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What Is Mental Health

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What Is Mental Health/Mental Illness?

Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. When someone experiences mental health issues, their thinking, mood, and behavior can be impacted. There are many factors that can contribute to mental health issues or mental illness like family history of mental health problems and life experiences such as trauma or abuse. Mental health problems are very common and affect everyone.

How Do I Know If What I’m Seeing Is Mental Illness?

Sometimes mental illness is not always easy to recognize. For many, pain isn’t obvious. It can be difficult to know when a loved one is going through a tough time, or if it something that may require more serious support like medication or therapy.

Experiencing one of more of the following behaviors could be an early warning sign of a mental health issue.

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

If you think your loved one is experiencing a mental illness, talk to your loved one, find professional help, and get information. People with mental illness can and do recovery and lead rich and meaningful lives.

It takes a trained mental health professional to diagnose mental illness. To begin the process, if your friend or family member has health insurance, call the number listed in the health plan member’s information.

If your friend or family member does not have health insurance, call the Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services ACCESS number 800-491-9099.