What Is Mental Health?
Mental health refers to your emotional and psychological well-being. Having good mental health helps you lead a relatively happy and healthy life. It helps you demonstrate resilience and the ability to cope in the face of life’s adversities.
Your mental health can be influenced by a variety of factors, including life events or even your genetics.
There are many strategies that can help you establish and keep good mental health. These can include:
- keeping a positive attitude
- staying physically active
- helping other people
- getting enough sleep
- eating a healthy diet
- asking for professional help with your mental health if you need it
- socializing with people whom you enjoy spending time with
- forming and using effective coping skills to deal with your problems
What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a broad term which encompasses a wide variety of conditions which affect the way you feel and think. It can also affect your ability to get through day-to-day life. Mental illnesses can be influenced by several different factors, including:
Mental health statistics
Mental health issues are common in the United States. About one in five American adults experience at least one mental illness each year. And around one in five young people ages 13 to 18 experience a mental illness at some point in their lives, too.
Although mental illnesses are common, they vary in severity. About one in 25 adults experience a serious mental illness (SMI) each year. A SMI can significantly reduce your ability to carry out daily life. Different groups of people experience SMIs at different rates.
Types of Mental Illness
Anxiety disorders: People with anxiety disorders respond to certain objects or situations with fear and dread, as well as with physical signs of anxiety or panic, such as a rapid heartbeat and sweating. An anxiety disorder is diagnosed if the person’s response is not appropriate for the situation, if the person cannot control the response, or if the anxiety interferes with normal functioning.
Mood disorders: These disorders, also called affective disorders, involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy, or fluctuations from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. The most common mood disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymic disorder.
Psychotic disorders: Psychotic disorders involve distorted awareness and thinking. Two of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations — the experience of images or sounds that are not real, such as hearing voices — and delusions, which are false fixed beliefs that the ill person accepts as true, despite evidence to the contrary.
Eating disorders: Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common eating disorders.
Mental health symptoms
Each type of mental illness causes its own symptoms. But many share some common characteristics.
Common signs of several mental illnesses may include:
- not eating enough or overeating
- having insomnia or sleeping too much
- distancing yourself from other people and favorite activities
- feeling fatigue even with enough sleep
- feeling numbness or lacking empathy
- experiencing unexplainable body pains or achiness
- feeling hopeless, helpless or lost
- smoking, drinking, or using illicit drugs more than ever before
- feeling confusion, forgetfulness, irritability, anger, anxiety, sadness, or fright
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