Mental health plays a critical role in everyday life. It’s the foundation for productivity at work or school and for fulfilling relationships. Over time, specific events and life changes can lead to poor mental health, impairing your ability to function and causing frequent stress.
Find out more about poor mental health, some signs to look out for and how working with a mental health counselor can help you deal with these issues in this article.
What is poor mental health?
Poor mental health involves a change in behavior, mood and thinking, which negatively affects your functioning and leads to distress.
Various factors can lead to mental health concerns. For some people, it is a combination of factors that leads to poor mental health.
Some factors which can contribute to poor mental health include:
• Long-term or severe chronic illnesses
• Physical or emotional abuse
While certain aspects such as insomnia, medication and work stress can interfere with your mental health, sometimes a combination of other factors may result in a mental health problem.
What are some signs of poor mental health?
Poor mental health can manifest in different ways. This typically revolves around how we react, think or feel when unexpected events occur. Some common signs of poor mental health include lack of energy and motivation for things you were previously excited about, frequent negative thoughts or low self-esteem. Feeling sad or being withdrawn from people are also common signs of poor mental health as is a drastic change in your mood.
In other cases, poor mental health may appear as less common signs, such as habit changes around food, which may involve loss of appetite or overeating. Trouble concentrating and being forgetful, as well as trouble sleeping or being overly tired are also signs to beware of.
Note that the above signs do not necessarily mean that someone is suffering from poor mental health. You need to compare someone’s normal behavior with their current behavior to evaluate if they may be experiencing a mental health issue.
How can a counselor help with poor mental health?
Attending counseling can be critical if you have a mental health concern. Seeking professional help from an occupational therapist can help you address the difficulties you may have in your everyday life. Advanced care professionals in occupational therapy doctorate programs, such as those offered by American International College, work with you to help you rebuild your independence and function at the highest level possible. Through programs such as this, students are prepared to take on leadership, research and educational roles in the field of occupational therapy.
Here’s more on how a counselor can help you overcome poor mental health:
Work with you to develop coping strategies
Counseling can help you develop coping strategies when dealing with stressful moments. A professional counselor listens to your concern without criticizing or judging you.
Working with a counselor allows you to build a safe relationship where you can be free to express yourself. After listening to your concerns, the professional works with you to devise coping strategies to help you deal with your problems.
Coping strategies can include meditation and deep breathing to improve your ability to function.
Help improve your emotional regulation
Emotions play a critical role in mental health. Learning to regulate your emotions can help you manage poor mental health.
Working with a counselor allows you to address emotions that you’ve been avoiding. Feelings of unworthiness, loneliness or rejection can trigger anxiety and depression. A mental health therapist helps you deal with all these feelings, ensuring you’re less worried and more focused on building a positive life.
Improve your confidence and decision-making skills
It can be challenging to deal with poor mental health, especially when you don’t know what to expect or how to feel.
Working with a counselor can help you understand your feelings and recognize negative self-talk. The therapist identifies negative thinking patterns that lead to feelings of hopelessness and provides advice on reducing negative self-talk.
In addition, a therapist can work with you to create short and long-term goals and discover personal strengths, which leads to improved self-esteem and self-acceptance. You will learn to make better decisions as you view yourself in a more positive light.
Enhance your ability to manage stress
Most people suffering from poor mental health are afraid to seek professional help. Unfortunately, this only worsens the condition and leads to stress.
A professional counselor takes the time to understand the reasons behind your poor mental health. You get to know what factors triggered your condition. Counseling also provides room for healing as you learn how to cope and improve.
Understand yourself and your condition better
Working with a mental health coach helps you better understand yourself and your mental health condition. As you begin to open up and speak about the issues you are experiencing, they can determine the factors that have led to your illness.
The counselor can then provide advice on the best coping strategies.
Provide treatment options to understand other people
Although counseling allows you to understand yourself, it also provides room for you to understand the people around you better. This includes your family, friends and colleagues.
In a counseling session, the therapist allows you to express yourself and may recommend cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapy allows you to understand the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and how they affect your life.
Focus on immediate concerns to prevent mental health problems
A report released by LifeWorks revealed that 25% of Americans have a high mental health risk, with isolation, anxiety and work productivity being the top factors that lead to mental health problems. Failure to address top stressors such as failure to meet career goals, issues with job security and finances can lead to depression.
Fortunately, a counseling session can help address these concerns and prevent poor mental health from escalating into a mental health problem.
A therapist can also help you navigate issues such as grief if you’ve been experiencing sadness due to a loved one’s death. This helps prevent distress from progressing into depression.
Recovering from poor mental health mainly involves changing your behavior, thinking and mood. An early intervention can prevent poor mental health from progressing into a mental health problem. Working with a mental health professional who provides counseling sessions will help you understand your feelings and learn valuable coping skills to handle life’s difficulties.