Mental Health: 101

Mental Health: 101

May is mental health awareness month, and while our mental health matters every day of the year, it’s as good a reminder as any to check in with ourselves and those close to us. The theme this year is “Back to Basics”, and the goal is to provide foundational knowledge about mental health. Year after year, countless people fight their battles in silence. If you’re one of those people, this is a message to you that you are not alone.

Mental wellness consists of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The quality of our mind directly affects how we think, feel, and act. With a rate of 1 in 5 people diagnosed with mental illness at some point in their lives, it’s essential that we have a basic understanding of it. If you’re currently battling with your mental health and need assistance, one of our specialized counselors are waiting to guide you. 


What Causes a Mental Health Disorder?

There is no single cause of mental health disorders. Every facet of our lives plays a role in our mental health. These roles are interconnected and it’s important to understand what they are. Oftentimes when we’re diagnosed with a mental illness, there are several factors at play. These factors range from person to person and even affect the severity of symptoms. Here are a few elements that can play a role in developing a mental health condition.

It’s important to note that experiencing these factors doesn’t mean you’re destined to live with mental health conditions. With the right approach, you can prevent or lessen present symptoms. 


Supporting a Healthy Mind

We leave ourselves in a vulnerable position when we don’t take proactive steps that promote a healthy mindset. Too often we take our health for granted and wait until there’s a problem before we act. I’m here to tell you, it’s never too soon to prioritize your mental well-being. I’ve compiled a few reputable ways to prevent or intervene symptoms of mental health conditions.

If your symptoms are severe, these practices can feel impossible to achieve. It may be necessary to reach out for help.


Recognizing When to Seek Help

Mental health issues aren’t always obvious. It’s important to know the warning signs that may mean it’s time to reach out for guidance. While It’s okay to have bad days – we all have them –if you find yourself in a never-ending cycle of misery or hopelessness, it’s worth paying attention to. Get curious about your feelings. Here are a few things you can ask yourself:

In a fast-paced world, we must make time to sit and check in with ourselves. Your symptoms don’t need to be serious to seek support. Having a support system or a counselor to guide you through mild symptoms is more likely to save you from trouble down the road.


Breaking The Stigma

When we see someone with a broken leg or notice they aren’t feeling well, we’re quick to send our sympathies and find ways to help. When someone is struggling with their mental health, they don’t typically get the same treatment. While our attitudes towards mental health have come a long way, the stigma still exists and leaves a great deal of people fighting in silence. Doing our part to destigmatize mental health encourages more people to seek treatment without shame.

We have the power as individuals to create ripples of change throughout our communities. There’s this backwards belief that we aren’t changing the world unless we affect change on a massive scale. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This misguided concept leaves us feeling powerless against our fate and discourages us from acting. Change starts with one person at a time. If you’re want to change the world and the stigmas of mental health, here are a simple yet effective ways to make your mark on this world.

Share your story

Stories are how we connect with each other. Sharing your story is not only an act of courage, but also incredibly empowering for those who feel alone. Your story is valuable in the mission to build awareness around mental health struggles.

Practice small acts of kindness

It starts with compassion. At some point in our lives, we’ve all felt misunderstood. When we attempt to understand each other, we’re more likely to do good by each other. Showing compassion with small acts of kindness is not only noticed by others, it’s a great way to support your own well-being.

Be intentional with your language

Words matter. The language we use has the power to impact our lives in both negative and positive ways. Use positive language that avoids shaming. If you hear someone using language that promotes shame, kindly explain why it is harmful.

Educate yourself and others

Get curious and open yourself up to new perspectives. Stigmas are rooted in a lack of education and understanding. Taking the time to understand and educate others sends a message of empowerment.


Getting the Help You Need

The average delay between onset of symptoms and treatment is 11 years. Your life is so valuable and important. You are worthy and deserving of getting the help you need. We have virtual appointments available, or we can see you in-person at our office in Southlake, TX.  

Here at Dr. Messina and Associates, our compassionate team of professionals is qualified to help you. Our psychologists and Counselors specialize in psychotherapy (in-person and online teletherapy options). Our psychologists also specialize in psychological testing in-person at our DFW (Southlake) Offices. Our psychiatrists offer specialized psychiatric services in-person and telepsychiatry online to all residents of Texas. If you or a loved one are seeking help with mental health, we are available to help.

Dr. Michael Messina

You Might Also Enjoy...

Heatwaves and Mental Health

Just as many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder in the winter due to less sunlight and colder temperatures, heatwaves can also have a negative effect on our mental health.

Cultivating Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem can make you more vulnerable to mental health issues, or it can indicate that your mental health is already struggling. Either way, there are strategies and pathways to improving it.

Coping Strategies for Children

Having feelings is hard. It’s especially difficult for our little ones. Without words or tools to express how they’re feeling, emotions can get really big, really fast.

Recognizing and Overcoming Cognitive Distortions

Cognitive distortions are negatively biased thought patterns that fuel our misery, anxiety, and make us feel bad in general. These exaggerated thought patterns are irrational and don’t properly represent reality.

Men's Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, our symptoms and even attitudes towards it can often present differently for men and women. In fact, men are less likely to seek help for their mental health issues. Men are 3 times more likely to die by suicide than women.

The Nervous System and Mental Health

The nervous system plays a fascinating and crucial role on our road to mental wellbeing. Without basic understanding of how our nervous system functions, we lack having the tools to regulate it when it falls out of balance.