What is Mental Health?

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. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available.

Early Warning Signs

Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Learn more about specific mental health problems and where to find help.


If you or someone you care about is feeling unsafe or wants to harm yourself/themselves or others - help is available.

  • Call 911 in an emergency

  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: dial 988 or online at 988lifeline.org provides free, 24/7, confidential support (formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline). National Suicide Crisis Hotline that automatically directs the call to the nearest crisis center. 

  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOPELINE to 741741 to connect with counselors 24/7/365.

  • HDC's Project Reach Out 24-hour Crisis Line for Youth: 715-394-9177; Outside of Douglas County (1-800-777-7844) 

  • Trevor Project (LGBTQIA+ support) 24/7/365 crisis line: text “START” to 678678; Call 1-866-488-7386; Chat at thetrevorproject.org/get-help.

Additional Resources
Crisis Support Resource List

If you see something, say something

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 The Mental Health First Aid Action Plan

Resources for Families
Handling a Mental Health Crisis

Local Mental Health Resources

Suicide Prevention
provided by Wisconsin DPI

Supporting Children's Mental Health: Tips for Parents and Educators

Northland Children's Mental Health Collaborative 
Youth mental health resources for children and families.

NAMI(National Alliance on Mental Illness) Duluth Area

NAMI Lake Superior South Shore WI
Resources, support groups and advocacy.

2-1-1 Head of the Lakes United Way
Dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-543-7709. Free, confidential, 24 hour information on community, health and social services.

Signs of Suicide Prevention Program
Parent Username: superiorhs-par
Parent Password: superiorhs-par

Mental Health America of Wisconsin

Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health

Douglas County Resources

Mental Health Fact Sheets

Symptom Checker