With appropriate support, you can identify mental health conditions and receive appropriate treatment. But please talk it out, normal health can be diagnosed easily whereas mental health needs your effort.
Please don’t ignore it.Hey! Let’s Open Up
What’s the difference between normal mental health and mental disorders? Sometimes the answer is clear, but often the distinction isn’t so obvious. For example, if you’re afraid of giving a speech in public, does it mean you have a mental health disorder or a run-of-the-mill case of nerves? Or, when does shyness become a case of social phobia?
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is the overall wellness of how you think, regulate your feelings and behave. Sometimes people experience a significant disturbance in this mental functioning. A mental disorder may be present when patterns or changes in thinking, feeling or behaving cause distress or disrupt a person’s ability to function. A mental health disorder may affect how well you:
- Maintain personal or family relationships
- Function in social settings
- Perform at work or school
- Learn at a level expected for your age and intelligence
- Participate in other important activities
Cultural norms and social expectations also play a role in defining mental health disorders. There is no standard measure across cultures to determine whether a behavior is normal or when it becomes disruptive.
How do mental health professionals diagnose disorders?
A diagnosis of a mental health condition may be made by a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker or other mental health professional. Your primary care doctor may also be involved in a diagnostic assessment or make referrals to a mental health specialist.
A diagnosis may be based on the following:
- A medical history of physical illness or mental health disorders in you or in your family
- A complete physical to identify or rule out a condition that may be causing symptoms
- Questions about your current concerns or why you’re seeking help
- Questions about how recent events or changes in your life — trauma, relationships, work, death of a friend or relative — have affected how you think, feel or behave
- Questionnaires or other formal tests that ask for your feedback on how you think, feel or behave in typical situations
- Questions about past and current alcohol and drug use
- A history of trauma, abuse, family crises or other major life events
- Questions about past or current thoughts about violence against yourself or others
- Questionnaires or interviews completed by someone who knows you well, such as a parent or spouse
And finally, we’re always here for you. Okay?