Mental health affects us in many ways. It impacts how we think, feel, and act. There is a close connection with mental and physical health. Poor mental health is a risk factor for many chronic physical health conditions. Mental health can give us strength and the ability to cope with stress and life’s setbacks, too. Good mental health isn’t just the absence of depression and psychological issues. Being mentally or emotionally healthy enables us to take on and enjoy daily life.

Anyone can suffer from mental or emotional health problems—and over a lifetime most of us do. The good news is no one has to feel bad. There are ways to boost and protect our mental health. Plus, there’s help for those experiencing mental health issues like depression. If you or someone you know is facing difficult mental health issues, then talk to a medical professional about getting help.

Boosting mental health

Simple changes to daily life can have a big impact on improving our mental health. For those who suffer from depression, such changes may help lower the severity of symptoms.

  • Get enough sleep at night
  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Move your body
  • Eat healthy
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs
  • Set realistic goals
  • Take time to relax

What is depression

Depression is a common and serious mood disorder that affects millions of adults in the U.S. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression can affect every aspect of life, causing problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, self-image, and even thoughts of death or suicide. Unfortunately, many of those in need do not often receive help due to the stigma surrounding depression and mental health in general.

Look for signs

The signs and symptoms of depression can present themselves in different ways, depending on the person. It is important to know what to look for both in yourself and your loved ones. Depression can affect anyone—even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances. Symptoms may include:

  • Inability to fall asleep, under and over sleeping
  • Lack of an appetite, or over eating
  • A loss of energy
  • The inability to concentrate
  • A lack of interest in activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt and/or low self-worth
  • Suicidal thoughts or intentions

Seek help

The first step to treating depression is meeting with a medical professional to discuss a route to recovery. The way a person goes about treatment is different for everyone and depends on what they and their doctor think will help them best, whether that be therapy, medication, or something else entirely. Knowing the signs and plotting a plan to recovery before major symptoms occur are important as depression can be treated.

Suicide prevention

Suicidal tendencies can come with many warning signs that you can look for. It’s time to get help when you or someone you know is behaving in one or more of the following ways:

  • Focusing on death and talking openly about wanting to die
  • Becoming withdrawn and avoiding close friends and family
  • Showing signs of despair, and talking about unbearable pain or becoming a burden to others
  • Experiencing swings in mood and/or sleep patterns
  • Struggling with substance abuse
  • Acting recklessly

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, or text 741741. It’s always open, and you can talk to a trained counselor who can help you.

Are you an Advanced Health member?

Advanced Health members can access mental health services from the following local providers:

  • Coos Health & Wellness:
    • 24 hour Crisis Hotline: 541-266-6800; 1-888-543-5763
    • Book an appointment with a mental health counselor: 541-266-6700