Mental health refers to our emotional and psychological state, our social well–being and how we feel about ourselves and interact with others. Mental health is not the same as mental illness, although poor mental health can lead to mental and physical illnesses.
When we have good mental health, we are resilient, can handle life’s challenges and stresses, have meaningful relationships and make sound decisions. Mental health, like physical health, is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood and old age.
Being mentally healthy is influenced by life experiences, relationships with others, physical health and one’s environment. Just as people may experience physical problems over the course of their lives, they may also experience emotional or mental health problems that affect their thinking, mood and behaviors. This does not necessarily mean that a person who is going through a difficult time and is experiencing poor mental health has a mental illness. Feeling miserable and socially isolated are red flags that one’s mental health needs attention.
Mental illness refers to a wide range of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behavior. Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, social standing, religion or race/ethnicity. People with mental illness often experience distress and problems functioning at work, home and in social situations. Mental illness is not something the person can “overcome with willpower,” and can be caused by biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry, trauma and abuse, and family history of mental illness.The major types of mental illness include:• Depression• Anxiety• Mood disorders, including bipolar• Personality disorders• Schizophrenia• Trauma disorders• Eating disorders• Addictive behaviors
Signs and symptoms of mental illness vary, but may include changes in sleep, appetite, and energy level, severe mood swings, persistent thoughts or compulsions, hearing voices, social withdrawal, feeling sad, hopeless, or agitated, having trouble performing everyday tasks, or wanting to hurt oneself or others.
With the right treatment, people can and do recover from mental illness. Friends and family members can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need. Primary care physicians can refer individuals to psychiatrists and other professionals who specialize in mental health treatment. Treating a physical illness might require medications and physical therapy, and treating a mental illness might also require medications and different therapies. For many people, the first step is to recognize there is a problem and be willing to accept help.
Dr. Antrell Davis is a native of Cuthbert, Georgia, but currently resides in Washington, D.C. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology in 2007, a Master’s degree in social work from Howard University in 2009, and she received her Doctorate of Management degree from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). Dr. Antrell currently serves as the program trainer for the United States Department of Defense and she trains social workers in the areas of suicide prevention, technology, mandated reporting, and clinical protocols. She is an expert on engagement practices. Dr.Antrell was recently recognized in the Rural Leader Magazine as a 40 under 40 rural leader.
Dr. Antrell has made it her passion to serve others. She enjoys volunteering and mentoring young people looking to improve their lives. She also admires her family and friends because they are the individuals that continue to support her endeavors. She enjoys traveling, especially internationally, to connect with other cultures. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Dr. Antrell encourages everyone to never give up on their dreams and to read Romans 8:28 daily, which states: and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.