Monday, October 08, 2018
by Karen Vaughn, MEd, LPC, EAP consultant
Editor’s note: The BJC Employee Assistance Program (EAP) strives to help employees achieve balance in their lives. From everyday work-life balance issues to overwhelming or traumatic life events, EAP can help. BJC TODAY will feature a variety of mental health-related topics in this new monthly column, “Balance Works Better.”
BJC CORPORATE HEALTH SERVICES | Taking care of your mental/emotional health is just as important to a long, healthy life as taking care of your physical health. Did you know that it’s just as important for your doctor to do a mental status exam as it is to do a physical status exam?
Just like physical health, mental health can affect motivation, energy level and other daily functioning tasks.
What is mental/emotional health?
Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It can include the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.
Mental health and physical health are closely connected. Mental health plays a major role in your ability to maintain good physical health. Mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, affect your ability to participate in healthy behaviors. This can result in problems with physical health, such as chronic diseases, and can decrease a person’s ability to participate in treatment and recovery.
Issues with mental health can have many different symptoms, just like issues with physical health. Questions can be asked and tests can be done to help assess mental health, the same as with physical health.
For physical problems, most people go to the doctor and get a check-up. They have their blood pressure, temperature and weight measured. They have blood drawn to check for issues with cholesterol, blood sugars, thyroid, iron levels, electrolytes and other measures.
However, most people don’t go to a mental health professional for a mental health exam. In many cases, people only seek out a mental health professional after a crisis has occurred.
Are you one of those people? If you are, why take care of one part of your body and not the other?
Some simple steps to reduce the risk of physical illness include: Eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest, get routine check-ups and tests, and incorporate regular exercise into your schedule.
Some simple steps to reduce the risk of mental illness include: Eat a well-balanced diet, get plenty of rest, get routine check-ups and tests, and incorporate regular exercise into your schedule.
These two lists may look the same, and there is definitely some overlap, but mental tests and exercise can be different from physical tests and exercise. I challenge you to take care of your mental health by making an appointment with a mental health professional for your annual check-up. You can do so by calling BJC EAP, 314-747-7490.
We can assist you with making sure you’re taking care of your mental health.
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