Recently I had a summer cold. I knew I was sick because I had a sore throat, a sneeze and a cough. These were my symptoms. I knew to go to the doctor, drink lots of juice, and rest. I know when my body is not well because it tells me with symptoms, and I know how to help my body get better.
We can think of “mental health” in the same way. Our emotions, behaviors, and interactions with other people can tell us about our mental health. Unfortunately, many people are scared or embarrassed about asking for help. The answer to this is often education. Just as, we have fought stigma and stereotyping in other areas, we can help people understand what mental health really means.
Many things affect mental health
Life, itself can be very hard and overwhelming. Perhaps, something is not healthy in the environment. Sometimes, a situation is too much for one person. The brain can have too much or not enough of some kinds of chemicals. Sometimes, a person is just missing some skills that may be easy to learn.
Mental health challenges can be temporary or long-term,
and they can be simple or very serious. We all have hard days. We all feel many emotions each day. The difference is that mental health “symptoms” show up when these struggles affect your independence, functioning, or day-to-day living. “Symptoms” happen for the same as with physical health, your body wants to get your own attention. Once you have your attention, you can seek help so that what is not working can be fixed or helped, problems can be solved new skills learned, or balance restored.