Mental Health and Well-Being

mental health

A person’s mental health affects how they cope with stress, maintain healthy relationships and make decisions. It can be influenced by genetics, their life experience, social and cultural environments as well as life events and circumstances.

If you or a loved one exhibits uncharacteristic anger, irritability, despondency, loss of interest in activities they usually enjoy or problems with sleeping and energy levels it is a red flag that there is a problem. If it persists or has been dragging on for a while, it is important to seek professional counsel and look for underlying causes.

Children and youth are at a high risk for mental health issues. They are exposed to countless messages about self-esteem and well-being throughout their lives, but the tumultuous teenage years can be especially difficult. Often, the signs of mental illness first appear during this time. Parents may not recognize them and instead assume that unwanted behavior is just a phase or that their child has “grown out of it”.

It’s important to get help if you think you or a family member has a mental illness, or even if you just feel down in the dumps. The good news is that most people with mental illness can recover and lead fulfilling lives. Treatment varies by type of illness but generally includes talk therapy and medicine. Typical medicines include antidepressants for depression, mood stabilisers for bipolar disorder and psychotic medication for schizophrenia and psychosis.

Although there are many factors that contribute to mental illness, the most common ones are negative childhood experiences (abuse or neglect) and ongoing stresses and traumatic experiences (such as living in a war zone). Certain medical conditions and hormone changes can also increase the likelihood of some illnesses.

The global burden of mental disorders is huge. Unfortunately, the resources allocated to mental health are insufficient and unevenly distributed, resulting in an enormous gap in access to care. This gap is exacerbated by social stigma and discrimination against people with mental illness.

In addition to talking therapy, there are many things you can do to maintain and improve your mental health. Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and have positive social relationships. Try to avoid alcohol, illegal drugs and over-the-counter and prescription medications that are not prescribed by your doctor.

Spending time on leisure activities is important. Doing something just for fun can lift your spirits and make you feel happier. Some examples of these include going to a funny movie, playing sports or taking a long walk. It’s also a good idea to practise gratitude and take a moment in the day to appreciate what is good in your life. Practicing mindfulness can help to reduce anxiety and depression. You can do this by focusing on what you are grateful for, by practicing mindfulness meditation or simply by noticing and appreciating beauty in your environment (such as the sunset). Having a hobby is another way to keep your mind active and prevent mental health issues.