Mental health problems are a common occurrence. It affects 1 in 5 Americans, and at least 1 in 25 Americans live with a serious mental health problem such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance use, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or major depression. As mental health conditions numbers continue to rise, these numbers turn into names, and these names turn to someone we know.
Anyone can suffer from a mental health condition. It can be a colleague, your boss, your best friend, a family member, a loved one, or you. Mental health conditions don’t have an immunization or vaccine. Dealing with a mental health decline comes from your self-awareness, self-help, and self-care. Here are some facts you need to know about mental health decline, the warning signs, causes, how to deal with it, and where to seek help.
What Does a Mental Health Decline Mean?
Mental health decline means a period of poor mental health. A person may experience a phase in life where daily activities can’t be carried out normally. There are unexplainable mood changes, unusual actions, dramatic shifts in emotions, inability to cope with problems, or erratic behavior.
If a person is not aware of the presence of a mental illness and how to cope with it, this may lead to more serious mental health problems. Seeking help is the best and first step to deal with a mental illness. May it be talking to family, friends, a loved one, a support group, or seeking help from a mental health professional.
What Causes Mental Illness?
Mental health decline can be caused by many factors. These causes make us vulnerable to fall into the trap of a mental illness, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t look after your mental health. The possible causes of a mental illness are:
- Traumatic childhood experiences (abuse, neglect, bullying, discrimination)
- Domestic violence
- Death of a loved one
- Social withdrawal (such in this case of COVID-19 pandemic or not having a support network)
- Poverty and homelessness
- Chronic stress or overwhelming challenges in life
- Losing a job or unemployment
- Substance use (alcohol and drugs)
- Traumatic life events (crime, accident)
- Military combat (which often leads to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
What Are the Warning Signs of Mental Health Conditions?
If you or a loved one experienced any of these causes, it is best to be aware of the warning signs of mental illness. If you notice these signs and symptoms, get help from a mental health professional. Early diagnosis and seeking a treatment plan are essential to avoid the development of a mental disorder.
Signs and symptoms of mental health conditions:
- Extreme changes in mood
- Feelings of loneliness or sadness
- Changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Detachment from reality like hearing or seeing things that don’t exist
- Social withdrawal from friends and family
- Feelings of tiredness and low energy to do daily activities
- Unable to cope with problems and stressors
- Appears to be angry, violent, and hostile
- Poor performance at work or school
- Excessive feelings of worry, anxiety, fear, guilt, or paranoid
- Changes in sex drive
- Temper tantrums (especially in children)
- Suicidal thoughts
Being aware of these signs of mental health changes can help you battle with a mental health decline? How so? By following these tips and seeking support from a mental health professional.
Tips to Deal With a Mental Health Decline
These tips on how to prevent mental illness must start within you. As seeking mental health support is a significant part of your recovery, you should also start to make some changes in your life. Here’s what you can do on how to cope day-to-day:
- Take care of your physical health: Get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise, avoid drinking alcohol, stop smoking, and drinking plenty of water.
- Surround yourself with a support network: When you’re feeling overwhelmed with problems and stress, surround yourself with positive people to help you get through it. Join in support groups, talk to your friends, a parent, a spouse, or other family members, and avoid negative people. Learn how to talk about your thoughts and feelings
- Give yourself a break: Giving yourself a break from life’s stressors is one of the best ways to deal with mental illness. Go on long walks, go on a vacation, meditate, pray, practice deep breathing exercises, and take a step back from things that are causing your problems.
- Get involved in a new hobby or learn a new skill: As you get involved in new things like a hobby or skill, this makes you happy and productive. Try different options to explore which hobby or skill you find fun doing. Study shows that individuals who try a new skill or hobby have better mental health than those people who don’t.
- Read self-help books or blogs: Many people find it helpful to read these empowering blogs. This gives them a new perspective on coping every day, how to boost self-esteem, how to manage anger issues, or read about relationship advice.
- Seek Counseling: Experiencing a mental illness is a common occurrence, and it may happen to anyone. You should know that you have a lot of options when in treatment and seeking support. Seeking counseling with a mental health professional helps you explore your thoughts and feelings. As you go through the process and get the support you need, you’ll better understand what you’re going through and how to deal with it healthily.
Where to Get Help?
There are many options when finding support for your mental health condition. Mental health professionals and support services can make a significant impact on people with a mental illness or an individual dealing with a mental health decline. This COVID-19 pandemic has placed a restrain on our activities, including seeking help for mental illness.
Thankfully, you can now seek help from Kentucky Counseling Center. You can directly get involved with Telehealth Counseling from the comfort of your home. If it helps, get your family members involved in the therapy as well. Seeking treatment is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of courage, vulnerability, and strength.