When was your last mental health checkup?

There is growing support among experts in both the mental health and medical fields that a mental health checkup should be as routine as a physical. Barbara Sahakian, a professor in neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, UK, offered her support for keeping the brain “fit” this past weekend in a presentation at the Advancing Science, Serving Society annual meeting. 

“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.

“We need to educate the public about what to look for and make them aware of the importance of early detection and intervention,” Sahakian said during her presentation.

Sahakian pointed out the importance of maintaining good mental health as it relates to supporting resilience and identifying issues early, which is cost-effective and can prevent the long-term impact of unaddressed mental health conditions. 

Sahakian also discussed how the technological advances of the last decade can help move the field forward when it comes to addressing mental health –for example, cognitive training with iPad applications.