How do you know if you are mentally healthy?

At the most basic level, being mentally healthy includes things like:

  • You can take care of feeding yourself, dressing yourself, maintaining your physical health and proper hygiene.

  • You show consideration and responsibility for your actions both toward yourself and with respect for others.

  • You have enough awareness of your morals to know when something seems right or wrong.

But there are degrees of mental health: Consider it like a spectrum from seriously mentally ill, to just able to deal with life, to rocking in your mental health.

Most teens are usually slightly to the right of the middle of the spectrum – dealing with life, but still training their brains for ultimate mental fitness. However, the turmoil associated with the teen years can leave many teens vulnerable to mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, some of which can lead to  suicide.

Being proactive (planning ahead, taking action ahead of time) is the way to go when dealing with mental health issues. If you’re ever seriously worried about yourself or someone else’s mental health, seek help from an adult or trusted friend. And, even though most teens are not suffering from severe mental illness, many could still benefit from therapy or just looking at their emotions more fully. (The YSS program – books and website – are a huge proactive step toward mental health!)

 So wait, if you’re not torturing baby bunnies, how do you know if there is a problem?

The answer sometimes is as simple as, “Hey, I’m not really happy most of the time.” Or, “Why do I keep snapping at people?” Or, “I can’t seem to turn off this negative voice in my head telling me to do bad things or that I am bad.”

We talk about awareness a lot because it really is the first step toward knowing when something doesn’t feel right. One example of not being aware is when people ACT OUT their feelings in order not to feel them. Often when someone is upset and can’t deal with their feelings, they ignore them, but their feelings eventually pop out in other areas. As a result, a person may behave in a destructive way, or, at the very least, feel extremely stressed out. He may break things, play practical jokes that really aren’t funny, avoid showing emotions to others, scream a lot. She may date many people but never get close to anyone, put others down, bully, do drugs, etc.

POST QUESTION: Describe what you think it means to be mentally healthy.

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