Mental Health Basics
What is mental health?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, mental health consists of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The WHO (World Health Organization) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to her or his community.”
Mental health plays a critical role in our lives each day, as it influences how we think, feel, and act, and it also impacts our social relationships, responses to stress, and everyday choices.
Although many people think of mental health as being a concern mainly for adults, mental health is important for everyone, no matter their age or stage in life. Maintaining good mental health means that you are able to use healthy coping mechanisms to get through difficult situations, and can also manage the smaller challenges that we all face in our day-to-day.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that approximately one in five people in the United States currently has a mental health issue.
However, a diagnosis of a mental illness does not mean that you can’t go on to live a happy, healthy, and productive life.
Even if you have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or any other form of mental illness, it is possible to find stability as long as you seek and receive the right treatment.
Unfortunately, there is a significant stigma surrounding mental health issues. This means many people are hesitant to seek the treatment that they need for fear of being labeled as “crazy,” or because they don’t want people to think there is something wrong with them.
Certain forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia and certain types of bipolar disorder, can also cause paranoia and delusions that stop patients from seeking treatment out of fear.
Mental illness is in many ways no different from physical illness in that it is out of the control of the person who is suffering.
An estimated 9.8 million adults in the United States over the age of 18, or nearly 5% of the adult population, are currently living with a mental health disorder. Severe mental illness can affect anyone regardless of their age, gender, race, or religion, and also often has a strong genetic component. People with a history of mental health issues in their family should pay special attention to any symptoms they experience that could be a sign of mental illness.
The signs of mental illness often show up early in life, with about half of mental health conditions starting around 14, and 75% of conditions developing by the age of 24.
Unfortunately, due to the hormonal shifts that occur during these formative years, it can be difficult to discern which symptoms, behaviors, and moods are actually signs of mental illness, and which are reflective of typical adolescent growth and attitude changes. Patients who develop mental health conditions during their teen years improve their chances of recovery if they receive treatment during this time.
Mental illness isn’t “bad.”
Despite the stigma that surrounds the term “mental illness,” mental illness isn’t a sign of a personality defect or something that a person has done wrong. It is a real condition that develops outside of a patient’s control, often involving a strong genetic component, but it can be managed.
One of our goals is to show you that living a healthy, happy life is possible with mental illness, and that you are worthy of a bright future.
The YANA blog provides information about mental health conditions, how they can be managed, and what treatment options are available. There are many behaviors that are signs of mental illness that can be managed with a little help, which is exactly what we’re here for.
Signs of Mental Illness
The signs of each type of mental illness are unique to the specific condition, but there are some signs that are common to poor mental health in general:
- Isolating from people
- Not participating in activities you used to enjoy
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Overeating or undereating
- Feeling hopeless
- Thoughts of suicide
- Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol)
- Trouble engaging in day-to-day activities such as going to school or work
- Difficulty showering or practicing general hygiene
- Hearing voices
If you or a loved one are experiencing even just a few of these signs, consider consulting online with a mental health professional, especially if you notice that it’s affecting functionality in your daily life.
There are numerous treatment options for mental illness, including medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Everyone responds to treatment options differently, so it may take some time to find the right treatment or combination of treatments that works for you.
One treatment that is commonly recommended across the board is talk therapy. Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is considered highly beneficial for those struggling with their mental health. There are numerous types of psychotherapies available, each of which works slightly differently in order to tailor to specific challenges, struggles, behaviors, and goals.
Patients who speak to a therapist can benefit from learning healthy coping mechanisms, reframing perceptions about themselves and the world around them, and working through challenges they regularly face because of their condition.
Patients can choose to seek therapy with a local therapist, or online via telehealth mental health services.
Some patients take prescription medication to help improve their symptoms. Conditions like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety can be significantly improved by medication in many cases, helping patients to return to a better quality of life.
In order to receive a prescription for these medications, you’ll need to see a mental health professional, but services like YANA are making it easier and more affordable than ever to access mental healthcare on your terms. YANA matches patients to an online physician who can perform an evaluation, write a prescription for your medication if necessary, and get your medication shipped directly to your door.
Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting a good night’s rest, and setting healthy boundaries with people are all important elements of self-care that can improve your mental health. Implementing lifestyle changes to be more aligned with these core practices can make a significant impact in your other treatments as well.
Common Mental Health Problems
Many people are familiar with the names of certain mental health conditions, but not everyone knows the details of what these conditions entail. We’ve outlined some of the most common mental health conditions, which you can get more information about either on the YANA blog or by getting in touch with one of our mental health professionals.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common issues within mental health. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Talk therapy is often helpful for people who suffer from anxiety disorders, and some patients also benefit from prescription medication called anxiolytics, which aim to reduce the physical symptoms of anxiousness.
