A Public Health Perspective on Mental Health Treatment
Mental health issues affect not only your mood and behavior but your physical and social well-being as well. This makes dealing with mental health integral to achieving public health goals.
Mental health is so intrinsically linked with the physical body. If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, you often neglect your physical health. You are not eating nutritiously healthy meals, you reduce your activity, and your sleep cycle is affected. You may begin self-medicating with harmful substances including sugar, caffeine, alcohol, or prescription narcotics in an effort to feel better. You may neglect important preventative health appointments.
Transversely, if you aren’t taking care of yourself physically, you may start to see your mental health decline. If you are feeding your body with processed foods, or aren’t getting enough sleep and exercise, you may experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. If you have a medical condition, that will also affect your mood and behavior immensely.
The important thing that we need to do is reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. Mental health care is health care. Your mind is just as important a part of your body as the rest of your organs. Experiencing a mental illness is not a character defect; that diagnosis is just the same as if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, or arthritis. They are all treatable and manageable.
Please do not be afraid to voice your concern for mental health symptoms just as you would a physical symptom. It is just as important and there will be no judgment for your health care provider. They are there to care for you and that includes your mental well-being.