Have you had your mental health checkup this year?

A routine physical may not be the only reason to see your doctor once a year.

New research from the University of Cambridge, UK, suggests that annual mental health checkups are equally as important as physical ones--and that the government should give more priority to making these services low-cost or free under common insurance plans.

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Early prevention

Experts note that early prevention is the driving force behind routine mental health checkups. Detected in the beginning stages, disorders like bulimia, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder can often have positive outcomes.

“As a society, we take our mental health for granted,” said Professor Barbara Sahakian, a UK neuroscientist. “But just like our bodies, it is important to keep our brains fit.”

Sahakian notes that psychological well-being early on in life can set the stage for healthier minds later on, and she advocates the use of innovation and technology to help improve outcomes.

“Technology for early detection of problems in brain health and for monitoring mental health problems is essential. This will promote early detection and early effective treatment, as well as public health planning," she said.

One in four suffers from a mental illness

About one in four people have a mental disorder, and in countries like the US and Canada, mental problems top the list as the leading cause of disability.

Sahakian says that only about 40 percent of people with dementia even know they have it, and that conditions like anxiety and depression are costing countries billions of dollars a year in health care expenses.

“Just as joggers check their pulse rate, we should encourage individuals to regularly keep an eye on the state of their mental health. Often people wait too long to seek help, making their condition more difficult to treat," Sahakian concludes.

Source: Psych Central

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Most Insurance Accepted.
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