What Is Your Mental Health Costing You?
It can be hard to tell when it’s time to seek help for your mental well-being. According to a 2019 report by Mental Health America, more than 56% of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment. More alarmingly, the number of people struggling with their mental health has only gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic, with more young people suffering from depression and anxiety than any other age group.¹
That’s why this Mental Health Month, we want to spread awareness of mental health issues and discuss the three potential costs of mental health. We’ll also address some tips on how to take better care of your mental health if you or a loved one is suffering from mental health concerns.
What Are the Costs of Mental Health?
1. Developing Bad Coping Habits
Not taking care of your mental health can affect you physically and emotionally, but it can also hurt you financially. Often when we are stressed or in a bad headspace, we can develop destructive coping mechanisms, like drinking too much alcohol or going on shopping sprees. To combat these coping mechanisms, replace them with healthier ones like deep breathing exercises or practicing emotional awareness.
2. Becoming Less Productive
According to the American Psychiatric Association, workers with depression can experience a 35% reduction in productivity.²2 If you are feeling overwhelmed or are facing workplace stress, it’s essential to take frequent short breaks during your workday and unwind on your days off. Recharge by taking all of your vacation time or paid-time off throughout the year.
3. Shorter Lifespans
Perhaps the most severe cost of severe mental illness is that it can reduce your lifespan. Studies have shown that those with an untreated mental illness can live ten years less than those who don’t have a mental illness.3
How You Can Take Care of Your Mental Health
There are a few ways you can take care of you and your mental health. Here are five steps you can take to improve your mental health:
- Connect with friends and loved ones: Getting together with your friends and family is important. It’s one of the best ways to improve your mental health. Schedule time with a friend or loved one via Zoom or on a phone call.
- Start exercising regularly: Studies have shown that getting regular exercise, whether it’s going for a walk or playing your favorite sport, can increase your energy and improve mood.4
- Seek help from a mental health professional: If you’re suffering from poor mental health chronically, seek help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist.
- Take a break from social media/electronics: Taking time off of social media or unplugging can have some fantastic benefits. Schedule some time out of your day, week, or even month to sign out of your social media accounts and reduce your dependency on electronics to reclaim your personal time.
- Get enough sleep: Experts recommend at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per day. Setting a consistent sleep schedule can help you get the necessary amount of sleep.
Recognizing that you need help is not easy. It’s essential to take steps as soon as possible once you’ve recognized that you have been neglecting to take care of your mental health. By getting professional help, taking care of yourself physically, and regularly checking in with your emotions, you can drastically improve your mental well-being.