What is Mental Health? A convo exploring Myths, Symptoms, Signs & More!

In efforts to bridge the gap between mental health professionals and those who need their services, I've partnered with Mental Health Professional Lashawn Harris to begin a series of conversations in hopes to tackle the stigmas associated with mental health.

In this video we will discuss the definition of mental health, signs and symptoms of common disorders, ways to seek help for yourself or a loved one and more!


Questions Covered:

1. What is Mental Health?

Your mental health consists of your Psychological and Emotional wellness. Many forget that feeling an emotion is secondary to brain processing. Therefore, it is our brain that is responsible for not only the way we think but the way we feel.

Furthermore, the way we think and the way we feel impacts our behavior. The way we behave impacts our social wellness.

Cognitive Emotion Behavior

2. What are some common myths about mental health you hear a lot?

o No one in my family has mental health so I am ok.

There are many factors that contribute to Mental Health problems

Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry

Family history of mental health

Environmental factors/ Life experiences, such as trauma (direct or witnessed), abuse, poverty.

3. What preventative care methods can I take to address Mental health?

Know your limits

Keep stress as low as possible and develop healthy coping skills to utilize when you are stressed. Yes, stress affects everyone and not all stress is bad stress, however long-term stress can harm your health. Over time the continuous strain can result in health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other illness, as well as mental health disorders like anxiety and depression

Healthy sleep hygiene


Get physically active

4. What are some signs and symptoms of common disorders?

a) Eating or sleeping too much or too little

b) Pulling away from people and usual activities/ Isolation

c) Having low or no energy

d) Feeling numb or like nothing matters

e) Having unexplained aches and pains

f) Feeling helpless or hopeless

g) Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual

h) Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, irritable, angry, upset, worried, or scared

i) Experiencing severe mood swings

j) Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head

k) Hearing voices or believing things that are not true

l) Thinking of harming yourself or others

5. If you do realize that something deeper maybe going on, what are steps you can to seek for help for yourself for a loved one?

o Speak to your primary care physician

o Call your insurance company for mental health providers they cover

o Many employers have Employee Assistance

o programs (EAP) that will cover a certain number of sessions

o If you do not have insurance FIND A CLINIC AND GO ANYWAY. Many providers offer a “sliding scale” which are reduced rates

6. What are things you absolutely shouldn't do once you've noticed a loved one or yourself may be experiencing mental illness?

Known that what they think, feel and believe is their reality. Just be supportive, listen to understand not to respond. Share resources and understand you cannot force help onto others.

o Be dismissing

Tell them they are living in the past or “just get over it” as if their symptoms or feelings are easy to control

o Minimize in anyway

“I’ve been living for __ years and I’ve been through far worse. You will be okay”.

o Be judgmental


o There are currently 297 Mental health Disorders

o Your Mental Health has a direct correlation to your Physical Health

o Mental Health symptoms often manifest physiologically

Often times those experiencing anxiety will visit the Emergency room believing they are having a heart attack, but if fact they are experiencing anxiety or panic disorder.


o Websites for Psycho-education, locating a provider and more.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/index.htm

Substance Abuse & Mental health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov

National Institute of mental health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml

o Hotlines

Crisis Call Center 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863 Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week http://crisiscallcenter.org/crisisservices-html/

Crisis Text Line (U.S. only) Text HELLO to 741741 or message us at facebook.com/CrisisTextLine to chat with a Crisis Counselor. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

The Trevor Lifeline (U.S. only) 866-4-U-TREVOR (488-7386) Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week http://www.thetrevorproject.org

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network 800-656-HOPE (4673) Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week http://www.rainn.org

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