Mental health is an integral part of well-being, and it is shaped by a complex interplay of individual, social and structural factors. The most effective approaches to mental health involve prevention, early intervention and treatment.
Psychosocial interventions include psychotherapy, counselling, community psychiatry, family therapy and support groups. For certain diagnoses, medication may also be considered.
Therapeutic interventions for mental disorders focus on achieving a positive change in feeling, self-esteem, mood, perceptions, thoughts and actions. They are different from medical conditions, where the main focus is restoring dysfunctional physiologic mechanisms and preventing disease.
Many people who experience mental disorders are able to lead fulfilling and productive lives. However, some disorders can be very distressing and interfere with their daily activities. These symptoms can be a sign that it is time to seek professional help.
Some of the most common mental disorders are anxiety, depression and substance use disorders. These can affect people of all ages and genders, and can impact their ability to work, study and socialize.
There are several causes of mental illness, including genetics and the way your brain works. You can also get a mental illness as a result of life events such as trauma or abuse.
The most effective approach to mental health is prevention. Developing the psychological skills and abilities to manage stress, emotions, relationships and physical health can reduce your risk of mental health disorders.
Having positive social support can be extremely important. Being seen as an individual rather than a disease or disability can help you feel less alone and more supported by others.
Protective factors, such as having good social support and a stable home environment, can increase your chances of having healthy mental health. You can also take steps to prevent your condition from worsening, such as avoiding alcohol and drugs, being physically active and eating healthy foods.
Socioeconomic circumstances, such as poverty and lack of access to health services, can also contribute to mental illnesses. For example, living in a poor city and not having enough money to pay for health care can be stressful and cause mental disorders.
Adverse childhood experiences, such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse can also increase your risk of mental illnesses. For example, having experienced abuse or violence at a young age can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Some people who have PTSD feel that they are at risk for future traumatic events and think their life or the lives of other people are in danger. They might have panic attacks or nightmares.
These feelings can make it hard for you to get the sleep you need, feel safe or be happy. You might also have irritability, headaches or stomachaches.
Other mental disorders can be very difficult to treat, and you might need help from a specialist to find a solution. For example, if you have a phobia you might need medication to stop you worrying so much about things that are out of your control.