The 4 Levels of Mental Health 2017-10-25T05:49:48+00:00

In my interactions with hundreds of depressed, anxious, and suicidal teens, as well as my own personal experience with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder), I’ve identified 4 basic levels of mental health that anyone can experience during the course of their life. The purpose of this information is to help you or someone you know understand how serious mental health challenges can be, to help you recognize the progress you’ve made, and to help you identify a concrete goal in our mental health journey (the 4th and highest level).

And always remember that the goal isn’t to be perfect today, but simply better tomorrow. If you’re gradually improving day after day, week after week, you’re on the road to success.

Level 1: Hopeless

By hopeless I don’t mean that the situation is hopeless, but rather that the person believes it is. This is the stage where I was when I attempted suicide and diagnosed with MDD.

External
  • I’m unable to sleep most nights
  • I lack an appetite
  • I neglect my hygiene
  • I’m recklessness
  • I make worrying comments such as “no one will miss me when I’m gone” or talking about killing myself
  • I don’t make plans for the future or I’m giving away my possessions
  • I consistently self-medicate through drugs, alcohol, sex, cutting, or other harmful activities
  • I cry almost every day
  • I isolate myself from the people around me
  • I have anxiety which manifests in panic attacks
  • I have severe anger outbursts
Internal
  • I have suicidal thoughts
  • I feel overwhelmingly stressed
  • I’m apathetic and have a complete lack of energy
  • I’m unable to focus on anything
  • I no longer believe in my religion
  • I am always miserable

Level 2: Troubled

At this stage, the person still has hope in overcoming these challenges. And while this is, by no means, a good place to be emotionally, it’s easier to recover in this level than in Level 1. Many of the signs at this stage are similar or the same as Level 1 but less severe and/or consistent.

External
  • I am unable to sleep some nights
  • I lack an appetite
  • I’m beginning to neglecting their hygiene
  • I’m reckless
  • I make worrying comments such as “no one will miss me when I’m gone” or talking about killing myself
  • I don’t make plans for the future
  • I consistently self-medicating through drugs, alcohol, sex, cutting, or other harmful activities
  • I cry often
  • I isolate myself from the people around me
  • I have some anxiety manifesting occasional panic attacks, and nervous tics
  • I hang out with different friends than I used to (usually ones who don’t bring out the best in me)
  • I have anger outbursts
Internal
  • I have occasional suicidal thoughts
  • I experience consistent stress
  • I am generally apathetic and have a lack of energy
  • I’m unable to focus on most things
  • I’ve started to doubt my religion
  • I am sad

Level 3: Functioning

It’s common for people’s mental health to be at this level. This is what many might call “normal.” However, there are still general struggles to overcome. And while none of these traits are “bad” per se, they can still be improved for a healthier sense of well being.

External
  • I don’t consistently receive the amount of sleep I need
  • I lack consistent healthy eating and exercise
  • I occasionally self-medicate through drugs, alcohol, sex, or other harmful activities
  • I experience light anxiety manifesting in nervous tics or habits
  • I hang out with some people who don’t help me be a better person
  • I occasionally have anger outbursts
Internal
  • I occasionally contemplate the meaning of life and wonder why I should keep living
  • I have a lack of energy and motivation when trying to accomplish something hard and/or not that exciting
  • I don’t manage stress well, and it causes me anxiety, which I hide from others
  • I usually forget to focus on end goals but, instead, get lost in day-to-day tasks
  • I’m happy most of the time if I can distract myself from thinking about my problems

Level 4: Self-Aware

Reaching this level is the ultimate goal. This where you have control over your mind and, by extension, your body. If you’re at this level, you feel satisfied with your life and hopeful for the future.

External
  • I consistently receive the amount of sleep I need
  • I eat healthily and exercise every day
  • I never self-medicate but, instead, have a healthy routine for dealing with difficult situations
  • I experience no anxiety in my daily life, even when I’m stressed
  • I surround myself with people who build me up and make me a better person
  • I work out my anger without outbursts or unhealthy reactions
Internal
  • I feel confident with my purpose in life
  • I remain motivated and energetic even when I trying to accomplish something hard and not that exciting
  • I manage the little unhealthy stress I have immediately and effectively by meditation and/or modifying my workload
  • I focus on my end goals and consistently accomplish tasks to achieve them
  • I consider myself a happy person
Now learn how to overcome your challenges and reach the next level >