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What Is Good Mental Health

According to the American Psychological Association, “mental health…is the way your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect your life.  Good mental health leads to positive self-image and in turn, satisfying relationships with friends and others.  Having good mental health helps you make good decisions and deal with life’s challenges at home, work or school.”

It is not uncommon for many people to develop problems related to their mental health.  Numerous research studies indicate that between 5 and 10 percent of all adults will have a mental health problem in any given year, and the figure can be as high as 20 percent among teens and young adults.  These problems in the general population range from mild to severe, but sadly among teens, suicide is the third leading cause of death.

Unfortunately, many people with mental health problems don’t get any treatment for their difficulties.  However, major research studies show there are effective treatments available.  For example, research studies have consistently demonstrated that people suffering from depression usually receive significant benefit from weekly psychotherapy sessions in about three to six months.  They usually receive as much or more benefit in this period of time as those who receive medication only, and without the potential side effects of drugs.

If you broke an arm or came down with pneumonia, you wouldn’t ignore the problem and let it go untreated, without professional assistance.  However, many people with mental health problems ignore them, thinking the problem will just go away, or they will some how “snap out of it.”  Others feel that seeking help is a sign of weakness, and they are ashamed of their feelings and symptoms.  Of course, that type of thinking usually prolongs the problem (anxiety, depression, compulsions, addictions, etc) and prevents people from getting the help that can make a significant difference.  Help that can get them back on track to a happy, productive and healthy life.

So, here are some important reminders:

  • Mental health is as important as physical health.  In fact, the two are closely linked.
  • Mental health problems are real, and they deserve to be treated.
  • It is not a person’s fault if he or she has a mental health problem.  No one is to blame.
  • Mental health problems are not a sign of weakness.  They are not something you can “just snap out of,” even if you try.
  • Whether you’re male or female, it’s OK to ask for help and get it.
  • There’s hope.  People improve and recover with the help of treatment, and they are able to enjoy happier and healthier lives.

This material was excerpted and edited by D. Lee Stoltzfus, Ph.D. from a brochure entitled CHANGE YOUR MIND (About Mental Health) published by the American Psychological Association.  Additional copies of the entire brochure may be ordered by calling 1-877-495-0009 or viewed on-line at:

41 E Foothill Blvd Suite 200 A, Arcadia, CA 91006
(818) 248-1140 phone
D. Lee Stoltzfus, PhD, CA Psychologist 8607