HealthyLife® Students' Self-Care Guide

Section IV-Mental Health Facts

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  Characteristics of Mental Health

Mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness.  It includes how you feel about yourself and how you adjust to life events.  However, the National Mental Health Association cites 10 characteristics of people who are mentally healthy.

  1. They feel good about themselves.
  2. They do not become overwhelmed by emotions, such as fear, anger, love, jealousy, guilt, or anxiety.
  3. They have lasting and satisfying personal relationships.
  4. They feel comfortable with other people.
  5. They can laugh at themselves and with others.
  6. They have respect for themselves and for others even if there are differences.
  7. They are able to accept life's disappointments.
  8. They can meet life's demands and handle their problems with they arise.
  9. They make their own decisions.
  10. They shape their environment whenever possible and adjust to it when necessary.

  It's Okay to Ask for Help

Many people are reluctant to use mental health services because of the “stigma” of having an “emotional” problem. Society has a tendency to view mental health issues differently from medical ones. When someone breaks a leg, has chest pains, or needs to get a prescription, they’ll see a doctor. However, when they experience depression, excessive fears, or a problem with alcohol, they may be embarrassed to seek help. Many people view these conditions as “weaknesses” they should handle themselves. Unfortunately, this view prevents them from getting professional assistance that may alleviate their problems.

To recognize an emotional problem and receive help is not at all a sign of weakness. Rather, these positive actions are characteristics of strong individuals. Also, participating in your company’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or seeing a therapist at a mental health clinic or student counseling center is completely confidential. No information will be released without your permission except in situations involving child or elder abuse, or suicidal or homicidal intent.


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March 21, 2007