Mental health is the foundation of emotions, thinking, learning, communication and resilience. It also contributes to relationships, self-esteem and the ability to contribute to community or society. It is a component of overall well-being that can be influenced and affected by physical health, which is why it’s important to keep both in good shape. Occasionally, low or depressed moods are normal during certain life events, such as when a loved one dies. However, if these feelings persist and interfere with functioning, it may be a sign of a mental health problem and warrant professional care.
A person’s mental health can be impacted by a variety of factors, including genetics, environment and lifestyle choices. Many people with a mental illness, such as schizophrenia and depression, experience poorer health and higher mortality rates than those who don’t have these conditions. Poorer mental health is also linked to lower quality of life and a greater risk of isolation.
Emotional mental disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide and they disproportionately impact low and middle-income countries, which cannot afford treatment and rehabilitation services. Moreover, the consequences of untreated mental illness are far-reaching and can have an impact on other aspects of human life, such as employment and family stability.
The current model of mental health focuses on diagnosing and treating people who have mental disorder and not those who are at risk for developing it (the “languishing” group). This approach has a number of shortcomings, not least that there is little to no effort at prevention in the general population.
Although mental health problems can make it challenging to work, study and maintain a regular schedule, it is possible to overcome these challenges with early and consistent treatment-which often involves a combination of counseling and medication. Psychotherapy is a general term for the scientifically based treatment of emotional disorders and it encompasses a wide range of practices, including gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, hypnotherapy and support groups. This type of treatment can be provided by psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists as well as some primary care physicians.
Psychologists and psychiatric nurses also have the skills to provide care for children and adolescents with emotional mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. These professionals can help families understand these issues and work with them to develop strategies for coping.
There is a growing movement in psychology away from deficit models and toward a more holistic view of psychological health. This new approach, known as flourishing or positive psychology, focuses on enhancing happiness and fostering the development of strengths and virtues. This movement is gaining momentum because it emphasizes the importance of both emotional and functional dimensions of mental health, and recognizes that these are interrelated. It also stresses the need for research to be contextualized, particularly for marginalized populations, in order to ensure that its findings are relevant and useful to them. It is important to note that this context switch can be difficult, especially for researchers who are used to a more theoretical and abstract way of working.