Whether you’re a teenager, a 20-something, or a senior citizen, mental illness is a serious issue. It’s important to seek professional help if you’re having trouble coping.
But as with any condition that affects your mind or body, there are things you can do on your own to maintain your mental health and prevent issues from getting worse.
Additionally, you can learn the signs that you are in crisis to have a plan in place. Here are six things you can start doing today:
1. Educate Yourself on Mental Health
It’s important to understand that mental health is a broad term that includes many different types of disorders. It’s estimated that 1 in 5 adults experiences a diagnosable mental illness each year. When it comes to getting treatment for these conditions, it’s often helpful for people who have them to understand the difference between mental health and mental illness.
Mental health refers more generally to your overall well-being and how you manage stressors in your life on a daily basis. Meanwhile, mental illness is an actual medical condition with symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions; depression; anxiety; substance abuse problems; etc. Get educated on the uncommon signs and symptoms such as memory loss, trouble focusing, and stomach aches.
2. Seek Professional Help
Seek professional help. If you feel overwhelmed by your mental health issues, seek professional help. A therapist is a licensed mental health counselor who will listen to your concerns and offer guidance on how to manage your stressors.
They can also connect you with other services in the community that may be able to assist you further, such as medication management or support groups for those experiencing similar situations.
Additionally, psychiatrists can prescribe medications to get you through a crisis as well. You can even seek out residential and outpatient services from local facilities. And don’t let your age concern you; there are options for younger patients like the Muir Wood Treatment Center.
3. Start Journaling
Journaling is a great way to express your feelings and emotions. You can use it as a way to understand what you’re feeling, identify what your triggers are, and plan ahead for stressful situations.
For example, if you tend to feel anxious when someone calls you on the phone, write down that experience in your journal and then brainstorm ways that could be prevented in the future.
4. Create a Support System
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, it is important to reach out to people who can help. You may want to talk with family and friends, see a therapist or counselor, or speak with a doctor.
If things feel overwhelming and you do not want to speak with someone in person, or if it is not safe for you, there are several other options. There are many mental health professionals who meet with people virtually as well.
5. Establish Daily Routines That Promote Mental Health
Establishing daily routines that promote mental health is a crucial part of overcoming a mental health crisis. The more structured your routine is, the easier it will be for you to find order in your life and feel secure in your day-to-day existence.
A routine can provide a sense of safety when you need it the most. You can start by getting up at the same time daily, eating healthy foods, and remembering to take medications and supplements at the same time daily. You can do this by setting phone reminders or leaving notes up where you will see them throughout the day.
6. Create a Safety Plan for Times of Stress or Crisis
A safety plan is an important part of your journey. It’s a tool that helps you prepare for times when mental health symptoms worsen or become more intense. Safety plans can help you cope with distressing situations, manage your time and stress better, and get the support and treatment that you need.
Create a contact list of whom to call in an emergency and have their phone numbers on hand. If someone is in crisis, it’s important to know which resources are available for them—and not just their doctor or therapist.
A friend or family member may be able to provide immediate support if something goes wrong with the person’s mental health treatment plan. Additionally, they may be available to drive someone to a hospital or doctor’s office if the crisis becomes too severe.