How Important is Your Mental Health to You?

”Woman holding hands with others
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The mental health of a person plays a major role in the overall health of an individual since in today’s world, everything moves at a faster pace, which can lead to burnout, stress, anxiety, and depression. While a lot of attention wasn’t given to it previously, it has become evident that one’s mental health should be addressed properly, and in some cases, the proper authorities notified if the person appears to be a threat to him/herself or someone else. So let’s take a closer look at how you can maintain a healthy mind and body in this fast-paced, overwhelming environment that we live in today.

First, we must be aware of how easily the growing surroundings around us can make us flustered. Case in point: being ‘busy’ in today’s social circles is considered to be an honorable trait. While it is admirable and healthy to be active, especially in your senior years, it can lead to a decline in your mental stability if you do too much at once. This can lead to a feeling of overwhelmed and subsequent stress, depress or something worse. Employee burnout has quickly become one of the biggest challenges that businesses have experienced. It’s been termed as the new normal because it occurs so frequently.  

Upset woman in front of computer
It doesn’t have to be this way

This has led to the World Health Organization declaring in 2018 that depression is a global crisis with over 300 million people suffering from it. This number consists of people from all age groups, races, socio-economic backgrounds, and more. Around 800,000 deaths per year are attributed to depression. Despite this growing awareness, around 10% of people seek therapy or medication. The number of people with undocumented mental conditions is considered double the number of registered cases.

Even if you aren’t experiencing a mental health problem, it is a good idea to actively self-evaluate your mind to ensure that you are in a state of wellbeing. Your mental health is connected with your sense of self and if it didn’t play an important role in your life previously, it should now.

Why Should it be Important?

Mental health doesn’t just contribute to improving your sense of wellness, it also ensures that you are able to go about your life without worries or problems. The following are some benefits that you can get when you pay attention to your mental health and put it first:

Better Productivity

A healthy mind can allow you to be more productive in everything you do. Self-doubt, anxiety, and stress are physically draining and can lead to fatigue, illness, and depression. While the performance at your job is important, by looking after your mind, you can actually boost your productivity. It can also cut down on your absenteeism and help you be more focused on your work. So be sure to take breaks and avoid being chained to your desk.

Improved Interpersonal Relationships

Happy people at a computer
Photo by Fox from Pexels

Interpersonal relationships are built on emotions and if you’re channeling negative energy, your relationships are also going to reflect this factor. You might have shallow relationships or ones that are toxic for all involved.

Take a moment to step back, breathe and evaluate your mental condition. Invest in self-caring activities that allow you to curb your negative, unhealthy behavior or your thinking patterns. By actively monitoring them, you can improve your mindset and in turn, improve your interpersonal relationships.

More Successful

In today’s world, many people define success as material possessions. On the other hand, a person’s definition of success can differ. If giving into the rat race is causing you to feel depressed or anxious, take a step back.

Finding success in something that you are passionate about is a better course of action and when you are mentally healthy, you will understand this aspect more. It will help you come to a decision more easily and allow you to pick a route that you will be more successful at. Thinking with a clear head will play a major role in defining your success.

Better Health

Stress and depression are silent killers that not only affect your mind but also contribute to physical health problems. According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the leading contributors to disability and physical problems that can severely mar a person’s quality of life.

A study conducted in 2012 by the Health Services Research highlighted how people with mental health problems were more likely to seek treatment if it had impacted their health. The correlation between the two conditions might not seem significant, but subjects who received treatment noted that their physical health improved as their mental health got better.

How to Put it First

A major issue is that many people don’t always consider putting their mental health first and usually have unhealthy habits that are difficult to let go of. For this reason, they’re either hesitant or don’t know where to turn to when looking to improve it. The following are a few pointers that can help you improve their mental health.

Seeking Professional Help

Couple talking to a medical professional

If you feel like it, seek professional help. The stigma associated with going to a therapist or a psychologist is why some people have an undiagnosed mental condition. Even if you don’t have a mental illness, going to a therapist is still helpful for you. They can assist you, particularly if you are experiencing burnout and need someone to talk to, and don’t be afraid to go. You’ll be surprised how many doctors and police visit a psychiatrist every week.

