According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Approximately 1 in 5 adults—about 43.8 million—experience mental illness in a given year. National Mental Health Month was established in 1949 to bring awareness to mental illness and the importance of caring for your mental health. Each year many health organizations work to fight the stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for policies to support individuals with mental illness and their families.

What is really “normal” with mental health?

There isn’t always a test that can determine if you are suffering from a mental illness, therefore, it can be difficult to detect. What is normal to one person might not be for another. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to your behavior, feelings, and thoughts to see if your mental health is changing. Talking to a doctor about these will help in determining whether your mental health may be suffering. Family or friends can assist in this process to note any changes they have seen.

What are some ways I can better my mental health?

  • Exercise- Increasing your heart rate by moving for 20 minutes a day can improve your mood.
  • Socialize- According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, having strong relationships can decrease your risk for depression.
  • Spend time outdoors- Sun exposure can boost serotonin.
  • Meditate- Meditation can relieve anxiety and stress.
  • Acts of kindness- Doing small acts can reduce anxiety and make yourself feel better.
  • Laughing- Laughter is known to relieve stress.
  • Sleeping- Good sleep habits can alleviate some symptoms of mental illnesses.
  • Learn new things- according to the NHS, people who constantly learn new things are more likely to cope with stress in a healthy way.

Quick Tips:

  • Recognize the signs.
  • Come up with ways to better your mental health in a way that works best for you.
  • Be aware of any changes to your behavior, feelings, or thoughts.
  • Poor mental health can negatively affect other areas of health (physical, social, sleep).
  • Seek professional help if you feel your mental health is not improving.

Sources: Mayo Clinic, National Alliance of Mental Illness, Harvard Health. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.