Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
Although the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same. A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being.
Behavioral health relates to the connection between your behavior and the health of your mind, body, and spirit. It is how your habits affect your mental and physical health and wellness. Behavioral health has more to do with the specific actions people take. It’s about how they respond in various scenarios. Two people who are experiencing similar emotions may react in very different ways.
These may include:
Resources: InSync Healthcare Solutions
A crucial part of epilepsy self-management is mental health. People with epilepsy have a higher rate of depression and anxiety disorders than the general population. Several factors may explain this increased prevalence. The cause of the person’s epilepsy, such as a head injury, stroke, or central nervous system infection, can all contribute to depressive and anxiety disorders.
Epilepsy can cause disruption in the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) in the brain and can present many stressors such as the loss of driving, difficulty at work, and fear of having a seizure at an inopportune time or place. In children, seizures can impact school both academically and socially. These significant ongoing sources of stress can contribute to the development of anxiety and mood challenges. The treatment of epilepsy can have a positive, neutral, or negative impact on mood and anxiety
Most prevalent mental health conditions in people with epilepsy:
Epilepsy influences the lives of people with seizures and families as it may restrict certain activities. Taking medicines, not driving, maintaining regular sleep cycles, limiting alcohol use, and making other lifestyle changes can lead to feeling a loss of independence.
Resources: CDC, BMJ Journals, Healthline.com, PubMed.gov
[Download Emotional & Behavior Health Booklet]
For more information on Mental Health and available resources in Minnesota, contact NAMI Minnesota.
If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, contact the Minnesota Department of Human Services at **CRISIS (274747) on your cell phone or text “MN” to 741741.
The role of a caregiver for a person with epilepsy is a big one. This can be a parent, guardian, partner, family member, or friend, amongst many others. A recent survey found that 53% of epilepsy carers experienced anxiety and 31% have had insomnia. A caregiver’s mental health and well-being are just at important and valued as the loved one with epilepsy.
Resource: Epilepsy Foundation of America
Double stigma is the result when two highly stigmatized conditions sensitive to cultural themes occur in the same individual, such as epilepsy and mental health.
Source: The Community-targeted Self-management of Epilepsy and Mental Illness (C-TIME) initiative: A research, community, and healthcare administration partnership to reduce epilepsy burden
Brette has spoken alongside our staff and members of our Professional Advisory Board to share advice about managing mental health. “I have extremely supportive family and friends, but no one understands the impact of epilepsy on emotional and physical health.”Continue Reading
Our Information Services team provides free, one-on-one support for all people affected by epilepsy, whether directly or tangentially. For more information about epilepsy, mental health, and other questions, visit Information Services.Request Support