Setting Boundaries

One of the major ways in which someone might seek acceptance from others is by agreeing to what they say. Learn to say no. People are inherently polite and want to please but don’t let this come at a cost to you. If something makes you uncomfortable, if it is unreasonable or if you are just unable to do it, just say no or at least say that you will think about it and contact them later.

Learn How to Chill!

One gentleman told us something that everyone should do. He said when things appear overwhelming, just sit back and confront each issue step by step in contrast to all at once. Write the issues down on paper. Then look at each one and separately and calmly ask yourself ‘how can I fix this issue?’ It may not be one simple fix but may require a number of steps. Either way, organize it so that you have a clear understanding of how to proceed with each step. Once these issues are clearly laid out in front of you, you will feel better on how to approach them, which will help reduce your anxiety and consequently you’re the whole outlook on the situation and yourself. It’s a simple physiological chain reaction and it works!

Put Yourself First

Start putting yourself first. Many people will put everything else first except themselves. From the demands of the job to the wants and needs of their parents, their siblings, their pets, and more, they’re giving so much to others that there is nothing left for themselves. For once, do things that you like and that is better for your mental health. Always remember that putting yourself first is not selfish, even if it might feel like it at the start.  

Remember, a strong mind leads to a strong body. By actively taking measures to improve your mental health, you can make a significant difference in your life and the lives of others around you.

A Formulated Opinion Behind Mass Shootings

Minute of silence at White House for Sandy Hook school shooting
Former President Obama gives a moment of silence at the White House for the Sandy Hook school shooting.

Gun Violence Overview

A glance at the list of gun assaults that have taken place on American soil is chilling. The earliest traces of a massacre was in Colonial America in the 18th century, and the number of casualties as a consequence of gun-related violence at schools has shown a sharp increase since then. It has increased gradually and now has come to the forefront of the minds of the populace and the media.

 The shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are just some of the high-profile cases of shootings at schools.

While the regularity and prevalence of these events are alarming and subsequent gun control demonstrations have resulted in endless debate, there is another intriguing factor of mass shootings that evades the attention of the average person and that is not often highlighted by the media.

The central question we will focus on is what drives a person to shoot innocent people? Specifically, what incites them to carry out school genocide? 

Our objective is to understand a person’s reasons for inciting a mass shooting, particularly those aimed at schools where the victims are innocent children and teachers.

Our conclusions were not designed to imply a defense for the actions of the attackers or condone their actions. There are scores of conclusions from experts and non-experts alike and our discussion is but one of them. 

Executive Partner and Director of the Mental Health Law Practice Group of the Abrams, Fensterman law firm, Carolyn Reinach Wolf’s Psychology Today article “Guardrails for the College-Bound With Mental Health Needs – What every worried parent should know to keep on-campus risks in check” was discussed on CBS Radio 880 by Dr. Steve Kussin.

Suggested Motives 

School shootings are the subject of raging debates in forums varying from media outlets to public demonstrations and social media. Nonetheless, the main impression that people gather from their discussions is twofold.

One prevailing notion is that these atrocious attacks are the result of the perpetrator’s psychiatric condition, but another popular rationale is that such deeds are the side effects of a dysfunctional social environment. 

High School Students Demonstrate in the March for Our Lives Protest (27126435158)
Students Demonstrate in the March for Our Lives Protest
Pretty much agreed upon by the experts and citizens alike is that these actions can be attributed to a combination of individual and societal determinants, not specifically one or the other.

For instance, the treatment meted out to Anders Behring Breivik, the antagonist who executed 77 people in two separate terrorist attacks on July 22, 2011, provides an interesting case study. Although he did not target a school, he did provoke genocide, which is exactly what a school shooting is: a bloodbath in the public domain.

In this particular case, the Norwegian media and the world at large concluded that the aggressor was concluded to be insane as a socially impaired individual; hence, the lone wolf narrative that is often attributed to such people. He was motivated by a radical right-wing ideology. Truthfully, both considerations are correct to varying extents. Simply attributing the attacker’s intentions to just one of the two would simply be a misnomer.

Part of the reason this stance is significant is that there is unlikely to be a single, definitive event that transpires in a person’s life that would make them feel the need to become a mass murderer. Rather, the impetus and incentive are far more likely to germinate over time due to their mental frailty and the negative impact on society.

