How Are You, Really? 6 Ways to Check In on the State of Your Mental Health

Hallie Gould

Mental health is a deeply important issue, one that has often gone ignored in our mainstream society. Somehow, it's developed a taboo that keeps the conversations either in hushed tones or neglected completely. But one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year. In fact, chances are you've asked one of them the question How are you? sometime this week. Because that question is so often answered routinely, or not at all, Philosophy's Hope & Grace Initiative launched its first-ever national campaign—called How Are You, Really—because it's time to have an open, honest conversation about mental issues.

Inspired by the initiative and eager to learn more, I reached out to a couple of experts on ways to stabilize and soothe feelings of doubt, anxiety, and helplessness. In essence, they both concluded it was best to create a "toolbox" of coping mechanisms and observe how you feel afterward. While some of these feelings may be fleeting (like a bad day or sad situation), many can be symptoms of a mental health condition. "Your immediate discomfort will be easier to bear if you have a long-term treatment plan because you can remind yourself that your difficult times are becoming fewer and less severe. Remember that you are not alone and help is available," suggests Katrina Gay, a director at the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

For your own set of tools, keep reading for easy, inexpensive ways to check in with yourself each day.

To seek counseling, reach out to your personal doctor, the Crisis Text Line, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

For more, here's a (very) honest discussion about mental health.

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