Well Being

Mental Health Month Day 7

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Your mental health tip for the seventh day of Mental Health Month? Head to your doctor informed.

Think about it: You don't go grocery shopping without a list. You don't go Christmas shopping without a list. If you make lists for situations that aren't even relevant to your health, shouldn't you make them for the one person who needs to know what's going on in your mind? (OK, OK, maybe fighting the crowds on December 23 with a screaming kid in one arm and 4,532 bags of stuff in the other is relevant to your health – and the health of everyone around you! – but, I digress.)

Below are links to sites or documents that provide mental health checklists of sorts. These checklists aren't meant to help you self-diagnose; they're meant to help you get a clear picture of how you're feeling, which in turn helps you better explain your feelings and symptoms to your doctor. You may even want to print these checklists and take them to your appointment!

Symptom Checklist – Covers moods in general.

Mental Health Screening Center – You can be”screened” online for depression, mania, and anxiety disorder – print the results and take them to your next appointment.

Mood Disorder Questionnaire – Includes informative articles about various symptoms, too.

If you're not sure whether a checklist or screening tool is right for you, or if you need more in-depth information about symptoms, check out the following mental health symptoms-related articles, first.

A Checklist for Depression – Includes an interactive symptom quiz to the right.

Bipolar Symptoms and Checklist – Includes information about what to expect when getting an accurate psychiatric diagnosis.

While I'm a strong advocate of helping yourself, I also feel the best way to begin helping yourself is to get expert medical advice first. What you may think is depression could actually be a deeper problem. Don't stop at just completing these checklists; make an appointment with a mental health care professional and share the results.