We can assume that the assailant was free to make independent decisions which led to such a catastrophe and we can also yield to the notion that his surroundings played a part in his cognitive dysfunctionality.

The likelihood is that both the aforementioned factors supplement each other. Every individual harbors of angst and is inclined to be aggressive at one point or another. It is human nature; however, hardly any individuals are driven to vent their frustration with the aid of weaponry in a public venue.

With regards to the pressure that society has impaired on some individuals, a number of these murderers who executed this type of genocide showed symptoms that they felt that others were against them and this adversity led them to carry out such ill-conceived and unfortunate acts.

The guilty individual’s perception of society may shape and eventually trigger their need for violence. The extent to which they are affected determines if they are willing to take extreme measures. Therefore, we can conclude that the interaction of personality traits and external factors is what causes an individual to behave in such a way.

The Lone Wolf

Iberian WolfAs mentioned, individuals who engage in such drastic behavior are likely to suffer from a lack of social integration.

For example, in his studies, French sociologist Emile Durkheim concluded that cultural determinants can contribute to mental illness.

He also estimated that individualistic societies are far more likely to have cases of suicide, homicide, and genocide in contrast to societies that accommodate individuals.

A person who is considered a misfit or does not have the required social skills is likely to become a ‘lone wolf’. In time, the aggression and rage they feel towards the community that has shunned them may manifest as violent outbursts. 

These individuals may look for some group to identify with, especially if it is political. This could be the first red flag of which there may be many more.

On the other hand, an individual who has developed strong bonds with others in their environment is more apt to be free from such thoughts, this rationale bears a striking resemblance to many of the school shooters when it is learned that they exhibit lackluster social and interpersonal skills.


We are not saying that people who feel that they are social outcasts are going to exhibit such behavior or that those who get violent feel a lack  of being accepted. Their overwhelming emotional chaos can lead them down a path of violence, which becomes an outlet for the animosity they can potentially feel towards society; consequently, we should be vigilant in noticing such behavior, be aware of red flags, and take the necessary actions to prevent a full-blown tragedy. 

The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

A stigma refers to a sense of shame or a feeling of contempt attached to a particular person or a group based on their condition. The focus of our conversation will be the stigma that has consumed mental health.


There are more than 52  million Americans who endure some type of mental disorder and subsequently, many find themselves on the receiving end of condemnation.

Patients who suffer from mental illness embody one of the most widely stigmatized groups in the United States. 


Whatever the reason why a person is depressed, if that individual starts showing abnormal signs of behavior, he/she may face ridicule and taunts as a result, depending on the circumstances.

It should be noted that the reverse is also true. Those that are bullied are also prone to depression. Such is the case of the tragic situation with Adriana Olivia Kuch who committed suicide after an alleged attack by four teens in her New Jersey high school.

So whether it is that a student is depressed before or after the fact, displaying signs of depression can only lead to more issues when at school, since other students may see that person as ‘different’.

People who are not educated about the perception of depression are unable to comprehend that it may be more than a state of mind. It is certainly plausible to believe that this person may need medication or a psychological evaluation if he/she feels depressed continuously.

Individuals who suffer from a mental disorder are already prone to feeling disgruntled and disheartened. It is only logical to assume that upon encountering a negative attitude from others around them, they will feel more demoralized and discouraged. A stigma serves as a barrier for those who are already in considerable pain.

A new initiative has been launched in recent years where personalities wear custom shoes with pink laces to support breast cancer awareness or rainbow laces to support LGBT groups. This is not just a marketing gimmick to attract attention or stay in the good books of the public, but a way to enlighten others.

The Outcome

Girl Being Bullied Now, imagine if instead of such a move, people engage in jeers and mockery. Tormenting those who are experiencing a hardship of the mental variety will not have a favorable outcome and may even drive them to act recklessly. Its societal effects include being ostracized and excluded.

Also, low esteem is likely to abound from a prevalent stigma. The recent school shootings may be the result of bullying from a person with low self-esteem, at least to a point. Eradicating the stigma of mental illness may be one step in combating these violent tendencies or at least help to reduce or delay the chances of an extremely violent outburst. Like cancers, bullying an individual, especially based on any form of stigmatization is a curse that no one wants.

How to Fight It?

The statistics regarding mental health patients are alarming. They delineate that 1 in 5 adults in the USA, which is roughly 44 million people, suffer from a mental illness in a given year.

