Doctors always seem to remind patients to eat healthy and exercise, but what about the health of our minds?

Without being mentally healthy, individuals are unable to live their lives to the fullest because of the weight of mental health struggles.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines mental illness as, “‘Collectively all diagnosable mental disorders’ or ‘health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.’”

The cause of mental illnesses can range from biological to traumatic experiences and mental health problems within a family.

According to the Dubai Pharmacy College Education Center, “Mental health disorders are common in the United States, and each year, approximately one quarter of the population suffers from one or more disorders.”

People tend to ignore their mental health troubles because there is a constant pressure to physically be healthy and achieve the “ideal” perfect body. Obtaining physical health has its benefits, such as preventing heart disease and diabetes, but being mentally fit is something that anyone can do and train for.

Photo illustration by Tim Smith / Photo editor

Photo illustration by Tim Smith / Photo editor

The Healthline said you can become mentally fit by discontinuing multitasking, being positive with yourself, trying something new, reading more and taking part in various other activities.

Being mentally fit not only has these benefits, but you can also make more money. Who doesn’t like more money?

A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry found people suffering from a serious mental illness earned at least 40 percent less than people with good mental health.

Also, the Huffington Post reported when people ignore their mental health, “studies suggest that people with untreated mental illness, especially in conjunction with other risk factors, may be at increased risk of committing violent crimes or, even more likely, becoming victims themselves. The risk increases substantially when the individual uses drugs or alcohol, has acute symptoms, has less insight into their disease or has poor medication adherence.”

Ultimately, there are no benefits to ignoring your mental well-being.

In the movie “Silver Linings Playbook,” Jennifer Lawrence said, “I don’t think we’re going to stop until we get rid of the stigma for mental conditions. If you have asthma, you take asthma medicine. If you have diabetes, you take diabetes medicine. But as soon as you have to take medication for your mind, there’s such a stigma behind it.”

Psychology Today reported that the U.S. Surgeon General said this stigma Lawrence refers to is possibly the biggest barrier to mental health care. This stigma results in what is known as social distancing, which is when people with mental health struggles feel more isolated from other individuals.

No one enjoys feeling alone in this enormous world we live in, and no one should ever have to experience feeling this way. Everyone has struggles, some more visible than others. Both your physical and mental health are equally as important to being a healthy individual, inside and out; don’t let either be pushed aside.

Emma Hamilton can be contacted at

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