It is common practice to treat cold or flu symptoms. The options for Vitamin C supplements, coughHappy 2 drops and preventative flu shots are widely available. What about mental illness, do people treat it like their physical health and seek out treatment? Approximately one in every four adults in the United States has symptoms of a mental illness yet many don’t seek the help they need.

There are many studies that prove taking care of your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Think of it this way: We go to annual checkups with our family physician, our dentist and our ophthalmologists, so why don’t we routinely check up on our mental health as well?

One reason to take care of your mental health is because it leads to better physical health. A study conducted in 2012 found that among those individuals who have a mental illness, most do less for their physical health then those who do not have a mental illness (i.e. not partaking in a healthy exercise routine or eating a balanced diet). Ultimately, their mental health has a direct, negative effect on their physical health.

Another reason? Your career. Studies have confirmed that over 70 percent of individuals with mental illness have an annual income of $20,000 or less. Many with mental illness are unable to work in certain environments or require multiple leaves of absence from their job.

Because research has found that over 40 million Americans live with mental health issues, there are currently more studies, and therefore, knowledge, about the disease. This means there are many resources available through your doctor, online health websites and family members. Family Guidance in St. Joseph is one of those resources for you. Contact us or visit our website today if you are someone you know has symptoms of a mental illness.