Millions of Americans suffer from mental health conditions. Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States for those ages 15 - 44. One in five adults suffer from a mental health disorder in a given year. Two thirds do not seek treatment.
A mental illness can make you miserable and cause problems in your daily life. Sometimes taking a mental health day is the best thing you can do.
What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also affects how we handle stress, relate to others and whether we make healthy choices.
Although the terms are often confused, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same things. A person can have poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. And a person diagnosed with a mental illness can have periods of physical, mental and social well-being.
What is mental illness?
A mental illness has ongoing signs and symptoms that affect your ability to function. Mental illnesses affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior. They may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic). And they may affect the ability to relate to others and function in daily life.
Disorders vary widely in type and severity. Some examples are:
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Addictive behaviors
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or problems concentrating
- Extreme mood changes
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Trouble coping with daily problems or stress
- Alcohol or drug abuse
If you have any signs or symptoms of a mental illness, see your PCP or mental health specialist.
What are the causes of mental illness?
Signs and symptoms vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. They may be caused by many genetic and environmental factors such as:
- Inherited traits
- Environmental exposures before birth
- Brain chemistry
Why is mental health important for overall health?
Mental and physical health are both important to overall health. Mental illness, especially depression, raises the risk for many other health problems. These can include stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
How can we prevent mental illness?
There’s no sure way to prevent it. But if you have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress and boost self-esteem may help.
- Pay attention to warning signs.
- Take care of your physical health. Don't skip checkups.
- Get help when you need it. Don’t wait until symptoms worsen.
- Take good care of yourself. Sleep, healthy eating and activity are important.
How can taking a mental health day help?
Stress plays a big role in mental health, so it’s important to find ways to relax. Spending time with loved ones or in stress-reducing activities can lessen anxiety and improve your performance. Try these techniques:
- Deep breathing
If your QualChoice plan includes QCARE, our Care Managers can help you set and reach health and well-being goals. They give support and education on issues like:
- Increasing activities
- Improving diet
- Handling stress
- Stopping tobacco use (Kick the Nic! program)
Get started today! Call 800.235.7111 or 501.228.7111 and ask to speak to a Care Manager.
TIP: QualChoice members enjoy discounts from health and fitness companies like Arkansas Yoga Collective, with our QuicRewards program.