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Saturday, April 01, 2023

College 101: Evaluating Your Own Mental Health


If I have a problem with my mental health, will I know it? Will I be able to tell or will having the issue mean I can’t see my own problems?

I’m asking because, to be honest, I haven’t been feeling all that well lately—I mean mental health-wise, I guess. I feel down, but something about it feels worse than regular old sadness. I feel kind of empty and tired a lot of the time, but then other times I feel very stressed out all at once. It started when I moved to New York City, and I’m not sure if I’m just freaking out about the move to the big city or if I have a real problem on my hands.

Experts, how can I tell if I need a therapist or just, like, more sleep or something? Please help!

It can be tough to evaluate our own mental health, especially if we aren’t familiar with what to look for. And there are legitimate reasons that we each may feel sad or anxious in our lives —including big moves like yours to New York City. But we each should try to check in on ourselves and evaluate our own mental health from time to time. It’s true enough that some mental health conditions create symptoms that mask their own existence or limit our energy and ability to identify and address problems. But with the right knowledge and the proper help, you should be able to find and treat major mental health issues.

An excellent place to start is with an online test from a reputable source. Therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists use tests of various sorts to diagnose mental health issues, and you can approximate that process yourself to gain a quick baseline reading. While you shouldn’t take the results as gospel, taking an online screening tool can give you a sense of what direction to go with your search for support and treatment options. Again, be sure to choose a mental health screening tool that comes from a reputable psychological, medical, or psychiatric source.

A good mental health screening tool will include questions that help you check for the symptoms of the most common mental health issues in our country. Depression affects nearly one in 12 Americans, and anxiety disorders are even more common—in fact, they’re the most common form of mental health disorder in the United States.

Since these issues are so common, it pays to track their symptoms and check in frequently with yourself. Depression can lead to fatigue and insomnia, for instance. You report being tired more often than usual, so could depression be a factor? Hopelessness, restlessness, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities are also symptoms.

As for anxiety disorders, their symptoms include excessive worrying and agitation, as well as  physical symptoms that come with it. This can include higher blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and rapid breathing, among other symptoms.

It is certainly possible for these issues to be worsened by a move to a big city, explain the experts at Therapy Group of NYC. It’s possible that you’re suffering from one or more of these issues—or from something else entirely. The best way to find out is to enlist the help of an expert. You should seek therapy and speak to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist about your symptoms and concerns.

Everyone should make the time to check in on their own mental health, but it’s also important to remember that there is no substitute for a trained and licensed expert therapist. The pros are the folks who are best suited to identify any mental health issues you currently might be experiencing and they are the ones to treat your symptoms and help you feel better. Good luck!

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