Tips to Understand and Improve Mental Health

The human mind is incredibly complex – and life gets challenging. Sometimes our minds and emotions get thrown off balance, leaving us feeling physically, mentally, and emotionally drained.

If you’ve gone through a hard time or faced trauma, your mental health could suffer. Understanding mental illness, being aware of common symptoms, and having a plan for managing on tough days will help you grow and move forward.

What is Mental Illness?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors”

Many of us have bad days or weeks, or experience difficult emotions after an event like a death in the family or losing a job. So what makes it a mental illness? Experts agree that the majority of mental illnesses are signaled by stark physical and emotional  changes. Where a bad day or poor mood will fade after a short time, a mental illness is characterized by long term symptoms you just can’t seem to shake.

What Symptoms Might My Mental Illness Have?

Symptoms vary according to your mental health diagnosis, but there are some common signs that your mind and emotions may be out of balance.

  • Feeling sad or confused
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Prolonged depression
  • Excessive guilt or fear
  • Compulsive or addictive behavior
  • Crying spells
  • Mood swings
  • Stopping or losing interest in your favorite activities
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Frequent Insomnia
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Frequent overwhelm
  • Difficulty relating to others
  • Substance abuse
  • Excessive appetite or appetite loss
  • Hostile or violent behavior
  • Cutting or self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or plans

Your symptoms could be physical or emotional. The key is to be aware of extreme changes or sudden “swings”. If you don’t feel like yourself or don’t understand your behavior, it may be time for a mental health checkup.

How Do I Cope With Mental Illness When Symptoms Are Difficult?

Living with mental illness isn’t easy, but there are plenty of options to help you treat your symptoms and overcome emotional and spiritual roadblocks. You may be prescribed medication or be recommended for talk therapy. Perhaps your pastor or another leader in your faith community may be able to provide additional counselling.

Often mental illness symptoms bring with them a loss of faith. In those times, remember that God is with you and has great plans for your life:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

You’re never on your own when it comes to your mental health; there is always hope. You can find it here. TheHopeline puts mental health resources (including a podcast archive) at your fingertips. If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or addiction, you can request mentorship or prayer right away.

Greater stability, deeper faith, and stronger relationships are possible – starting now.

If you or someone you love may be dealing with mental health issues, you may find something in our resource library to help. Search our podcasts, blogs and e-books with your questions about mental illness:

  • Can mental illness be cured?
  • Can I still live a full life with mental illness?
  • How do people who live with mental illness cope on a day-to-day basis?

Most Recent Blogs on Mental Health

7 Life Lessons from a Suicide Survivor

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Suicide Survivor ​​It was late September 2012. My eyes squinted shut as the nurse wheeled me out the front doors of the psych ward and helped me into the car. This was the first time I’d seen the sun in more than a week. “Good luck, Mr. Austin. Take care..Read more

A Daughter’s Journey: The Loss of My Father to Suicide

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A Daughter’s Journey, is a documentary from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  It shares the story of Sarah Ash and how she coped after the loss of her father to suicide. Below is part of Sarah’s story: As Sarah graduated from college she wore her dad’s watch. She says, “It’s..Read more

6 Emotions Survivors of Suicide Loss Face

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If you have lost someone to suicide, I am deeply sorry for your loss. The traumatic experience of losing a loved one to suicide is very different than losing a loved one in any other way.  There are feelings and emotions that will be unique to this journey that you..Read more

Suicide: Giving Life Another Chance

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Give life another chance. You may be reading this article because you are contemplating killing yourself. Or perhaps you know someone who is. If you are at the end of your rope, there are suicide hotlines and other resources available at this link – Suicide Help. If you have  lost hope..Read more

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Podcasts about Mental Health :

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Stories on Mental Health :

Dawson McAllister Saved My Life When I was Nineteen

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A Rough Path in Life Dawson McAllister saved my life when I was nineteen years old. I happened to be going through the radio stations on a Sunday night when I heard this soft-spoken voice. I tuned into his radio program, Dawson McAllister Live, more and more. I started to..Read more

Releasing My Fears and Anxiety

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I was struggling with extremely bad anxiety for a few months leading up to me reaching out to chat with TheHopeLine through the Anthem of Hope website. It was getting to the point where my mind was all over the place I felt so alone and that’s when I discovered..Read more

PTSD and Anxiety: My Mom’s Boyfriend Was Abusive

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My story is that for years I lived in fear because of my mom’s old boyfriend. He was a jerk. But that’s putting it mildly, he was horrible. He was abusive to the point he tried to kill my mom! My grandma and I tried to tell her to break..Read more

Struggling with Self-Harm: Finding Hope and Help

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Self-harm stems from pain so deep it feels as if it is the only way to take away the emotional pain.  If you have been abused, hurt, rejected, abandoned, or experienced anything else that has caused you emotional trauma and you have turned to self-harm to cope…we are here for you...Read more

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Resources for Mental Health :

Spiritual Perspective :

Verses of Hope

Free eBooks

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Free eBook: Understanding a Relationship with God

A guide to understanding the basics of Christianity and a meaningful relationship with God.  Do You Feel Like Life is Meaningless? Are you wondering what your purpose is? Do you have questions about what Christians believe or what it means to be a Christian? At TheHopeLine we believe real and lasting HOPE can only come […]

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Additional Resources

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