It’s no secret. We live in a pretty grim world where people are getting hurt, opinions are divided, pandemics are breaking out, and there isn’t any sign of it slowing. You know the phrase “Lie down with dogs, stand up with fleas”? Well, imagine the world is the dog and the negativity in the world the fleas. Being immersed in so much negativity can impact your mental health whether you think so or not. So, you can protect yourself and your mental health. Here are six possible reasons your mental health is deteriorating.
We’ve previously posted some videos about PTSD. PTSD can be caused by exposure to a heavily traumatic experience. Because of the severity of this past event, your brain tends to react the same way to similar situations. Past trauma can also be a cause of deteriorating mental health.
In 2015, a group of researchers from the University of West England did a study to find out about the mental health deterioration of people after their home was flooded. They found that understanding the individual’s mental state and concerns pre-flooding were important to determining how their mental state was impacted post-flooding. Ultimately, those who already had a number of stressors present before the traumatic event occurred had more mental health deterioration.
No Mental Health Education
In the past decade or so, mental health has gone from being taboo to so widely accepted that we’re able to have YouTube channels, like Psych2Go, completely dedicated to mental health education. Because of this, mental health information and education has become more available. It’s become so widely acknowledged that companies like Johnson & Johnson, Google, and RetailMeNot are creating mental health resources for their employees. Even high schools are including psychology courses in the curriculum and have counselors available to students. Lots of free resources! Sounds amazing, right?
According to Jennifer Dimoff and Kevin Kalloway, even though there’s an abundance of resources available in the workplace, a lot of employees don’t take full advantage of these benefits. When used, researchers found that employees could exhibit behavioral changes for up to 3 months! Whether it’s therapy sessions, reading a psychology book, or watching your favorite Psych2Go video, it’s all mental health education. Not using these resources to learn about yourself may be a reason for your mental health deteriorating.
Increased Strange Behavior
Every mental illness has its own characteristics. This is why it’s pretty offensive to assume someone who has a mental illness isn’t intelligent or sane. Dr. Cadeyrn Gaskin and Dr. Gavin Dagley did some research for the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Through this research, they found that an increased loss of touch with reality or even an ignorance to consequences can be a huge red flag of mental health deterioration.
Let’s say you have a friend who has had the same daily routine for as long as you’ve known them. It might be a bit weird if they start trying high adrenaline activities, like bungee jumping, especially if they never showed any interest in them. Maybe you have a friend who’s pretty rational, and one day they start talking about hearing the mailbox talk to them.
Hallucinations of any kind are not funny nor a joke. Please contact a mental health professional if you or a loved one is showing signs of seeing or hearing hallucinations.
Hakuna Matata – no worries. Anti-Hakuna Matata – all the worrying. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives.” Even though they are treatable, anxiety disorders come with their own set of symptoms. In Fall 2020, an internet-based study was done on self-reported physical and mental health deterioration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only was there the concern of getting sick or dying, but there were people being let go from their jobs causing financial strain. Some were working lots of overtime causing burn out. Due to job loss or other factors caused by the pandemic, some people even were evicted. These additional stress factors have caused increased mental health deterioration in these self-reports.
If you’re starting to see more stressful factors in your life instead of a balance of work and play, this can be a sign of mental health deterioration and that it’s time to reprioritize!
Where Do You Live?
Take a look at your neighborhood. Is it clean? What’s the crime rate like? Are there lots of things to do? In 2007, Daniel Kruger, Thomas Reischl, and Gilbert Gee did a study to determine the correlation between mental health and one’s neighborhood conditions. This study’s findings were very similar to the findings from the COVID-19 study only on a smaller scale. The higher the perceived risk of crime and the lower the functionality of the neighborhood, the lower your mental health state may be.
Think about it. If you live somewhere with a higher crime rate, you might be a bit more hesitant to go do something after work or school. If you live somewhere where there may not be many things to do, like go to a movie or bowling, you might not be getting a lot of your basic needs, like social interaction, met. What are some other needs that might not be met in this situation? Let us know in the comments.
You Lost Your Groove
Let’s be honest. It’s really hard to be “on” 24/7. There are some days that you just don’t quite feel like yourself. Kind of like you’ve lost your groove. According to Gillian Louise Adams, MD of MedStar Health, this sense of being in a rut can be one of the biggest indicators of mental health deterioration. Some of the reasons Adams gives to explain the “off” feeling are poor quality of sleep, no joy, low energy, and even a change in appetite.
But just like Stella and Emperor Kuzco, you can absolutely get your groove BACK! Some ways Adams suggests to get back to feeling more like yourself are aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, exercising for at least 30 minutes five days per week, and finding someone (a friend, family member, or mental health professional) to talk to. Do you have any personal go-to ways to snap you out of a funk? Share in the comments! Curious minds want to know!
Life is rough. As time goes on, the problems seem to level up, but you’re leveling up, too! Mental health deterioration is something that can be treated if you notice the symptoms and causes. If you relate to these signs, please reach out to a trusted friend or mental health professional to start taking steps toward rebuilding your mental state. Are there other signs of mental health deterioration that we didn’t mention? Tell us! As always, keep an eye on Psi for more Psych2Go content! Until next time!
Adams, G. L. (2020, December 2). 6-signs-you-should-be-concerned-about-your-mental-health. 6 Signs you Should be Concerned About Your Mental Health. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.medstarhealth.org/blog/6-signs-you-should-be-concerned-about-your-mental-health
Dimoff, J. K., & Kelloway, E. K. (2019). With a little help from my boss: The impact of workplace mental health training on leader behaviors and employee resource utilization. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 24(1), 4–19. https://doi.org/10.1037/ocp0000126
Gaskin, C. (2018, February). Recognising Signs of Deterioration in a Person’s Mental State. Home | Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/
Kruger, D. J., Reischl, T. M., & Gee, G. C. (2007, October 9). Neighborhood Social Conditions Mediate the association between physical deterioration and Mental Health – American Journal of Community Psychology. SpringerLink. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10464-007-9139-7
Lamond, J. E., Joseph, R. D., & Proverbs, D. G. (2015). An exploration of factors affecting the long term psychological impact and deterioration of mental health in flooded households. Environmental Research, 140, 325–334. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2015.04.008
Muskin, P. R. (2021, June). What are anxiety disorders? Psychiatry.org. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders#:~:text=Anxiety%20disorders%20are%20the%20most,people%20lead%20normal%20productive%20lives.
Odani, S., Shinozaki, T., Shibuya, K., & Tabuchi, T. (2022, April 5). Economic hardships and self-reported deterioration of physical and mental health under the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional study, 2020, Japan. Journal of Epidemiology. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.2188/jea.JE20210268
Wong, B. (2019, December 20). What companies like Google, Johnson & Johnson, retailmenot and SAP are doing to change the culture of Workplace Mental Health. Forbes. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/mindsharepartners/2019/12/19/what-leading-companies-are-doing-to-change-the-culture-of-workplace-mental-health/?sh=4bdfdd686081