Measuring Mental Health: A Checklist for Your Family
What is it and how do we measure the mental health of family members?
Mental health is more than just being free of mental illnesses. It covers a broad scope of issues
from our self-concept, the ways we adjust to disappointments or changes, and how we interact
with others. “Mental health is an “overall wellness in the ways we think, regulate feelings and
I’m old enough to remember when mental health wasn’t a topic seen in the daily news. It was
assumed folks went about the business of living and enjoying life and that most of us were just
fine mentally. It may have been naïve, but most families didn’t spend much time worrying about
the mental health of each family member.
Today we worry about the pressures our children face at school or the stressors we face in
our workplaces. We wonder if our family members are too serious, too carefree, or if that last
burst of temper means something is dangerously wrong.
The truth is that life can be stressful and our children may face more pressures in the dailies
of life than we did in earlier times. It may be helpful to have a way to measure overall mental
wellness and to be aware of ways to support characteristics of strong mental health.
Here is a checklist of the characteristics of people who are mentally healthy:
They have a positive self-concept—they feel good about themselves.
They can meet the demands of daily life without “meltdowns.”
They can deal with disappointments when they arise.
They are not overwhelmed by their emotions such as fear, anger, jealousy, guilt or anxiety.
They are able to take troubles in stride—laugh at themselves and with others.
They can meet the demands of life, at school, at work, or in the community.
They can make decisions in a timely manner.
They have strong and lasting relationships.
They feel comfortable in various life settings: social, business, work, community.
They respect both themselves and others.
As we analyze the mental health of any given individual, it’s important to remember that
none of us display all the above characteristics all the time. We’re human. We make mistakes and
we fail to model great mental health from time to time. That’s normal.
However, there are danger signs that may mean an individual is having significant problems
with daily life. Such danger signs may include marked changes in behavior, personality, eating or
sleeping habits or an inability to cope with daily life. Withdrawing from activities or interactions,
displaying high levels of anxiety or significant mood swings can also signal a need for a mental
health evaluation. Seeing a medical doctor or a mental health clinic may make sense if you
notice any of the above patterns.
Using the Checklist as a way to encourage positive behaviors and attitudes is a great way to develop strong mental health skills for all your family members.
*Quoted from the Mayo Clinic Health Site