Mental health is a state of balance in our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Positive mental health allows us to feel good about life, supporting our ability to participate in daily activities and accomplish our goals.

Everyone, regardless of gender, race, income, or religion, faces challenges with their mood, emotions and behaviors from time to time. Some of us, through no fault of our own, face greater challenges than others. It’s important to talk about our mental health with someone we trust, and seek professional care when we need it, just as we would with a physical injury or ailment.

Mental health is:

  • Our ability to relate to others, perform day-to-day tasks and responsibilities, and enjoy favorite people and activities in our lives.
  • Something everyone has. We all experience changes in our mental health from day to day. One in four people will need professional support to maintain good mental health at least once in their lifetime.
  • Treatable. A wide range of choices are available to support our mental health, including diet, exercise, counseling, and medication. If the first thing you try doesn’t feel right, there are a variety of other options, and one of them will help. Successful treatment is possible and much more likely with professional care.

Mental health is not:

  • Imaginary. Mental health is something everyone deals with every day.
  • Something to “get over.” Willpower or “mental toughness” has nothing to do with mental health.
  • Something to fear. Mental health is a medical condition and, like our physical health, it is something we all need support for at times. Being able to talk about our mental health, and look for care when we need it, benefits our health and the health of those around us.

Challenges to positive mental health:

  • Stress. Concerns about work, family conflicts, money issues, and other common problems can wear anyone down, leading to problems sleeping, depression, or suicidal thoughts.
  • Anxiety. A feeling of uneasiness, fear, or nervousness, usually about an impending responsibility or life change, but not always. Sometimes accompanied by panic attacks.
  • Trauma. Traumatic events can trigger a negative response, even for individuals not directly involved in the event.
  • Chemical imbalance. Chemical or biochemical changes in the brain, all beyond our control, can affect our mental health.
  • Genetics. People with a family history of mental health issues may be more likely to develop similar issues.
  • Environment. Exposure to toxins, illnesses, drugs, or alcohol can affect the developing brain in utero.

Common Conditions. Mental illness can include one or more of the following mental health conditions:

Anxiety Disorders

A common group of conditions (panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, phobias) that can often cause people to feel frightened, distressed or uneasy.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

A condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Bipolar Disorder

An illness that typically includes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning that include mania and depression.

Depression

A mental health issue that affects someone’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, physical health, activity, and sleep patterns. Left untreated, it can lead to suicide.

Eating Disorders

There are three main types: Anorexia Nervosa (severe food restriction), Bulimia Nervosa (binging and purging), and Binge Eating (binging without purging).

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

An anxiety disorder where the person experiences intrusive irrational thoughts that appear repeatedly in their mind.

Pregnancy-Related Depression

Each new mother is unique and it’s important to know that there is no one cause for pregnancy-related depression. 1 in 7 mothers who give birth each year struggle with symptoms of depression.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Brought on by traumatic events, this disorder can be long-lasting and may include re-experiencing, avoidance, arousal, and numbing.

Schizophrenia

A serious mental illness where an individual may experience hallucinations and delusions, as well as emotional flatness and difficulty with healthy thinking processes.