Preventive care is often looked at through the needs people need to do to protect their physical well-being. For example, a healthy diet and routine exercise, while beneficial to mental health, are often viewed as lifestyle choices that can make people feel better physically. But taking steps to protect one’s mental health also is vital to a long, productive life.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that positive mental health and mental wellness can have a profoundly positive impact on a person’s life. Positive mental health can help people realize their full potential, cope with the stresses of life and make meaningful contributions to their communities.
What can I do to protect my mental health?
Learning to recognize the early warning signs of mental health problems can help prevent such problems from escalating and compel people to seek help. The DHHS advises anyone feeling these signs or recognizing these signs in others to seek help for themselves or their loved ones:
• Eating or sleeping too much or too little
• Pulling away from people and usual activities
• Having low or no energy
• Feeling numb or as if nothing matters
• Unexplained aches and pains
• Feeling helpless or hopeless
• Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
• Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
• Yelling or fighting with family and friends
• Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
• Persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
• Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
• Thinking of harming yourself or others
• An inability to perform daily tasks, such as taking care of your children or getting to work or school
Taking steps to protect one’s mental wellness is a vital component of preventive care. More information about mental health is available at www.mentalhealth.gov.