Men's Mental Health Checkup
by Mark Sichel, LCSW
Most of the available "mental health checkups" seem to be written for women; they appear in women's magazines, they ask about PMS, they ask about "husbands." Clearly, a checkup like this was not written with a man's needs in mind. Where are the mental health checkups for men?
Well, historically, society was not much help in looking after the mental needs of men. Men were expected to be Gary Cooper types: stoic, unflappable, and always in control. Let's be realistic. We ALL have mental and emotional needs--albeit different ones--men, women and children alike. Men are finally acknowledged by society as having mental and emotional needs, so take care of your mental health!
Below are questions that characterize strong mental health when answered in the affirmative. They are by no means a thorough examination. If you have serious cause for concern about your mental wellbeing, be sure to seek outside help.
- Do you feel like you are "on your game" at work: competent, alive, functional, effective, and thriving?
- Do you feel like you are able to deal with high-powered stress in a controlled manner and without exhibiting physical symptoms like backaches, headaches, or migraines?
- Do you get enough physical activity so that you feel you are toned and conditioned in a way that is appropriate to your age?
- Are you fairly happy with your weight and stamina?
- Do you fall asleep at night with relative ease?
- Do you wake up in the morning with relative ease?
- Are you hopeful and excited about your future?
- Are you in love with your mate?
- Do you feel free to say what's on your mind in most situations?
- Do you feel that you accomplish what you set out to do each day?
- Are you excited about the new day ahead when you wake up in the morning?
- Do you learn new skills and feel you have opportunity to increase your knowledge at this point in your life?
- Do you see roadblocks in life as challenges and opportunities?
- Do you go to the doctor for regular checkups?
- Do you have at least three close friends that you can talk to and trust with important matters?
- Do you feel you have a wide circle of buddies that you can relax with?
- Do you feel your drinking and recreational drug use is under control?
If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, then the chances are good that you are in good mental shape. If you answered "no" to several questions, or feel concerned about a question that you answered "no" to, you should feel free to seek help.
Just the way it's hard to function day to day when you're not feeling physically well, it's also hard to function day to day when you're not feeling mentally or emotionally well. Spend time building up your psychological muscle and becoming strong mentally. Take care of yourself. Your mind is just as important as your body when it comes to happy, healthy living.
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