Mental health impacts every aspect of our lives, and it is important to monitor our mental health so that we know when we need assistance or should seek assistance for a family member or friend. We all experience times of stress, depression and anxiety, and there are healthy ways to cope with these feelings, but when these feelings start to negatively impact everyday life you may need to seek assistance. Some warning signs of mental health issues could be anything out of the norm for that person. This could be eating or sleeping too much or too little, having low energy or no energy, feeling like nothing matters, smoking, drinking, or other drug use, severe mood swings, lashing out, hearing voices and suicidal thoughts. When these things cause you to self-harm, harm others, become paranoid or stop you from performing daily tasks such as getting to work or taking care of your children that is when mental health is a problem.

Positive mental health allows us to cope with the stresses of life, work productively and realize our full potential. We want to address any mental health warning signs before they become harmful. If you notice these warning signs try to connect with others. Research shows that there is a high correlation between strong mental health and positive interpersonal relationships. Also, try to stay positive and develop healthy coping skills. One healthy coping method is physical activity, another is helping others. If these things do not increase your mental health, seek professional help. Mental health can also be a factor in social security disability eligibility, so you may want to consider if you would qualify for disability benefits considering your mental health condition. So again, if you notice any warning signs of mental health issues, please seek help. The Virginia’s Community Service Board is a good resource to find the assistance you need in your city.