Mental health rarely gets the attention, or the credibility, it deserves. According to Psychology Today, one in three Americans has a mental illness, but the rate is much higher in women. In fact, women are 40 percent more likely than men to develop depression. Though mental health issues don’t have to stand in the way of a full and happy life, success often hinges on the availability and accessibility of resources and treatment options. Mental Health America reported that depression in women is misdiagnosed 30 to 50 percent of the time and fewer than half of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care.
Mental health can have a direct impact on other life areas, like educational attainment, sustainable employment, independent living, friendships, physical health and myriad other areas. In Tangram Life Coaching services, they often see how unaddressed mental health issues can act as barriers to success in these areas. This is further compounded by the stigma attached to mental health in our culture.
“Learning to live independently is hard enough on its own, but having a mental illness can make that even more difficult,” said Angie Tyler, CEO and president of Tangram. “Many of the individuals we support in our life coaching services have mental health issues in addition to disabilities or other barriers to success. Knowing that achieving positive mental health is a key factor in overall success, it is our priority to partner with mental health providers as part of our holistic approach to improving quality of life for those we serve.”
Adopting good mental health management practices is a critical first step in building the foundation for overall well-being. Here are five strategies to help women achieve and maintain positive mental health.
Develop a support system
Surround yourself with people that you can rely on for support. This can be parents, friends, siblings, other family members, mentors or anyone else who understands and can respond to your needs.
Take care of your body
Your physical well-being often directly impacts your mental health. It is much easier to take a negative outlook on life when you’re feeling under the weather. Improve your mental health by taking care of physical health, first and foremost. Eat healthy, balanced meals packed with protein, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly and strive to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. This regime will keep you feeling awake and refreshed, while boosting your positive mental health along the way.
Properly deal with stress
A report by the American Psychological Association showed that stress is on the rise for women. Almost half of all women surveyed said their stress has increased over the past five years. Do not let stress stand in your way of living a full life. Take control and find time for activities that help you relax. Take a vacation, go for a run, meditate and learn to live life in the moment.
No one knows you like you, which means that no one is better qualified to stand up for you and be your champion. Seek help when you need it and communicate your needs to those around you.
Know your resources
Lots of mental health resources exist online and in your community. Furthermore, most employers offer an Employee Assistance Program, which may offer free or reduced cost counseling or therapy, and a plethora of other resources.
Maintaining positive mental health is a key component of your overall well-being. Though easier said than done, it is critical for individuals with mental health diagnoses to build a network of people and resources they can rely on to support them on their path to a balanced and fulfilling life. It is also important that we work together as a culture to erase the stigma associated with mental health and create a supportive, inclusive community.
More information on mental health supports can be found on the following websites:
National Alliance on Mental Illness: https://www.nami.org/
National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/find-help/index.shtml
Feature photo: Jurica Koletić / Unsplash