Ask yourself these questions as part of a mental health check-up.
If you feel like your mental health isn’t as good as it used to be, you’re certainly not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health. During the pandemic, about 4 in 10 U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder, up from 1 in 10 adults reporting similar symptoms from January to June of 2019, according to a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Knowing you’re not alone in feeling anxious or depressed may make you feel better to some extent, but it doesn’t change the fact that your mental health is suffering. Recognizing signs that you need help—and knowing how to get that help—can be a step on the path to feeling better.
“Patients sometimes come into their first session feeling anxious or embarrassed about seeking help. I simply tell them to offer themselves the same compassion they would give to a friend or stranger who is going through a difficult time. Everyone deserves the opportunity to feel heard, understood, cared for, and to practice self-love.”
Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine if your mental health is less than ideal. If you answer ‘yes’ to some or all of the questions, it does not mean you definitely need professional help, but it is an indication that something is wrong and that talking to a friend, family member or therapist may help:
- Have I felt more sad than happy lately?
- Do I have more fear, worries or anxiety than usual?
- Do I easily snap or get irritated by things that never bothered me before?
- Have I been experiencing significant mood swings?
- Have I lost interest in activities and pursuits I used to enjoy?
- Have I been isolating myself from friends, family or co-workers?
- Do I feel uneasy with myself or my surroundings?
- Do I find it hard to do routine activities, such as getting out of bed or going to work?
- Have I had a hard time getting enough sleep?
- Do I often feel tired even if I get enough sleep?
- Have my appetite or eating habits changed?
- Do I have trouble concentrating?
- Do I cry often?
If answers to these questions indicate that your mental health is suffering, it’s a good idea to talk to a medical or mental health professional. He or she can help you talk about and work through the feelings you are having. You’ll also learn about ways to address your feelings and techniques that may help you feel better. In some situations, medication may also be recommended.
It’s understandable that seeking professional help for mental health issues can be scary. Keep in mind though that mental health problems rarely go away on their own. If left untreated, they can last a long time or get worse, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
If you are not ready to talk to a professional about your mental health concerns, try to talk to a friend, family member or co-worker who you feel comfortable opening up to. Being able to discuss your feelings with someone who won’t judge you is better than keeping things bottled up. But if you have serious mental health issues, such as hearing voices in your head or having thoughts of suicide, it’s important to seek professional help right away.
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Date Last Reviewed: December 15, 2021
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD