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Mental Health

Summary

What is mental health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

What are mental illnesses?

Mental illnesses are serious disorders which can affect your thinking, mood, and behavior. They may be occasional or long-lasting. They can affect your ability to relate to others and function each day. Mental disorders are common; more than half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a mental disorder at some time in their life. But there are treatments. People with mental health problems can get better, and many of them recover completely.

Why is mental health important?

Mental health is important because it can help you to

  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Be physically healthy
  • Have good relationships
  • Make meaningful contributions to your community
  • Work productively
  • Realize your full potential

How can I improve my mental health?

There are steps you can take to help you improve your mental health. They include

Start Here

  • (Mental Health America)
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in
  • (Department of Health and Human Services)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Treatments and Therapies

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

Related Issues

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in
  • (American Psychological Association) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American Heart Association)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • (American Psychological Association) Also in

Specifics

  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • (Center for Mental Health Services) - PDF
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in
  • (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF
  • (NAMI)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in

Statistics and Research

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health) Also in

Striking laughter

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Find an Expert

  • From the National Institutes of Health

Children

Teenagers

Women

  • (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
  • (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF

Patient Handouts