Mental health is defined as a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse Family history of mental health problems
- Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Pulling away from people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Having unexplained aches and pains
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends
- Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
- Getting professional help if you need it
- Connecting with others
- Staying positive
- Getting physically active
- Helping others
- Getting enough sleep
- Developing coping skills
Positive mental health allows people to:
- Realize their full potential
- Cope with the stresses of life
- Work productively
- Make meaningful contributions to their communities
- The importance of prevention and wellness
- What communities can do to promote wellness (PDF | 541 KB)
- The importance of mental health and wellness for individuals with mental health problems
- What does “Mental Health Problem” mean?
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