Mental health and mental illness are complicated terms, partly because there are lots of different causes of mental health issues and a whole range of different symptoms for each one. There are some simple things that you can do to help look after your mental health.
Generally speaking, our mental health refers to our state of mind and our ability to cope with the everyday things that are going on around us. Someone with ‘good’ mental health usually feels capable of dealing with the different everyday situations that they find themselves in. When we have a mental illness, this process is often a lot more difficult. Mental illnesses are really common in Australia and about 1 in 4 people between the ages of 14-25 will experience mental illness at some point.
Keep in mind that this is a simplified definition of mental health and that it’s totally normal for everyone to have mental health issues – that is, to go through ups and downs. It is only when the difficulties start to hang around for a while and it feels like nothing can make them go away that they may be considered a mental illness.
Diagnosing a mental illness is no easy task as there are a huge range of factors that need to be considered. It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact cause of a mental illness, and it’s often likely to be a combination of a few different things. Some of the things that may contribute to mental health issues are:
There are some things to look out for when it comes to detecting a mental illness. However, it’s also really important to remember that a lot of the tell-tale signs of mental illnesses are just a part of life at some point or other for the vast majority of us. Some of the signs are:
If you’re experiencing any of these, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something serious going on, but it’s worth having a chat to someone you trust about it. If you have been experiencing many of these symptoms over a long period of time, it’s a good idea to chat to someone you trust and set up an appointment with your GP to talk it over.
Although mental illnesses are not always avoidable, there are some simple things that we can do all year round to look after our mental health:
Check out ReachOut’s 9 tips to improve your wellbeing for some more ideas. If you’ve been doing these things and you’ve still been struggling for a long time, it’s a good idea to have a chat to someone you trust and have a think about talking to someone about it in a professional context.
It can be hard to know where to find the right support you need. ReachOut NextStep is an anonymous online tool that recommends relevant support options based on what you want help with. Try ReachOut NextStep to learn about the support options available for you.
Also check the related topics:Depression Anxiety Stress Psychosis and other mental illnesses Supporting a friend with a mental illness Suicide Coping with grief Traumatic incidents Music and our mental health Self harm Eating Disorders