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Your mental health plays a big role in your overall health. Having a positive state of mental well-being can even be a boost to your physical health. Poor mental health can hurt our physical health over time. Our mental health is always changing, and there are times when we all struggle with stress, anxiety, depression and more. In fact, mental health challenges are some of the most common health conditions people face. Yet, many of us put our mental health on the backburner. If you’re struggling or worried about a friend or loved one, read below for the answers to some of the most common mental health questions people have.

What is mental health and mental well-being?

According to, “mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.” Florida Blue defines mental well-being as an overall positive and hopeful emotional state fueled by a sense of purpose and satisfaction with life, work and relationships, and supported by the capacity to adapt to life stressors.

Life isn’t always easy. All humans, at some time, will experience grief, loss, pain and other challenges. And one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to learn how to adapt and cope when times are tough. This is called being resilient.

Here are some ideas from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) you can try to boost your resilience and improve your mental well-being:

  • Try radical acceptance. Sometimes, there is nothing you can do to avoid something painful from happening. The only choice is to accept it.
  • Laugh, often. Laughter truly is the best medicine sometimes. Try to find the humor in a situation.
  • Shift your mindset. As humans, our brains often want to focus on what is negative or what is bothering us. But take a step back and think about what is positive in your life. What are you grateful for? What inspires you? What brings you peace and joy? What do you love. Make a list of the things that give you meaning and purpose.
  • Help other people. The best way to get out of your own head is to help other people. It will take your mind off whatever is troubling you and make you feel good, too.

How does mental health impact physical health?

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. In fact, your mental health can even affect your overall health. For example, depression can increase your risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. And people who live with ongoing health conditions are more likely to face mental health challenges, even if they never experienced them before their illness.

Don’t be afraid to get help when you need it. When someone struggles with their mental health, there’s a ripple effect that occurs that affects their overall health, too. People who live with depression are 40 percent more likely to develop conditions like heart disease or diabetes than people who aren’t depressed.

How many other people struggle with mental health?

If you’re struggling with your mental health right now, remember: You’re not alone. One in five U.S. adults (53 million people) faces mental health struggles each year. Yet only about half of those people seek help, according to NAMI.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the mental health crisis worldwide. Data from the World Health Organization shows there has been a 25 percent increase in depression and anxiety across the globe since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

According to NAMI, here’s how many people in the U.S. struggle with:

  • Depression: 8.4% (21 million people)
  • Schizophrenia: less than 1% (about 1.5 million people)
  • Bipolar disorder: 2.8% (about 7 million people)
  • Anxiety: 19.1% (about 48 million people)
  • Posttraumatic-Stress Disorder (PTSD): 3.6% (about 9 million people)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): 1.2% (about 3 million people)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): 1.4% (about 3.5 million people)

In addition, people living with one of these conditions are more likely to struggle with substance abuse, too. One in four people with a mental health condition also abuses substances to cope.  

However, people with a diagnosed mental health condition aren’t the only ones struggling. Our mental health changes over time. You may experience times when you feel more stressed, anxious or depressed, even if you don’t have an ongoing mental health condition. And for many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened their mental health. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 13 percent more Americans reported abusing substances like alcohol and drugs after the start of the pandemic. And the number of overdoses rose 18 percent, too.

What are the warning signs that someone is struggling with their mental health?

Since 1999, the suicide rate has risen by 35 percent in the United States, according to NAMI. Most of these people (about 90 percent) have experienced symptoms related to a mental health condition.

Worried about your own mental health or a loved one’s mental health? Make sure to get help if you or a loved one are feeling any of the below symptoms gathered from

  • Avoiding people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb
  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless/hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, worried or scared
  • Yelling or fighting
  • Severe mood swings that cause relationship problems
  • Intrusive thoughts
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking about harming yourself or others
  • Unable to take care of responsibilities

Make sure to talk to your doctor if you’re feeling any of these symptoms. Your doctor can work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you feel your best.   


