What is mental health?
Mental health and mental illness are often thought of as the same idea; however, they are quite different. Having good mental health does not mean that you are joyful and positive at all times.
Mental health is something that all people have and it is measured by things such as how well we cope in stressful situations, how healthy our relationships are and how we feel about ourselves.
Mental illness is something that only some people have and it interrupts the way they think, behave and feel. People with mental illness can have good mental health with the help of counseling, medicine and other types of therapy.
Unfortunately, people often focus on improving their physical health and put their mental health on the back burner and seek help when it is too late. We see our doctor once a year for a physical check-up, so why do we avoid going to a counselor, therapist or psychologist for a mental health check-up?
How can I improve my mental health?
• Exercise helps reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
• Moving your body is a great way to improve your mood.
• Include whole grains, fruits and veggies, dairy products and fish in your diet.
• Drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.
• Avoid alcohol and other drugs. These substances can make matters worse.
Boost Your Self Esteem
• Engage in an activity you are already good at.
• Help a friend, family member or community member with a task.
• Practice positive self-talk. Be kind and respectful to yourself.
• Meditate, pray or give yourself five minutes to relax each day.
• Deep breathing is also a great way to be in tune with the present.
Share Your Feelings
Find time to talk to a loved one about your problems or negative feelings. Simply talking about your issues can make you feel better, even if the other doesn’t have a solution.
Take Time for Yourself
Self-care is important! Have a spa day, take-up a new hobby or walk the dog. Taking a moment to focus on you refreshes your mind, helps you refocus and may make you happier!
Where can I go when I need help?
We all need help sometimes! Here are a few of the many great resources that are available for those who need someone to talk to.
WHC’s Behavioral Health Clinic:
• Staffed with psychiatrists and counselors
• Call (319) 483-4074 to schedule an appointment
Employee Assistance Program (EAP):
• Mental health screenings
• Short-term counseling and referral for a wide range of issues
• Check with your employer to see if they participate
-Free service for Iowans with alcohol, drug and gambling, or mental health issues.
-Call (855) 581-8111 or text (855) 895-8398 to speak with a health expert.
Sources: mentalhealth.org; heretohelp.bc.ca; capitaleap.org