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Why Mental Health Check-Ups and Your Annual Physical Go Hand in Hand

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, recognized to shed light on staggering numbers like these:

  • There are an average of 123 suicides daily in America –
  • Making it the 10th leading cause of death in the nation, overall –
  • The third leading cause of death for individuals aged 15-24 –
  • And the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 25-34.

In 2020, a multistate study conducted by Ohio State University researchers discovered that suicide rates were highest among individuals with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. The study also found that the risk of suicide appeared to decrease among individuals who had more mental health visits.

The bottom line is this: mental health checkups and your annual physical should go hand in hand.

Mental health encompasses far more than just suicide prevention, of course. Our mental well-being is a direct driving force behind our physical health. Ignoring it can have disastrous effects.

Every six months, or more, patients schedule their yearly physicals to have the doctor check their heart, their lungs, their nervous system, and more. All organs and systems that keep us chugging along and firing on all cylinders.

Why should the brain and the mind be any different?

Your doctor may already be conducting mental health assessments during well-adult and well-child visits, but if not, you may want to ask about screening.

Mental health screenings are important, regardless of your age or medical history. By asking specific questions about your current lifestyle, personal habits, diet, and more, your doctor can raise any red flags regarding anxiety, depression, or related mood or behavioral disorders.

Even momentary stresses or anxiety can be disruptive to our ongoing mental and physical health and seeking counsel can go a long way toward healing.

Your doctor will be able to make recommendations for further assistance from a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Make mental health checkups and your annual physical priorities today. First Call Medical Center can help.