How to Improve Your Psychological Health

Many people have psychological health concerns from time to time. Whether it’s anxiety, depression or something else, it’s important to address these issues early on before they escalate and become more difficult to manage. Fortunately, there are several ways you can improve your psychological well-being, from diet to exercise and even meditation.

Having a mental illness can be debilitating. It affects the way we think and feel, our ability to interact with others, and even our physical health. Mental illnesses are not rare, affecting 19% of adults and 46% of teenagers each year. But only half receive treatment, often because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Untreated, mental illness can lead to higher medical expenses, poorer performance at school and work and even suicide.

People living with a mental health issue may struggle to get enough sleep, maintain good nutrition and hygiene, have healthy relationships, make sound decisions, and keep up with their responsibilities at home and at work. Untreated, mental illnesses can also cause problems with their finances, careers and personal lives, which can put them at risk of substance abuse, job loss or divorce.

A person’s mental health is determined by a combination of genetic, environmental and life experiences, including trauma, stress and addictions. Many mental health conditions are treatable, and with consistent treatment (often a combination of medication and psychotherapy), people can recover and live productive, fulfilling lives.

Mental illness affects people of all ages and backgrounds, from every socioeconomic status. It’s essential to educate people on how to help someone in need, and how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition.

In the 1940s, psychologist Joseph Matarazzo helped to establish a new discipline called “health psychology.” This field of study is concerned with understanding and promoting mental health, treating disorders, improving health care systems, and making public policy for better health.

One or two of these symptoms alone don’t mean that someone has a mental illness, but if multiple are present, and they interfere with daily functioning, then it’s time to see a therapist or physician. Red flag symptoms include thoughts of self-harm or harming others, severe depression or an inability to function or socialize.

Getting a proper diagnosis can take time, and it’s important that people stick with their treatment plans. That means going to therapy sessions, taking medications as prescribed and staying in touch with their physicians for any adjustments in dosage or symptom management. It’s also a good idea to keep primary care doctors updated on any mental health treatment, so that they can monitor for changes.