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Why Is Mental Health Important?

written by Leah McCabe Written by Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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January 14, 2021 Read Time - 9 minutes

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is your emotional, cognitive, and psychological state of being––it affects your behavior, thinking, and feelings on a day-to-day basis. It’s safe to say that mental health is incredibly important to your general well-being and overall health. 

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes the backseat to physical health, because it’s not always easy to catch your mental health slipping, even if you’re suffering from a mental illness. 

In this article we’ll talk about why mental health is important, common mental health disorders to look for and where and how to get treatment if your mental health is struggling. 

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Why Should You Care About Mental Health?

Mental health is important because it not only affects our moods, relationships and ambitions, it also can impact our physical health and lead to debilitating illnesses such as severe depression and anxiety

Because mental illness may lead to self harm, harm of others, or suicide, it is extremely important to get treatment for mental illness and to monitor our mental health to catch symptoms of mental illness early. 

Mental health should always be taken seriously, and if you believe you or someone close to you has a mental illness, getting help is the first step. 

Typically, the earlier treatment begins, the easier the road to recovery is. 

Is Mental Health Important for Everyone? 

Yes! Mental health is important for everyone. It’s important to know that mental health should be on everyone’s radar, not just those who struggle with mental illness.

Just like your physical health, mental health isn’t a condition that you have or don’t have––it’s a scale of wellness that can slide up or down for a variety of reasons.

Everyone experiences fluctuations in their mental health. In fact, the CDC estimates one in five Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year, and one in twenty-five Americans live with a mental illness, like major depression, anxiety disorder(s), schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. 

So even if your mental health is fine right now, it’s likely someone you’re close to is struggling and could use your support. 

Keeping an eye on your mental health and looking out for your loved ones is important for everyone. Knowing when to seek help from mental health care professionals is also extremely important so you can stop a mental illness from getting worse. 

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

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Is it Important to Treat My Mental Illness? 

Yes, as mentioned above it is extremely important to treat your mental illness not just for your own sake but for the sake of those around you. When left unchecked mental illness can lead to self harm and the harm of others. 

Investing in a therapist or talking to a doctor about your mental health can be extremely helpful, they can help you put together a treatment plan that works for you, and ensure that you’re adhering to the care plan.

Talk therapy and some positive changes to your everyday life might help get your mental health in top shape, or you might need a more comprehensive plan involving medication. Either way, mental health is an important facet to your everyday life, and it’s important to have a treatment plan to improve or maintain your mental well-being. 

The Importance of Maintaining Mental Health 

Just like physical wellness, mental health must be maintained. And as most of us know, it’s easier to maintain good health rather than pull yourself out of a rut. 

Once again, this is why it’s important to know that people with mental illnesses are not the only ones who need to keep an eye on their mental health. 

Anyone and everyone is prone to dips in their mental health due to external circumstances like: 

  • Excess stress 
  • Toxic workplaces 
  • Important tests, deadlines, presentations 
  • Loss of a loved one 
  • Loneliness/isolation 
  • Feeling abandoned 
  • Major life changes 

This list just gives a few examples of scenarios that could affect mental health, and obviously different people are affected by different things. 

Because your mental health is subject to change and could go up or down for a variety of reasons, seeing a therapist for maintenance reasons, or having coping mechanisms already in place is a good idea for anyone. 

It’s important to add mental health care to your normal routine. Just as it’s easier to stay in shape working out every day, it’s easier keeping your mental health in shape if you’re doing things that are good for your mental wellness on a consistent basis.

