The Importance of Mental Health


Wth the recent events surrounding the 30 Olympic medalist Simone Biles, the continuing effort to raise awareness for mental health is at an all-time high. Anxiety, pressure, and stress are all factors that can negatively impact your mental health on a day-to-day basis. All of life’s challenges will eventually take a toll on most people’s hearts and minds, but there are ways to not let these challenges consume you. This article will explore these methods and dive into the importance of maintaining a well-balanced mental state.

What is the purpose of maintaining a healthy mental state?

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines mental health as the “emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices”.  Along with promoting a healthy lifestyle, how you interact with yourself and others is a critical component of being socially active. Medline Plus further explains that maintaining a healthy mental state can help with the following:

  • Cope with the stresses of life
    • Stress can also come in both good and bad forms. Good stress comes in the form of excitement in response to life activities such as a first date, riding a rollercoaster, or competing for a promotion. Bad stress happens to a saddening event like a death of a loved one, divorce, or the fear of not being able to pay bills on time. Too much bad stress will eventually break down your body causing a wide variety of health issues. Coping with stress as it comes is a great technique to not let it snowball away from you.
  • Be physically healthy
    • Going for runs, walks, or eating healthy are all ways to keep yourself physically fit. A healthy body can lead to a healthy mind. Some people get really stressed, and cope with it by doing an exercise routine. Keeping your body in shape can lead to fewer worries about your appearances or health issues; the fewer things to worry about the better.
  • Have good relationships
    • Talking to friends and family is one of the most common ways to help fix your mental health when it begins to decline. These people usually know you the best and can tell when you may not be feeling right or are acting off from your usual self. This method is usually free and won’t break the bank either. Your family and friendships are connections you made, so use them to their fullest potential.
  • Make meaningful contributions to your community
    • You live in your community, so there’s always an opportunity to give a little back to it. Volunteer your time at your local church, soup kitchen, or any other non-for-profit entirety that has a goal to assist those less fortunate in your community. Doing good for others may make you feel good in return.
  • Work productively
    • Use your stress to your advantage. For some people, the best work they have produced has been the result of built-up stress that came out into the work they just completed. Drexel NOW did a study on how art therapy can reduce stress. One participant reported that “After about five minutes, I felt less anxious. I was able to obsess less about things that I had not done or need [ed] to get done. Doing art allowed me to put things into perspective”.
  • Realize your full potential
    • All of us have some sort of hidden talent that makes us unique. Finding it can be stressful in itself, but highly rewarding once you find it. Most of us can tell when little to no effort is being put into something, so now is the time to step in and boost that effort up to rise above others.

These six coping tactics are good ways to start self-promoting a healthy mental state, but there also is the chance things may turn into a problem. Let’s identify the signs that you may have a mental health problem.

What are the signs I may have a mental health problem?

Not everyone can easily identify when they may be acting a little differently towards their work or others. Over time, your mental health can change even so slightly it may go unnoticed. However, once it overwhelms your body, negative health implicate will begin to show face.  Medline Plus put together the following list as a start to identify different behavioral changes that could lead to identifying a mental health problem:

  • A change in your eating or sleeping habits
  • Withdrawing from the people and activities you enjoy
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, angry, upset, worries, or scared
  • Having severe mood swings that cause problems in your relationships
  • Having thoughts and memories that you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Not being able to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school.

I think I may have a mental health problem, now what?

So, what should you do if you think your behavior is changing and your stress is becoming overwhelming? If you don’t know where to begin, try talking to your primary care provider and they can guide you to the support you may need. They may recommend seeking therapy or medications that can treat mental disorders. The bottom line is whatever makes you feel comfortable and being able to cope with your mental condition, is what should be explored first.

If you or a loved one feels they may have developed or are on the path to developing a mental health problem(s), Cross Valley Health & Medicine providers are trained to assist in these situations. They can assist in connecting you to the proper mental health resources in your area.

Cross Valley Health & Medicine is a primary care practice located in Newburgh, NY, allowing for both virtual and in-person appointments. The practice has two medical providers on staff, a medical doctor who is dual board-certified in Addiction Medicine and Internal Medicine and a family nurse practitioner. Both providers are eager to see new patients for the following programs: Addiction Medicine, Behavioral Health Management, HIV/AIDS Care Management, Internal Medicine, Medical Marijuana Certifications, Medication-Assisted Treatment, STDI/STI Care Management, and Weight Loss Management. If you are interested in becoming a patient of Cross Valley, please click here to access our online paperwork portal.