What is Mental Health?
A state of well-being in which a person realizes his or her own abilities,
can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully
and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
What does it mean to be mentally healthy?
- Coping in a healthy way to deal with unexpected events
- A peaceful balance of feeling and functioning well
- Being physically active
- Social and emotional well being
Common Warning Signs of mental health conditions:
- Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others.
- An unusual drop in functioning, especially at school or work, or difficulty
performing familiar tasks.
- Problems with concentration, memory, or logical thought and speech that
are hard to explain.
- Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch;
- Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or deterioration in personal hygiene.
- Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings or “mood swings.”
- Avoidance of over-stimulating situations.
- Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity; apathy.
- A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings;
a sense of unreality.
- Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings
or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical
of childhood in an adult.
- Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling.
- Uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior.
When to seek out Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is the establishment of a therapeutic relationship between
you and the therapist. This process is set up in phases; beginning, middle
and final phase. Therapy is necessary when someone is experiencing a current
or past problem that is affecting their day to day functioning. Therapy
is important when these issues cannot be managed without professional guidance.
What works in therapy?
- Sharing your thoughts and processing your feelings in a safe environment.
- Taking your therapy seriously.
- Doing the work both inside and outside of session.
What does not work in therapy?
- Closing off your thoughts and feelings.
- Not being honest about your true feelings
- Not doing the work in your everyday life.
- Missing more than 3 appointments interrupts the therapy process and can
result in termination
It is common for most people to feel sad or depressed at times. These feelings
can be a normal reaction to life difficulties and loss. But when feelings
of intense sadness -- including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless
– persist for days or weeks keeping you from functioning normally,
your depression may be something more than sadness. Key signs of depression
include: Depressed mood; Fatigue or loss of energy; Feelings of worthlessness
or guilt; Impaired concentration; An inability to sleep or excessive sleeping;
Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in most activities; Recurrent
thoughts of suicide; Significant change in weight. The good news is that
depression is very treatable.
Is a normal reaction to stress that everyone experiences at times, and
can actually be beneficial in some situations. However, for some people
anxiety can become overwhelming and excessive. It is common for someone
to feel anxious or nervous before taking a test, or making an important
decision, but anxiety disorder cause so much distress that it interferes
with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. There are a wide
variety of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Social anxiety disorder,
panic disorder and specific phobias to name a few. Anxiety disorders are
among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.
Grief and Loss
Grief is a natural emotional response to a significant loss. The intensity
of these feelings of loss can vary depending on the significance that
this loss represents in an individual’s life. Experiencing grief
is a natural reaction that may look different for everyone. Some people
may express their grief through crying while others may become more irritable.
Yet, others may experience fear, guilt, and disbelief. Likewise, people
process their grief at different rates. There is no set timeline to determine
the appropriate amount of time in which this grief can be resolved. Thus,
people can grief their losses from a few months to over a year.
Loss can be experienced in several ways:
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of health
- End of a Relationship
- Loss of a job
Trauma and Stress Related Disorders
Many people, both children and adults, have difficulty coping with the
experience of a traumatic or stressful event. Examples of these events
include combat, physical, mental and emotional abuse, neglect, care accidents,
natural disasters, and many more. Although many people experience negative
reactions to these events, some people experience a long-term change that
interferes with their daily lives. These reactions can include flashbacks
of the event, avoidance of places, people or things that remind a person
of the event, sleeping too much, difficulty falling asleep or staying
asleep, and many more.
How the body reacts to a stressor, real or imagined, a stimulus that causes
stress. Acute stressors affect an organism in the short term; chronic
stressors over the longer term. Signs of physical stress can include:
headaches, insomnia, sleep disturbance, fatigue, restlessness, indigestion,
frequent colds and flu. Behavioral, cognitive and emotional signs of stress
include: memory problems, inability to concentrate, poor judgment, seeing
only the negative, boredom-apathy, moodiness and/or easily upset.
Coping is expending conscious or unconscious effort to solve personal and
interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress
and conflict. Ask yourself: Is what I am currently doing working for me?
Am I coping effectively? How do I know if I’m coping in a healthy manner?
- Coping strategies can be either positive or negative.
- Positive or adaptive strategies decrease the amount of stress perceived
and experienced, while negative or maladaptive strategies diminish symptoms
of stress without addressing the real problem.
- Blurring of boundaries
- Negative attitude
- Anger outbursts
- Negative self-talk
- Realistic expectations-Set realistic goals
- Planning-Anticipate problems, have a backup plan
- Reframing-Change the way you look at things
- Relaxation-Learn relaxation techniques, take time-out for leisure
- Discuss the problem-Utilize existing social supports to problem solve
- Do deep breathing
- Tense and relax muscles
- Shoulder shrugs
- Take a walk
- Listen to music
- Spend time with a pet, friend, or loved one
- Engage in a hobby (singing, dancing, cooking, etc)
NAMI Orange County
Conducts free educational programs, meetings and support groups throughout
the entire county addressing every aspect of mental health.
College Hospital Costa Mesa
301 Victoria Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Provides inpatient mental health services
Orange County Child Protective Services
(714) 940-1000 or 1-800-207-4464
(24-hour hotline, 7 days a week)
If you would like to discuss or report child abuse.
Orange County Adult Protective Services
(24-hour hotline, 7 days a week)
Adult Protective Services (APS) are directed at preventing or remedying
neglect, abuse or exploitation of adults who are unable to protect their
own interests because of age or disability.
24-Hr Public Assistance Info Line
Orange County’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) System provides
telephone-based, self-service automation for CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, Food
Stamps, and General Relief programs.
(24-hour hotline, 7 days a week)
Orange County Health Care Agency
Provides outpatient adult mental health services
Orange County Children Youth Services – Costa Mesa
Provides outpatient children and adolescent mental health services
Orange County 211
By dialing 2-11, you reach a free, 24-hour information and referral helpline
linking you to thousands of local health and human service programs in
Didi Hirsh Suicide Prevention Crisis Hotline
Suicide can be a difficult topic to talk about. However all of our Suicide
Prevention Hotline counselors have been through extensive training to
talk to you about your concerns in a sensitive manner. They won’t
judge your or tell you what do to but instead will listen and try to help
you process how you are feeling and brainstorm ways that might help you
to feel better. The Suicide Prevention Hotline is a free and confidential
telephone service that is open 24-hours a day. Counselors are available
to talk about your thoughts of suicide or are concerns about someone who
is may be suicidal.