Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mental Health Wellness Week

Today is the beginning of Mental Health Wellness Week. There are a bunch of different mental health awareness months, weeks and days, and it is sort of hard to keep them all straight. I think the main difference about Mental Health Wellness Week is that there is more of a focus on keeping your mental wellness, versus being aware of mental illness.

Since I love being metaphorical, let me use the metaphor of cancer. If you know you have cancer, it is very important for you to be seeing your doctor, getting treatment, eating healthy foods, and doing other things to try to help you along in your battle. But if you do not have cancer, it is still important for you to get regular check-ups, eat healthy foods, get exercise, and do other things to stay healthy. And it is also important to keep track of your health so that if you notice something different, you can find out right away if it is something potentially dangerous. Cancer, when caught early, has a better chance of being treated successfully.

It is the same with mental health. Even if you are a person who has never considered yourself as possibly having a mental illness, it is important to pay attention to your mental wellness.

Anxiety and depression are probably the most common mental health conditions, and they are probably also the ones that people are most likely to hide or ignore. People may think that these things are just parts of their personality... "I'm just a gloomy person," or "I'm just a nervous person." But if your gloominess or nervousness are negatively effecting your life... preventing you from having as much fun as you'd like to, working as much as you'd like to, having as close of relationships with your family as  you'd like to, etc... then maybe it is a mental health condition.

According to the Mental Health Wellness Week website,  people with good mental health wellness are better able to function during stressful situations, bounce back from adversity, communicate about their feelings, form good interpersonal relationships, set and achieve realistic goals, seek help in difficult times, appreciate themselves, and enjoy life to the fullest.

We all love online quizzes, right? Here are a few screening tools that can help you check up on yourself.

Epstein Mental Health Inventory - A quick screening tool that can tell you if you have any symptoms of common mental health conditions.

Mental Health America - A site with many different screening tools, including one for youth and one for parents, one for symptoms of psychosis, and one for how healthy your workplace is.

Psychology Today Mental Health Assessment - A longer (about 15 minutes) quiz that screens for various mental health conditions.

 ULifeline - This is a somewhat longer screening that is geared towards college students (you are able to enter the name of your college and it gives you information about that college's mental health resources at the end of the screening) but could be useful to anyone.

What's My M3? - A quick screening (about three minutes) that looks for symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. It then shows you whether you have a high, medium, or unlikely risk of each of these conditions.

Remember, these screeners are not actually diagnosing you with a mental health condition... only checking to see whether you have common symptoms that might point to something. Scoring high on one of these also does not necessarily mean you will need medication, or even therapy. These are just meant to give you an idea of something you might want to talk to a doctor about.

You can also visit the Mental Health Wellness Week website to learn about risk factors for poor mental wellness, and specific strategies and techniques for improving your mental wellness.

Thanks, everyone! I'm glad we had this little talk.


  1. Great article, Angel, and you're so right that it's important to keep track of our mental health too!

  2. I love your cancer analogy! But what I love most about this is that every time someone discusses that we could ALL do things to improve our mental health (even counselor-types like me), it really reduces the stigma around discussing mental wellness AND mental illness. Thanks for this wonderful post!

  3. Great article! I love the metaphor that you used about cancer and wellness. Thank you so much for promoting mental health wellness.


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