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Carla Messenger, PhD
Have You Had a Mental Health Checkup?
Dr. Carla Messenger Licensed Clinical Psychologist
. http://www.drcarlamessenger.com/

Have You Had a Mental Health Checkup?

Health professionals and the media have recently given attention to the benefits of primary care. Wellness checkups have become recommended to monitor the status of our physical health. Factors such as genetic risk for cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes as well as the environmental correlates of illness such as poor diet and sedentary lifestyles lead doctors and public health experts to suggest getting regular checkups to catch signs of these potentially life-threatening illnesses early in their onset.

While not everyone heeds this advice, modern medical science and practice support this approach to preventing widespread, serious illnesses and proactively intervening in time to give people a longer, higher quality life. But what about mental health? Given that mental illness and serious emotional problems often lead to a variety of social and economic problems including academic failure, job loss, divorce, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and suicide; shouldn't we take a similar approach to primary care and early intervention?

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you consider whether or not to seek a consultation with a mental health professional

Is my mental status affecting my ability to handle work, school, or other important responsibilities?

Do I feel depressed, anxious or angry on a regular basis? Does it persist for more than a few days at a time?

Have others told me they are concerned about the way I behave or interact in my relationships?

Do I find myself using alcohol or drugs to cope with life's stresses?

If you answered “yes” to any or these questions, it may be an opportunity for you to seek guidance from a psychologist who can get you on the path to wellness before serious problems develop and intrude upon your quality of life. Research suggests that early intervention is effective in reducing emotional distress, improving everyday functioning and improving relationships in persons experiencing anxiety and depression before it impacts their lives in more permanent ways.

Let's extend our idea of good health to include mental health as part of a journey toward wellness.

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