Mental Health Awareness Month: Recognizing and Treating Mental Health

It’s not uncommon to get so caught up in daily work or caregiving that we don’t reflect on ourselves and our own needs. While it’s okay to be busy and focus on your daily work, children and career goals, it’s also important to take a step back and evaluate your mental state.

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted to provide you the tools to recognize the signs of a mental health condition in yourself, or your loved one, and a few suggestions on how to start your journey to improvement.

Evaluating Your Mental Health

Many individuals think of being healthy as being physically fit. While physical fitness should be a priority, it’s also necessary to ensure you’re looking after your mental health. The best way to start is to take stock of how you’re feeling and how your current mental state could be affecting your daily life.

As people juggling multiple things – such as parents and healthcare professionals – burnout and stress can have a major impact on daily life. Complex medical conditions can also cause or affect mental health conditions and it’s important as caregivers to look for key signs in the children we care for during all stages of life.

Here are several common signs of someone experiencing a mental health condition:

– Irregular sleeping or change in appetite
– Mood changes, such as irritability
– Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
– Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought
– Heightened sensory sensitivity or avoidance of over-stimulating situations
– Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
– Excessive worrying or fear
– Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
– Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (e.g., headaches or stomach aches)

If any of these symptoms seem familiar, Mental Health America has put together a variety of different screening tests that may help you determine if you or your loved one are currently being impacted.

Treating Mental Health Conditions

There are many ways people can treat mental health conditions and we always recommend speaking with a medical or mental health professional first. Although nearly 20 percent of Americans experience a mental health condition throughout the course of a year, less than half of those affected seek treatment.

Beyond speaking with a medical professional, there are several daily activities that can help people cope with stress, caregiver burnout and anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are several daily practices that can help improve symptons of anxiety or stress:

– Relax and take time for yourself. Whether through exercise of breathing techniques, find the right relaxation method for you and practice this each day.
– Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. When you’re going through a difficult time, your body and mind need time to recharge.
– Exercise regularly. This will not only help you maintain your physical fitness but provide a healthy coping mechanism during stressful times.
– Count to 10. This isn’t just for children. Counting slowly allows you to slow down reset yourself.
– Eat well. Balanced and nutritious food positively impacts your body – including your brain.

If you believe you or your loved one is currently experiencing a mental health condition, it’s important to reach out to a healthcare professional.

MGA Homecare is proud to fight the stigma of mental illness and provide our community with helpful resources whenever possible. To learn more about Mental Health Awareness Month and resources available to you, visit the National Alliance of Mental Illness or Mental Health America.