My Mental Health

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Mental health has been defined as:

  • the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities
  • fulfilling relationships with other people
  • the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity or difficult life situations

Although different cultures have differing expectations for health, many of the following characteristics are likely to be present in individuals with good mental health:

  • a sense of well-being and contentment
  • self-confidence and self-esteem
  • the ability to enjoy life, to laugh and have fun
  • being able to deal with life’s stresses and bounce back from adversity with some resiliency
  • the ability to change, grow, and experience a range of feelings, as life’s circumstances change
  • the ability to care for oneself and for others


i'm at my best when..

Warning Signs of Mental Illness

Changes in feelings such as fear and anger are a normal part of life. Personal situations, such as a divorce, loss of a job, or strained relationships with family or friends can cause emotional stress, thus making a person feel sad or blue. These are not unusual reactions. However symptoms that last longer than 2-3 weeks require attention.


Thoughts of death or suicide are usually signs of severe depression. It is believed that major life transitions (such as leaving home and family and peer supports to attend college — an unfamiliar environment with higher academic standards) may intensify present psychological distress or trigger new mental distress.

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence does not discriminate. Both survivors and perpetrators come from all genders, cultures, races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, socio-economic status, and religions. Sexual violence is defined as any unwanted sexual contact or interaction and can include:

Body Image

Food for Thought: Body Image Do’s & Do Not's Body Image Do’s

Eating Issues

Did you know?

  • It is estimated that 25–31% of UM students engage in disordered eating behaviors
  • 6% of people struggling with eating disorders will not survive.
  • A dramatically increasing number of men suffer from eating disorders and body image issues.
  • Early detection of disordered eating and body image issues greatly increase the success of treatment.

An Invisible Epidemic

Video: Coping with Stigma

If you or a loved one has a mental illness, you know that these words and gimmicks aren't just harmless fun. Rather, they perpetuate the stigma attached to mental illness. Stigma is painful and shaming, but you can both cope with it and combat it.

Note: These are actors portraying real student stories.


Did you know?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is a treatable brain disorder in which one may experience unusual shifts in mood, ranging from excessively “high”, happy and/or irritable to sad and hopeless. The periods of highs and lows are called episodes of mania and depression. Different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through, the symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe and can interupt school, work, personal relationships, basic daily functioning, and can impair quality of life.

Video: Coping with Bipolar

A friend of a person experiencing a mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, may encounter common difficulties. Although situations differ, there are basic suggestions to help to facilitate a smoother adjustment.

Note: These are actors portraying real student stories.

Video: Coping With Depression

Why am I so Bummed out? I can't get motivated! I don't care anymore! Sound familiar? Sometimes we need to regain control through hard work and commitment. Other times it may not be that easy

Note: These are actors portraying real student stories.

You can find valuable tips for managing depression by viewing videos from experts at the University of Michigan Depression Center.


Looking Past the Stereotype

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

BDD is relatively common, frequently results in impairment in functioning, and is associated with high levels of perceived stress and suicide attempts.

General Information:

-Some research suggests that BDD may affect at least 1 in 200 people

-Treatment includes cognitive behavioral therapy and medication

Symptoms Include:

-Preoccupation with your physical appearance with extreme self-consciousness

-Frequent examination of yourself in the mirror, or the opposite, avoidance of mirrors altogether

Mental Health Screenings

Do you want to identify a mental health problem but don’t know where to start?

Do you have a friend or a loved one who is has a mental health concern and want to find out how to support them? See our Mental Health Topics index to search for your specific area of concern.


Did You Know?

Depression is more than feeling sad. It is normal to feel sadness or grief when a loved one dies, if you lose your job, you fail an exam, or a relationship ends. But sadness and depression are not the same. While feelings of sadness will decrease in time, depression can last for months or years without treatment. Depression is a long-lasting, often recurring illness that can have disabling effects on your mood, behavior, thinking, and health. It is not a “bad day” or a weakness in character.

Anxiety or Anxiety Disorder

What’s the difference between Normal Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder?

Normal Anxiety: Occasional worry about circumstantial events, such as an exam or break-up, that may leave you upset    

Anxiety Disorder:  Constant, chronic and unsubstantiated worry that causes significant distress, disturbs your social life and interferes with classes and work


College Can Be Stressful!

And at times, it should be! Most of us experience feelings of anxiety. It can often occur right before coming back to school, leaving home for the first time, before an important event, job interview, exam, new social situation, or first date. Anxiety is a natural common human reaction and in moderation can actually be helpful.