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If you think you’re taking care of yourself just by exercising and watching what you eat, you may be missing something important. Being strong mentally will help you in many ways, including supporting your physical health.
One in 5 adults in the U.S. lives with a mental health issue. But many don’t seek care until a crisis happens.
And many people who have been told they have a mental health issue like depression fail to seek treatment. Like any other illness, help is available for mental health problems. But you have to ask for help.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says loneliness, shame and blame often go along with mental illness. That can make it hard for someone to reach out for help.
If a loved one needs help but isn’t getting it, you can encourage and support them. Compassion and understanding, talking openly about the illness, and working to end fear and shame can improve the chance of someone getting the help they need to get better.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell your doctor about troubling thoughts or feelings. If you’re not talking to your doctor about mental health issues, you’re missing out on a chance to get better. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional.
Having poor physical health can make it harder to get better from a mental health problem. Physical health issues can even cause mental health symptoms. Your doctor can help you learn what to do to improve and manage your physical health in ways that support your mental health. At the same time, your mental health also alters your physical health. The two go hand in hand. Poor mental health makes it hard to make good choices for your physical health. Neglecting your mental health can lead to serious health problems.
Talking openly and honestly with your health care provider can help you make sure you’re doing what you need to do for your overall health.
There are lifestyle choices you can make that will help support your mental and physical health. Eating right, exercising and other self-care steps can help your body and your mind.
Mental Health America offers these suggestions:
If you’re having issues with your mental health, you’re not alone — many people have mental health issues during their lives. Ask your doctor for help so you can start feeling better.
Being prepared can help you make the most of your time with your doctor. That may include making a list of your symptoms, when they started and what makes them better or worse. A list of questions to ask your doctor is also helpful.
Johns Hopkins Medicine says don’t be shy when talking to your health care professional.
The National Institutes of Health offers tips that can help you talk to your doctor and make the most of your appointment:
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