Some ideas that may help improve mental health are:

  • Setting aside some quiet time for yourself
  • Seeing friends and family 
  • Taking a vacation
  • Going to therapy 

Common Mental Health Disorders and What to Look For

Some common mental illnesses include: 

  • Depression – Some symptoms include feeling tired, unmotivated, lacking interest in things that used to excite you, sadness, or numbness.
  • Anxiety – Some symptoms include feeling anxious and on edge in typically low stress situations, excessive worry and fear and increased heart rate without physical exertion.
  • Sleep & Insomnia – Some symptoms include the inability to fall or stay asleep, excessive tiredness due to poor sleep. 
  • Personality Disorders – Some symptoms include antisocial or compulsive behavior, irritability, partaking in risky or self destructive behavior, mood swings, feeling angry, guilty or lonely. 
  • OCD – Some symptoms include obsessive behaviors that cannot be stopped, otherwise known as compulsive behaviors, excessive cleaning or worrying about germs, fear of losing control and harming yourself or others. 
  • PTSD – Some symptoms include severe anxiety, flashbacks to a traumatic event, mistrust, insomnia, nightmares, isolation.
  • Phobias – Some symptoms include irrational fears, anxiety, avoidance, isolation to avoid the phobia trigger. 
  • Eating Disorders – Some symptoms include: excessive calorie counting, under eating, over eating, purging after eating.

All mental illnesses are treatable, which is why monitoring and seeking treatment early is so important. 

Understanding your mental health/mental illness is the first step towards finding treatment that works for you such as therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, or a combination of all three or more treatments. 

Natural Mental Health Disorder Treatments

While some people require medication and treatment monitored by a mental health professional there are also natural ways to improve your mental health. 

Natural methods to improve or maintain mental health could include the following: 

  • Herbal remedies. Either applying topically, inhaling by using a diffuser, or taking supplements, some studies have proven that certain herbs can have positive effects on our mental health. 
  • Meditation. Johns Hopkins University published a study saying that this age-old practice can help combat anxiety, depression, pain, and sleeping troubles. Even a simple 10 minutes set aside per day can begin to show improvements. 
  • Exercise. Increasing brain activity and getting your endorphins flowing are just two positive side effects from physical activity, which can boost your overall mood in big ways. 
  • Good sleep. Getting a full eight hours every night is an essential, yet commonly overlooked requirement for a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Eating healthy. What you put into your body affects your brain, and therefore your mental health. 
  • Acupuncture. Another age-old practice that has shown to stimulate your body’s healing process, and aid with depression over time. 
  • Massage. Some benefits from this simple act: decreased heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption and salivary cortisol levels. 

Keep in mind that these natural remedies, or simple lifestyle changes aren’t always the right answer, especially for those with serious mental illnesses. 

Pushing these natural fixes on someone truly suffering from a mental illness that requires professional treatment could be quite offensive and frustrating for them. 

On the other hand, they’re a great way to maintain mental health, treat yourself, or boost your mood or overall mental health during tough times. 

Be sure to talk to a doctor about which treatment options are best for you.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Mental Health Treatment Online

So now that we know just how important mental health is, you may be wondering where to get started if you need treatment. Many people put off seeking help not because they don’t care about their mental health, but because they simply don’t know where or how to get help.

Unfortunately, mental healthcare has a reputation as being expensive and time consuming. While this is a common misconception it’s not entirely untrue. Many traditional treatments for mental health are too expensive and time consuming for the average person. 

This doesn’t have to be the case––with PlushCare you can get low cost mental health treatment online, from the comfort of your home, by board-certified doctors and licensed therapists. Our doctors and mental health professionals will work with you to put together a treatment plan that works for you. This may be therapy, medication or a combination of the two.

Our therapists and doctors work closely to ensure that your level of care is unmatched. All this from the comfort of your device means that your mental healthcare has never been more accessible. Book an appointment with a doctor here. Book an appointment with a therapist here

Still not sure where to start? We recommend starting with a primary care physician appointment. Our doctors can help you decide what the best treatment path is and can refer you to specialist help if necessary. 


Read More About Mental Health


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Learn About Mental Health. Accessed on January 14, 2021 at https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm

MedLinePlus. Mental Health. Accessed on January 14, 2021 at https://medlineplus.gov/mentalhealth.html

National University of Health Sciences. 7 Natural Ways to Help Manage Depression and Your Overall Mental Health. Accessed on January 14, 2021 at https://blog.nuhs.edu/the-future-of-integrative-health/7-natural-ways-to-help-manage-depression-and-overall-mental-health

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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