How to recognize the problem in time?
In the previous text, we talked about mental health in general, and in this article we will focus on how to recognize mental health problems, and how to take care of them. Some of the first “symptoms” that indicate that there may be a problem we need to investigate are:
- major changes in diet, and the amount and schedule of eating and sleep
- isolating ourselves from others, such as friends, colleagues and family members, and avoiding activities that otherwise gave us pleasure.
- inability to cope with daily tasks (eg cooking or doing tasks at work) and constant lack of energy
- the constant presence of “confusion” and feelings of meaninglessness and hopelessness, and the constant presence of negative emotions
- ideas about hurting others or self–harm, and increased use of psychoactive substances (including increased use of alcohol and cigarettes).
- hearing voices and having delusions
In case we recognize some of these symptoms in ourselves or others, it would be wise to talk to them or, in case we recognize the symptoms in ourselves, seek help of close people or even experts.
How to take care of your own mental health?
You’ve probably heard the saying “It’s better to prevent than to cure.” It is especially true when we talk about mental health, because most everyday mental health problems can be prevented, or at least reduced by regular self–care. We need to look at maintaining mental health as maintaining basic hygiene, it’s something you do every day little by little.
- It is extremely important to look at life in a positive light, balance the presence of positive and negative emotions, and not allow negative emotions to completely overwhelm us.
- It is always useful to maintain good relationships with those close to us, because they are often a source of support, or in the worst case, a “shoulder to cry on”. Involvement in the community and local projects and activities helps maintain mental health.
- The saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body” did not come about for no reason, mental and physical health are closely linked. In order to maintain good mental health, it is advisable to watch what we eat, not to consume too much alcohol, fast food, caffeine and the like. Moderate physical activity, especially outdoors, has an extremely positive effect on our well-being. It’s similar with sleep, lack of quality sleep is cause for mood problems and it makes us much more irritable and less productive.
- It would be desirable to find activities that fulfill us in life, such as hobbies or volunteering, and learn to deal with everyday stress and problems.
- Meditation and other relaxation techniques are always a useful tool in mental health care. There are numerous techniques of this kind, such as biofeedback, breathing techniques and even just hypnosis. Some of them are relatively easy to learn and can have a long lasting positive effect on our mental health.
These are just some of the ways to take care of your mental health, and there are many others that we have not mentioned. Remember that the presence of mental disorders is not the only reason to seek the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist, sometimes consulting a specialist is exactly what we need to maintain mental health.
How can you help others?
It is helpful to know how to recognize possible mental health problems in others, as well as in yourself.
- If we are open about our own mental health care, we may encourage others to do the same, or contact us if they think they need help. An open conversation about mental health will reduce the stigma that exists around him, which can also encourage others to seek help.
- We must not ignore other people’s problems, and we should always show empathy if someone confides in us.
- It would also be helpful to teach others some of the techniques we mentioned in the previous paragraph, or offer to carry out these activities with them.
- It is extremely important to avoid direct conflict with people we suspect may have mental health problems, especially if we suspect that these problems may result in injury to oneself or others.
- You need to be patient and not change the way we treat that person, and listen to their problems and show them that there is someone who cares about them and what is bothering them. If at all possible, we can also offer them a practical form of help, such as going to the doctor together or helping them with grocery shopping.
- In case we feel that the other person’s problems go beyond our ability to help them, it would be helpful to refer them in the direction of professional help.
In the end, we know we can’t help others if they really don’t want to, but we can always be a person that will be there for others, and that is always willing to listen to other people’s problems and offer advice if possible.
There are many challenges in maintaining mental health, and it is often difficult to find accurate information on how to seek help if we have concluded that we need it. So in next week articles we will talk about how to seek professional help in maintaining mental health or fighting psychological issues.
Helping others with mental health problems. (n.d.). NHS Choices. https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/supporting-others/helping-others/.
How to look after your mental health. Mental Health Foundation. (2021). https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-mental-health.
U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2021, June 23). How to Improve Mental Health. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/howtoimprovementalhealth.html.