We are all familiar with experiencing varying degrees of physical health and physical illness. Similarly, we all experience patterns of mental health and mental illness. Mental health or ill-health can vary greatly. All forms of mental ill-health are more pronounced versions of feelings and behaviours that everyone experiences in mild forms. Mental ill-health affects thoughts, feelings and behaviours in a way that can significantly affect relationships, capacity to work and quality of life.
Mental ill-health is often defined by its intensity, its development and its endurance. Medically, definitions are applied to different types of mental-health problems to help assess treatment plans (see website links for more information). However, what the individual experiences can be more important than labels.
Moving out of mental distress
It is possible to recover from mental ill-health and most people who continue to experience symptoms of mental ill-health can lead productive and fulfilling lives. Recognizing the signs of mental distress and seeking appropriate support and intervention is important.
In general, early intervention can prevent distress from getting worse. It may be useful to talk to your therapist who can then recommend the best way forward for you. Medication can sometimes be used effectively to help manage some of the distressing symptoms associated with mental ill-health. Talking treatments, ie, counseling, can contribute to managing mental health issues by providing an opportunity to explore and express feelings, understand problems and think about how best to manage or change thoughts and behaviors. This can lead to significant improvements in mental health.
To help improve your mental well-being, especially if you have a mental health diagnosis, it is important to consider
- Physical activity – keep active regularly to boost your wellbeing
- Relaxation – make time to relax, try yoga, meditation, breathing exercises to keep calm, centred and grounded
- Expressing feelings – allow yourself to cry, rage, write out feelings to help recover from hurtful experiences and release tension
- Setting goals – set yourself targets that are achievable and reward yourself
- Talking – seek out an ally who you can talk with openly and regularly
- Seek support – if things seem to be going wrong, be assertive in acting to sort something out rather than ignoring the issue
Psychiatric intervention is available via referral from your therapist or medical doctor. In a mental health emergency, crisis intervention teams are available where Approved Social Workers or Counselors can attend to discuss the situation on site. There are also walk-in centers at local hospitals for emergency admissions. A LPC or other clinical practitioner can recommend a hospital admission as a helpful respite. Living in a therapeutic community for a time can provide a supportive environment which can be beneficial.
For more information:
Call the Georgia Crisis & Access Line (GCAL) 1-800-715-4225
Georgia offers a statewide toll-free call center for consumers to access services. The call center operates 24/7 and has the capacity to screen and assess callers for intensity of service response.
Deaf Mental Health Access Line
Individuals in need of services should contact the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) at 1-800-715-4225 or www.mygcal.com to obtain access to care.
24 Hour Crisis Lines:
1. Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255
2. Georgia Crisis Line 1-800-715-4225
3. Teens in crisis 1-877-968-5463
4. Crisis Hotlines or E-mails for every part of the world:
Befrienders Worldwide: http://www.befrienders.org/index.asp
‘It gets brighter’ – information and videos on dealing with mental health difficulties: http://www.itgetsbrighter.org/
https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/literature/1/ free online course on literature and mental health
http://www.happyhealthyapp.com/app Daily tracker of lifestyle