The month of October is recognized as National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month. This annual observance happens to bring greater awareness to the need for proper mental health screening services. A mental health screening can be a simple conversation about your emotional health with a counselor to determine if you might be at-risk of a mental health disorder like depression, anxiety, or even a problem with gambling.
It’s important to remember that mental health disorders are very common — they affect one in five Americans at some point in their lives, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. So, if you find yourself struggling, be kind and take care of yourself.
In addition to getting screened for a mental health condition, here are three ways you can check-in and take care of yourself or help with someone else’s mental health this October.
- Ask yourself what has been worrying you recently. Take time to think about what has been stressing you out. Is it dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, a deadline at work, or even a new relationship? No matter what the reasons might be, notice them and address them as soon as possible. For example, if work is stressing you out, consider having a conversation with your supervisor about your workload and ways to improve it. Managing these stressors can help you feel more in control and less stressed as a result.
- Get a good night’s rest. Sleep helps your brain work properly and prepares you mentally for the following day. Without getting enough sleep, you could experience anxiety, mood swings, irritability, or depression. To ensure you’re regularly getting enough sleep, set a consistent bedtime, try not to eat or exercise right before bed, and put your phone away so you’re not tempted to scroll late into the night.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Your mental and physical state are deeply connected. To help keep your mental health strong, you should try and prioritize your physical health through regular exercise. Physical activity can produce endorphins, help manage stress or anxiety, and improve your focus while also being great for your heart, joints, and muscles.
If you or someone you know are interested in a mental health screening, there is a wealth of mental health resources from Mental Health America and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Before You Bet also provides a way to gauge your risk level of problem gambling with a free, two-minute quiz.