1 in 25 adults experiences a serious mental condition whereas 1 in 5 children is likely to suffer from a mental issue in their youth, and approximately 450 million people suffer from a mental health problem worldwide.

That is a damning example of how mental issues can manifest so early in our lives; hence, another means that should be addressed by the medical profession. Additionally, this type of stigma is to converse freely about mental health. People should be encouraged to discuss the problems they face and they should be provided with a forum to do just that.

For instance, there are therapy groups and even on Facebook and websites where people can discuss their mental health concerns openly using their moniker or with anonymity if they wish. A person who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a bipolar patient can write about their problems online and find a supportive audience in the process. This will give those who take mental health for granted an authentic, firsthand account of the trials and tribulations of people who suffer from mental issues.

An extension of the first method is to educate oneself about the types of mental conditions, what they entail, and how the illness affects patients. If you devote time to those who are suffering or give them a shoulder to cry on, you will learn much more about mental disorders. A small act of kindness will go a long way to eliminate the stigma of mental health. Any movement starts with one individual and if more people adopt the same approach, a positive difference can be made.

Another suggestion is to mind your language. Quite often, youngsters and even adults may use terminology such as ‘retard’ to describe someone who they consider an outcast. The person on the receiving end of their remarks may be actually suffering from a mental disease. Therefore, individuals should refrain from using such works as adjectives to describe others and show a modicum of respect and compassion.

Man who appears to be mentally ill

Speaking of which, it is encouraged that people show kindness to those who exhibit mental disorders. This is why schools often plan academic trips to mental facilities where gifted children reside. Interacting with them will represent a learning curve for students and ensure that they are a little more sympathetic and thoughtful in their daily lives.

These are just some of the ways we can combat the stigma affecting mental health. A little effort can hopefully signal a shift towards a more understanding society and that in turn can help to be an alternative to someone turning to violence.

Having sympathy and compassion for an individual who is mentally ill is of course encouraged, but we would be remiss if we didn’t address a contrarian viewpoint regarding people with mental issues. If there is any sign of a person showing potential violent tendencies, through verbal statements, social posting, or just a change of normal routine or behavior that you think may lead to violence, the proper authorities must know about it. It may be difficult for a family member to do this, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. It’s possible that the individual may not just be dangerous to others, but he/she may also be dangerous to themselves. As they say “If you see something, say something!”.

Panic Attacks and Disorder: Causes and Some Self-Help Techniques

You are in the hospital on your way to visiting a loved one and the doctor tells you that the person has passed away or you come to work thinking it is a going to be a normal day and you are handed a pink slip. Maybe it’s a situation where your relationship with your spouse is deteriorating. These are just some of the situations that could spark a panic attack. For those lingering situations, such an ongoing bad relationship or continuing financial issues, you may encounter panic attacks routinely and they may come on randomly when you least expect it.

What Exactly are Panic Attacks?

Man showing signs of a possible heart attack

Panic attacks are the sudden episodes of extreme fears that can lead to the activation of several body functions that may include irregular breathing or problems breathing, rapid heartbeat, nausea, stomach pains or cramps, muscle or chest pains or other abnormal physical experiences.

As mentioned in the scenarios above, you may experience a few panic attacks in your lifetime, such as dealing with financial problems, divorce, work-related issues, personal health issues, seriously ill family member or other circumstances where fear overrides your everyday mood. In some circumstances, women who give birth may feel depressed, called Postpartum Depression.  If the panic attacks continue, it could elevate your condition to a level of stress denoted as panic disorder and if not addressed by a medical professional, other ailments may materialize, such as depression.

For many, the panic disorder they are feeling is based upon a real experience they are going through, while others worry about things that may not be that realistic, but due to some metabolic reasons, they too may suffer from panic disorder.

If you do experience a panic attack, it is highly recommended to seek the advice of a medical professional for treatment. In the interim, there is so much information associated with this condition, we can only scratch the surface, so, as a guideline, we summarize below answers to some questions you may have regarding panic attack.s

Causes of panic attacks

Besides sudden, unexpected natural life experiences, researchers attribute additional factors that can increase the risk or even become an underlying factor of panic attacks in adults. 


