Struggling with mental health challenges can make you feel isolated, frustrated, and overwhelmed.
It impacts every stage of life, and affects how you think, feel, and act.
This guide from USA.gov can help you learn how mental illness differs from other illnesses, recognize warning signs, and find resources to help.
Know the Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness
At times, people use the terms interchangeably. But, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same. It’s important to understand the difference.
Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It also helps determine how you handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
Mental illness is one of the most common health conditions in the United States. It affects a person’s thinking, mood, or behavior. The most common forms include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. These may be short-term or long-lasting and affect a person’s ability to function day-to-day.
A person can experience poor mental health and not have a mental illness. A person with a mental illness can experience periods of good social or emotional well-being.
Recognize Warning Signs
When it comes to your emotions, it can be hard to know what’s normal and what’s not. Pay attention to warning signs like these that show you or a loved one may have a mental health problem:
- Withdrawing from the people and activities you enjoy
- Having low or no energy
- Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
- Having severe mood swings that cause problems in your relationships
If you or a loved one is struggling or has concerns about their mental health, know that there are ways to get help. Reach out to a health care provider. Connect with professional groups, advocates, and experts.
And you can get help right away from these official helplines and resources from the CDC, National Institute for Mental Health, and other organizations.
It’s important to remember that asking for help is a normal part of life. You never need to feel like you have to take on the world alone.