Promoting and Protecting Mental Health
There is no one-size-fits-all way to care for your mental health. Everyone is different, which is why the City of Chicago has many different types of mental health resources available for you. No matter what type of support you feel most comfortable with, you don’t have to suffer in silence.
If I’d like some help, what are my options?
Mental Health Assessment
An evaluation completed by a therapist to get a complete picture of a patient’s needs. The clinician will ask you to describe what has brought you in, your understanding of what you have been experiencing, and what your goals are. The assessment may also include a review of your medical history, current medications, and questions about your mood, thinking, and relationships.
A brief intervention aimed at stabilizing the immediate crisis, resolving any emergency medical needs, and connecting the patient to longer-term services.
Also called psychotherapy or talk therapy. One-on-one counseling sessions with a therapist in a safe and confidential environment. Individual counseling can be short-term (typically 12 or fewer sessions) or long-term (more than 12 sessions).
A form of therapy in which a group of patients meet regularly with a therapist. Group therapy is often structured around a specific experience like depression, loss, substance use, or anxiety. Some patients attend individual counseling and group therapy.
Prescription of medications to treat mental health symptoms.
What can I do to help support mental health in my daily life?
- Sleep affects physical and mental health, and getting enough quality sleep helps you think more clearly, focus better, and feel well. To get quality sleep, go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable place, and limit the use of electronics immediately before bed.
- Practicing mindfulness can help improve concentration, memory, and mental clarity, and reduce stress. Try setting aside a few minutes each day to go for a walk, reflect on your accomplishments for the day, and take deep breaths. You can also look for mindfulness resources in your community, like yoga or meditation classes or mindfulness-based stress reduction programs.
- Making and maintaining relationships with others helps you feel supported and valued. Strong social connection increases happiness, improves physical health, lowers depression and anxiety, and improves self esteem. Spend time caring for the relationships you have, and try creating new communities of support and connection by volunteering, joining a group, or enrolling in a class or activity that interests you.
- Exercise can raise your self-esteeem, positively change your mood, and help decrease depression and anxiety. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can boost your mood and reduce stress.
- Eating nutritious foods with lots of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants can make you feel healthier and improve mood and thinking. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel, and try to avoid foods with high sugar or fat content.
- Learning new skills can boost self-confidence and raise self-esteem. It can also help you connect with others. Experiment with a new hobby, learn to cook something new, take on a new challenge at work, or consider enrolling in a class at a local gym, college, or community center.
- Giving your time, energy, and talents to others can give you a sense of purpose and improve feelings of self-worth. Research indicates that giving can actually lower your blood pressure and stress levels, and improve feelings of happiness. Saying thank you, checking in with your friends and colleagues, giving small gifts, and volunteering can all support your mental wellbeing while helping others, as well.