There is partial evidence that panic disorders might be attributed to genetics, as studies have shown that people with a family history of panic attacks and disorders are more vulnerable to this psychological ailment; however, it has not been proven that genetics is the root cause or only attribute to cause this effect. Indeed, for many, it may not be a contributing factor at all. 

Major life events

For some, stress can be part of their everyday lives and might not lead to panic attacks. However, there are some life events, such as the death or serious illness of a loved one that can cause considerable anxiety, which can ultimately lead to panic disorder. In most cases, these attacks are temporary and usually die down with gradual lowering of stress levels.

Traumatic Memories

For many people, different incidents become the reason of panic attacks. Physical or mental abuse, sexual assaults or serious accidents are some of the reasons that can induce panic attacks.

Unhealthy lifestyle

Eating junk food, alcoholism, excessive smoking, and caffeine consumption may increase the risk of panic attacks. Caffeine especially can cause your heart to beat faster and when you are suffering from panic disorder, drinking caffeine related liquids is not recommended.

Healthy Lifestyle

Assorted FruitsSome foods that can help keep you calmer are:
Green Leafy Vegetables
Organic Turkey Breast
Dark Chocolate

And then there is exercise. How much exercise do you get each day? If you had to think about that one, you most likely are not getting enough physical exercise. Experts suggest exercising to the equivalent of 10,000 steps per day; however, we reiterate, seek the advice of a professional before changing your diet or physical lifestyle, especially if you are on medication.

Panic disorder can affect the quality of your life

Constant panic attacks at different times can confine you. People try to avoid the places where they have experienced a panic attack. These consequences can make your social life very challenging. As a result, people often start to avoid all situations where human interaction is involved. Other bad consequences of panic attacks are:

  • You will see a sharp dip in your confidence level and it will consequently affect your professional and educational life
  • Your family and the loved ones will also be affected by episodes of your panic attacks

Self-help measures to tackle panic attacks

Determined to help yourself is very important to courageously face the issue of a panic attack. There are several measures one should take to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the occurrence of these attacks.

Keep Calm

Some people find solace in meditation, while others are able to find a sense of relaxation listening to soft music. Others keep them self busy and feel gratified with daily senses of accomplishments.

Then there is therapy or visiting a psychiatrist, which could include prescribed medication to help you keep calm.

Any of these methods or any combination of these methods could be beneficial to your well being when being subjected to panic disorders.

Accepting the problem

Most people try to avoid the problem of panic disorder instead of facing it. This behavior can’t help you to get rid of the panic attacks. Accepting the problem and all the emotions associated with it is the first step to treating this psychological problem. Whenever you experience a panic attack, it is helpful to keep reminding yourself that it will end soon. Knowing that you will come out of the situation unharmed can reduce the intensity of the symptoms.

Accepting panic attacks also reduce the levels of anxiety before or after the occurrence of panic attacks.

Try to rationalize it

Another thing which can help you survive an episode of a panic attack is to keep yourself grounded. Panic attacks can the reaction to imaginary perceived threats, i.e., one is not in actual danger. Also, keep reminding yourself that the attack is caused due to a chemical imbalance in the brain and it will get back to normal after a few minutes.

Tackle the triggers

Handling the triggers of a panic attack is very crucial in managing panic attacks. Triggers of panic attacks are a set of conditions may remind you of a bad experience. Let’s suppose you acquire a panic attack while shopping in the grocery store. Shopping or grocery store might not be the reason of a panic attack, but your brain may acknowledge an event on an unconscious level where some feature in the store makes an association with something unpleasant and that can trigger the attack.

People who make you anxious and uncomfortable may also prove to be the triggers of your anxiety. Avoid these triggers if possible, but it might not feasible to do it every time. Therefore, it is imperative to carefully recognize the signs so you can already know what is happening to you in order to apply an appropriate coping mechanism.

Apart from treating yourself with self-help techniques, you can also try alternative medicines and other methods of treatments to address the problem of panic attacks, but NEVER DO IT ON YOUR OWN!  Seek the advice of a medical professional. You may be pleasantly surprised by what some therapy can do. In addition, your doctor may prescribe medication that can keep you calm. There are scores of prescription medications available for stress and anxiety related issues but speak to your medical professional first before doing anything on your own.

In addition, if you are looking for help, but don’t know where to turn, this website is a valuable source of information that can help get you started.