Nowadays, many of us are thinking more about wellness — staying in good health — than about fixing bad health. Maintaining wellness ensures proper growth and development when you’re young, and it helps you stay healthy when you’re older. A wellness focus can be a positive approach to keeping your body health and happy. There may be a piece missing, though. People don’t always think about mental health and wellness together.
Maybe you eat a heart healthy diet because you know that heart health is important to wellness, and maybe you exercise 30 minutes everyday because you know that physical health matters too. But do you include mental health when thinking about wellness?
There’s no doubt that physical health is an important part of wellness, but your mental health is equally important. Unfortunately, people sometimes view mental health and wellness as two different things.
Mental health and wellness go hand in hand
In fact, your physical wellbeing can affect your mental health — and your mental health can affect your physical wellbeing.
Mental health problems can lead to behaviors or symptoms that affect both mental and physical well being. Some of the items on this list include pain, sleep problems, lethargy, apathy, wanting to cause harm to yourself or others, substance abuse, aggressive behaviors, and the inability to carry out day to day tasks.
Mental health and wellness are not independent of one another. Mental health problems stand in the way of wellness.
Stigma and mental health
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive treatment or mental health services the previous year. While many factors contribute to this statistic, the stigma surrounding mental health can keep people from seeking the help they need.
People have an unfair view of mental health. If you start jogging, cutting out fast food from your diet, and eating leafy greens, people admire your efforts to improve your health and work towards wellness. The same isn’t always true when you seek medical care for mental health problems.
People sometimes view mental health problems as weakness, or they are embarrassed by them. Some find it shameful to struggle with mental health problems, or they’re afraid to seek help.
There’s a lot of strength in seeking help for mental health, however. Admitting that you may need help and seeking treatment for mental health issues can be an important step toward wellness.
Mental health problems are common. Mental health conditions affect 1 in 5 Americans. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Know when to talk to a medical professional
It’s important to seek treatment if you think that you may have mental health problems. Mental health is as important as physical health, and it should be treated that way.
You can’t always tell when someone has mental health problems, but it’s important to start a conversation if you think that a loved one may be struggling with mental health issues.
Remember that children can experience mental health problems, too. About half of all mental health disorders show signs before the age of 14, and three out of four disorders show signs before the age of 24. Northwest Arkansas Psychiatry works with MANA primary care physicians to provide psychiatric care for children, adolescents, and adults who are MANA patients.