The Anxiety section of the YANA blog contains information about how to calm your body down during times of heightened anxiety, as well as coping mechanisms to help you handle feeling overwhelmed.
Panic attacks are physical manifestations of anxiety that can make a person feel out of control, trapped, like they’re dying, and more, depending on the types of panic attacks they experience. These severe episodes can be terrifying and often feel like they come out of nowhere.
The Panic Attacks section of the YANA blog can help you recognize the signs and symptoms of panic attacks and discusses what to do if you experience one.
Everyone gets upset, but what may appear as anti-social behavior or even laziness to the untrained eye can actually be depression. Depression is a debilitating and real illness that affects millions of people each year.
The Depression section of the YANA blog offers resources for one of the most common forms of mental health issues in the United States and around the world.
People who have bipolar disorder experience periods of both depression and mania, and the blog offers resources that can help patients cope with their condition and help loved ones understand more about the disorder.
The highs and lows in your mood associated with bipolar disorder are described in the Bipolar Disorder section of the YANA blog.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia, is sometimes called “high functioning depression” because it is a chronic, mild form of depression. It’s possible to live a productive, active life with persistent depressive disorder.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of major depression that occurs seasonally, typically during the darker months of the year when we experience less sunlight. SAD is most commonly experienced in the late fall, winter, and early spring, and disappears when the days get longer and more sunlight returns.
What Influences Your Mental Health?
When you’re working on your mental health, it’s important to consider what influences it from the outside and the inside. Examples of outside influences include your environment and events that happen that are out of your control, while inside influences include factors like genetics and how you choose to handle a particular situation.
Here are some factors that contribute to mental health that you can read about in the blog section.
Behavior is an indicator of our mental health. In the Behavior section, you’ll learn about behaviors that are both productive and counterproductive to your progress. You can learn how to change your behaviors so that you can get what you want out of life and aren’t as negatively affected by your mental health. You’ll learn about mental illnesses that can cause problematic behaviors and how to improve them.
Frequent or controllable anger can be a symptom of mental illness. The Anger section of the YANA blog is where you can get some information if you’re struggling with anger problems, as well as some tips that may help you better manage your anger. You can also read about the warning signs of severe anger issues and learn how to develop proper coping strategies. In addition, if a loved one is coping with anger issues, you can look up mental illnesses that have anger as a symptom, and you can learn how to support them.
When a person is a survivor or even an ongoing victim of abuse, it can severely impact their mental health. Abuse is a widespread issue that many different people experience, and there isn’t just one type. Different kinds of abuse include emotional, sexual, medical, neglect, child, and more. In the Abuse section, you’ll read about forms of abuse and what they may entail.
Healthy attachments can positively impact a person’s mental health. When we don’t form attachments at a young age, it can contribute to mental health issues or mental illness. We learn to form bonds with other human beings as babies, and that skill develops over our lives. In the Attachment section, you can learn about the different attachment styles, and what problems arise when people develop unhealthy attachments.
Bullying can have a severe effect on a person’s mental health. It can cause depression and sometimes even cause a person to end their life. Bullying is a serious offense where a person torments another person or group of people. In the Bullying section, you’ll learn how to recognize if you’re being bullied yourself or if your child is being bullied. You’ll read about how adults can get bullied, and how people of any age can be victims of these crimes.
Part of maintaining mental health is feeling loved, but relationships, romantic or otherwise, can take a toll on your mental well-being if there are toxic behaviors present. In the Love section, you’ll learn about finding love and ways to explore that in your life. You might want to find love or maintain a relationship that you have at the moment. Love is one of the best feelings human beings can experience. Read more about how it affects us and what we can do to preserve it.
How Can YANA Support Your Mental Health?
If you’re looking to work on your mental health, you’ve come to the right place. Starting with the YANA blog, you can begin learning about mental health conditions, gain insight into what you may be struggling with, and start the journey toward becoming aware of what you can do to improve your mental well-being.
The YANA blog is here to serve as a resource for you when you’re learning about different mental illnesses and common life challenges. The blog section is here to support you through these mental health concerns. If you’re living with a mental illness, we want you to know that you are not alone and that you can find resources here to understand and improve your mental health.
However, it’s important to note that the blog isn’t a substitute for seeking treatment. While becoming educated and knowledgeable about mental health is important, you shouldn’t try to self-diagnose or rely on informational resources alone in your path to getting better.
Improving your mental health can be hard work, and it starts with learning about yourself through an evaluation from a mental health professional.
You don’t have to suffer from mental health issues alone. YANA’s medical doctors are here to help. They will listen to you, evaluate your symptoms, and develop a personalized treatment plan that’s right for you.
If medication is prescribed, it will be quickly and discreetly delivered to your door.
If you’re ready to get started with YANA, you can click here.
You can also get more information about How YANA Works, What Makes YANA Different, and Frequently Asked Questions About YANA.