things you can do to help support your mental and overall health:
- See your doctor or health care provider for regular checkups and remember to take any medications.
- Be sure to get enough exercise each week. It can be as simple as going for regular walks.
- Follow a healthy diet, even on a tight budget (tips for healthy thrifty meals).
- Be sure to get enough sleep each day. Adults need at least 7 hours of sleep every day.
- Take time out each day to do things you enjoy such as spending time with loved ones, listening to your favorite music, reading, writing, gardening, cooking, gaming, arts and crafts.
- Learn more about healthy relationships and avoid staying in unhealthy ones where there is abuse and/or violence.
- Keep a journal and write in it whenever you feel you need to.
- Don’t isolate yourself from others or stay cooped up at home. Instead, try going for a walk, going to the library or bookstore, watching a movie or play at the theatre, playing a sport, volunteering or meeting up with people near you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support from your doctor, a family member or a friend whenever you feel you need it.
Warning Signs of a Mental Health Problem
- Feeling nervous, afraid or troubled a lot
- Constantly feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
- Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs”
- Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
- Avoiding friends and social activities
- Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
- Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
- Changes in eating habits such as feeling more or less hungry than usual
- Changes in sex drive
- Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don’t exist in objective reality)
- Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight”)
- Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
- Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
- Thinking about suicide
- Not being able to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
- An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)
Getting Help and What to Expect
See your doctor or health care provider and try your best to explain how you feel. He/she will be able to set you on the right track and refer you to a professional counselor or specialist for more help and/or treatment. Depending on your diagnosis and situation, treatment can include counseling, medication, social support and education.
If you know someone who needs help, you can encourage him/her to speak with his/her doctor or health care provider and seek help. Keep in mind that you cannot make anyone get help. People have to want to get the help they need when they are ready.
Help dealing with difficult emotions – Call (800) – 273 – 8255 for 24/7 caring help with feelings of hopelessness and giving up.
Just had a baby and feel like it’s all too much? – Call (800) – 944 – 4773 for caring support for moms and dads dealing with depression, sadness and worry.
Mental health care – Call (800) – 662 – 4357 for 24/7 help finding professional treatment near you.
Mental health answers (National Institute of Mental Health) – Call (866) – 615 – 6464 for more information about mental health and treatment.
Mental health answers (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – Call (800) – 950 – NAMI (6264) for more information about mental health and treatment.
New York City help (Lifenet) – Call (800) – LIFENET (543 – 3638) for 24/7 mental health crisis help in NYC.
Guides: 10 Common Warning Signs of Mental Health Conditions (video), Guide to Depression and Bipolar Disorder, Depression During and After Pregnancy: A Resource for Women, Their Families and Friends, Living with a Mental Condition, Family Members and Caregivers, Teens and Young Adults, Veterans and Active Duty, Diverse Communities (including African American and Latinos), and LGBTQ
Support groups: Find local, national and international mental health support groups through SAMSHA Behavioral Treatment Locator.
Keep in mind that there is real caring help available. It takes time for mental health problems to get better, but professional help makes a big difference and saves lives.
Talk to your doctor or health care provider for more information.
If you don’t have a doctor, find a health center near you.
Call (800) – 273 – 8255 for 24/7 caring help with feelings of hopelessness and giving up.
Call (800) – 944 – 4773 for caring support for moms and dads dealing with depression, sadness and worry after having a baby.
Call (800) – 662 – 4357 for 24/7 help finding professional treatment near you.
– Know the Warning Signs. National Alliance on Mental Illness web site. http://bit.ly/1DCGQr7. Accessed May 16, 2016.