Mental health is a key part of overall well-being, influencing emotions, thinking, communication, learning, resilience and hope. It also determines how people manage stress, interpersonal relationships and decision-making.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of emotional and behavioral well-being that involves the ability to cope with the normal stresses of life, maintain healthy relationships and participate fully in work and other activities.” It’s crucial to maintaining good physical health because it can help prevent serious illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
There is no single cause of mental illness, but there are a variety of factors that can increase your risk. These include genetics, how your brain works, how you grew up, your environment and social group, your culture and your life experience.
Psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are characterized by significant changes in mood or thinking. They often cause distress and may interfere with social, work or family activities. They are treatable, but recovery requires time and effort.
Medications are often used to control the symptoms of these illnesses, such as a prescription for antidepressants or mood stabilisers. Lifestyle changes can help as well, such as avoiding drugs and alcohol, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly.
Treatment for mental health conditions is based on an individual’s needs, which are assessed through interviews and questionnaires. A team of health professionals, including a psychiatrist or psychologist and the patient’s family, develop an individualized plan for treatment. The goal is to help patients restore their mental health and lead normal, productive lives.
In the United States, nearly one in five adults and adolescents live with a mental health disorder. This is a significant public health problem that requires attention.
More than ever, mental health is at the forefront of our public health discussions. This is because mental illnesses are more common–and much more severe–than previously thought.
The vast majority of individuals who have mental health disorders can live normal, productive lives and are able to get help if they need it. However, some people with mental health disorders don’t receive the care they need because there are too few resources.
A shortage of psychiatric specialists has led to a gap in care, with mental health services often not available in the same places as traditional medical treatments. This has caused significant unmet needs for treatment in some areas of the world, especially in developing countries.
Despite progress, mental health is still stigmatized. This can make it difficult for people to seek the care they need, causing them to delay seeking treatment or to avoid seeing a doctor entirely.
This stigma can also negatively affect people’s self-esteem, affecting their decisions about treatment and making it harder for them to find employment or access education. It can also lead to a high rate of suicide.
There is no cure for mental illness, but with proper treatment and support, most people can learn to live with it. This includes learning to recognize the warning signs, taking steps to reduce the impact of the symptoms on your life and receiving help when you need it.