Mental Health Awareness Month: What is Mental Health?

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Courtesy of DHR Health

By: Jose E. Igoa, MD, Medical Director, DHR Health Behavioral Hospital

Mental health defines a person’s condition based on their emotional, psychological, and social well-being, which affects how they think, feel, and act. Mental health also plays a role in how individual’s handle stress, how they relate to others, and how they make decisions. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. The way in which one responds to stressors that are encountered throughout the various life stages can reveal an immense amount of information about the person’s mental health.


The various factors that can contribute to mental health problems, include: biological factors, life experiences, family history, chronic medical conditions, and/or abuse of substances. To determine whether you or someone you know is living with a mental health problem, it is important to know what some early signs are. For instance, irregularities in ones eating or sleeping patterns, as well as irregular and unpredictable behaviors can be indications that a mental health issue is present. Other signs include: low energy/motivation, increased pessimism, and thoughts of self-harm.


Early signs of mental health problems are not only intrapersonal, they may be interpersonal as well. For example, the individual may be withdrawing from their friends/family, and they may become easily irritable or aggressive towards others. It is important to note that in regards to mental health disorders, the symptoms experienced are individual-specific, and these are just a few examples of the early warning signs one may experience when struggling with their mental health.

If you or someone you know would like more information on mental health or would like to speak to one of our experts, please call DHR Health Behavioral Hospital at (956) 362- HELP (4357).