A Guide to Mental Health

A Guide to Mental Health


May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the busyness of our daily lives, amid a swirl of responsibilities and obligations, our mental well-being often takes a backseat. Yet, just as we prioritize our physical health, nurturing our mental health is also essential for leading fulfilled and balanced lives. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of mental health, delving into what it entails and why it matters.


What is Mental Health?

  • At its core, mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences the way we think, feel and behave, coming together to shape our interactions and experiences with others and the world around us. Mental health is not merely the absence of mental illnesses, but a reflection of our overall state of mental well-being. This includes factors such as resilience, coping skills, and self-esteem.


The Importance of Mental Health

  • Our mental health plays a fundamental role in every aspect of our lives. It affects how we manage stress, form relationships, make decisions, and navigate life’s challenges. The impact of mental health can be seen in many avenues. Healthy thinking patterns, management of stress, and emotional regulation contribute to physical health, productivity, and healthy relationships. Poor mental health can impair our ability to function effectively and diminish our well-being as a whole. One example highlights the connection between long-term unmanaged stress and chronic conditions beyond the mind such as heart disease and diabetes when left undealt with. Mental health is an important aspect of our overall well-being and the importance can’t be understated.


Factors Influencing Mental Health

  • Several factors contribute to our mental health, including biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Genetics, brain chemistry, and neurological factors can predispose individuals to certain mental health conditions, while life experiences, trauma, and social determinants of health can also impact mental well-being. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, sleep, and substance use can influence our mental health.


Common Mental Health Conditions

  • Mental health conditions can range from mild to severe and encompass a diverse array of disorders. These include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders. Common mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although many people experience each of these, their symptoms including severity and duration can be different.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health issues is crucial for early intervention and treatment. Symptoms can manifest as changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, or physical health. Common signs of mental health issues include persistent sadness or irritability, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, excessive worry or fear, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It’s essential to seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms.


Seeking Help and Support

  • Seeking help for mental health concerns isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. There are various resources available for individuals struggling with mental health issues, such as therapy, counseling, support groups, and psychiatric treatment. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare professional can provide valuable support and guidance.
  • For immediate assistance, it is important to know crisis line phone numbers. The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers 24/7, free and confidential support at 988 with a call or text. For residents of the Upper Peninsula, Pathways Community Lifeline Crisis Line can be reached 24 hours a day at (888) 728-4929. Remember, you’re not alone and help is available.


Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being

  • Promoting mental health involves adopting strategies to enhance resilience, cope with stress, and foster a positive outlook on life. Practices such as self-care, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, and maintaining social connections can support mental well-being. It’s essential to prioritize activities that bring you joy, fulfillment, and a sense of purpose.


Understanding the basics of mental health is the first step towards promoting well-being and supporting those in need. By raising awareness, reducing stigma, and fostering open dialogue, we can help create an environment that values and prioritizes positive mental health. Taking care of our minds is an investment to flourish and contribute to a more compassionate and resilient community.




No matter what you’re going through, GLRC’s Counselors are here for you. Call our Access Center at (906) 228-9696 to get connected to our services today. For more information on our services visit www.greatlakesrecovery.org