If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out to a trusted friend or family member. If you don’t know what to do or who to call, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.


What small steps can I take to improve my mental well-being?

If you aren’t quite feeling like yourself, lately, try taking some small steps to turn things around. Check out this video about setting small goals to improve your mental health from Dr. Nick Dewan, vice president of behavioral health for Florida Blue.

Dr. Dewan suggests making a plan to do something you’ve enjoyed in the past — even if it’s something simple, like taking a walk in the park or visiting a friend. If you’ve been feeling stressed, sad or anxious for a while, it may be harder for you to feel the same amount of joy from the things you used to love. Dr. Dewan suggests making some small tweaks can help your brain feel more joy again.

  • For example, if you like music, try some new genres, which can make you feel more excited and joyful about listening to music again.
  • If you like taking walks, find new parks and neighborhoods to walk in.

In addition, if you’re not taking care of your basic needs, it can be hard to feel your best. Here are some simple ways you can improve how you’re feeling:

  • Get enough sleep. Sleep has a big effect on your mood. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, try sticking to a sleep schedule and setting a bedtime routine to help you feel more tired at bedtime. Check out the Blue Answers Sleep and Mental Well-Being page.
  • Eat well. Make sure to eat nutritious food. Check out the Blue Answers Eating for Your Health page.
  • Stay active. This can be as simple as taking regular walks, working in the garden or doing any physical activity you enjoy.
  • Connect with friends and family. Even if you are an introvert, humans crave social contact. Take a walk or have lunch with a friend. Volunteer for an organization you support. Or find groups of people who share the same hobbies as you. Check out the Blue Answers Doing Good is Good For You page.
  • Practice gratitude. Take some time every day to think about things you are thankful for. This simple practice can shift your mindset over time. Humans tend to focus on our negative emotions, but practicing gratitude can be a reminder that there are good things in your life.
  • Learn to relax: try relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or using a guided imagery app on your phone. Learning to relax can help your body slow down and teach your mind what it feels like to be calm.
  • For more ideas, check out the Blue Answers Your Mental Health Matters page.

Where can I go if I have questions about mental health?

Always make sure to talk to your doctor about your mental health and any symptoms you may be experiencing. You and your doctor can work together to develop a treatment plan to help you feel your best. Or your doctor can recommend a therapist or specialist to help. Don’t be scared to bring up your mental health with your doctor. Remember: There is no health without mental health.

You can also turn to our community specialists at our Florida Blue Centers. Our Florida Blue Centers are open to the public. You can ask questions, get help finding a doctor or finding resources in your community whether you are a Florida Blue member or not. Our centers also offer webinars and classes on topics like mental health, at no extra cost. Visit your local center or call 1-877-352-5830, or learn more at

Click here to watch some short videos about how our Community Specialists can help.


If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out to a trusted friend or family member. If you don’t know what to do or who to call, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.


Here are some more resources you can try if you‘re a Florida Blue member:

  • If stress has you bogged down, try using meQuilibrium — an online mental well-being program designed to help you face each day with confidence. By using meQuilibrium, you can build resilience, learn ways to combat stress, find out your stress score and learn your stress triggers. It is available at no extra cost with most health plans. Look for meQuilibrium in the Find & Get Care section of your member account.
  • If you’re eligible for our care programs, reach out to your care manager for more information on mental health care. With the BlueForMe app, you can do it through your smart device.



*meQuilibrium is an independent company contracted by Florida Blue to provide health and wellness services and resources to members. This benefit is available to Florida Blue members age 18 and older.  Eligibility is limited to members with an individual or family plan, an individual or family ACA plan and members with coverage from their fully insured group employer health plan.

**Florida Blue has entered into an arrangement with Wellframe to provide members with care decision support services, information and other services. All decisions that require or pertain to independent professional medical/clinical judgement or training, or the need for medical services, are solely the member’s responsibility and the responsibility of their physicians and other health care providers.  Wellframe is an independent company that provides online services to Florida Blue members through the BlueforMe app.

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