Mental health is the foundation for emotions, thinking, communication, learning, resilience, hope and self-esteem. It is important to maintain good mental health because it can be affected by a variety of factors, including stress, depression, anxiety and trauma.
People with mental health issues often experience a range of different symptoms, which can make it hard to know what they are going through and how to deal with it. This is why it’s a good idea to talk about your feelings and concerns with a friend, family member or healthcare professional.
Some people find it helpful to attend a support group, where they can share their experiences and learn about better ways to cope with their condition. These are usually free and often led by those who have personal experience of a mental health condition.
The diagnosis of a mental illness is made by your doctor using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). It will include information about your thoughts, moods and behaviours and may be accompanied by a questionnaire.
DSM-5 diagnoses are based on the latest research and standards in the field, and help therapists provide the most appropriate treatment for their patients. They also are used by insurance companies to bill for mental health services.
While the DSM is a useful tool, some mental health professionals are concerned that its strict criteria can lead to over-diagnosis of mental disorders and unnecessary medications. It can also create stigma, which could prevent some patients from seeking help.
Despite these risks, the DSM has been used for decades. In its fifth edition, published in 2013, it introduced many changes to the way it identifies and describes mental health problems.
In addition to reclassifying some disorders, the DSM has also changed the terminology and diagnostic criteria for others. These shifts in terminology and criteria are influenced by changing societal values and social norms, as well as shifting trends in psychology and psychiatry.
It is therefore important that the new DSM be adapted to reflect the current state of science and the new findings from mental health research and recovery, as well as the experiences of service users and their families. In addition, it would be helpful to integrate new explanatory models of mental illness with biogenetic and social-cultural approaches.
There is a need to address the issue of over-diagnosis. This is particularly the case in communities of color, where access to mental health services is more challenging than for other groups.
A person who has suffered a trauma or has been exposed to an extreme event such as the Ebola virus pandemic may be more likely to suffer from anxiety, depressive disorder, starting or increasing substance use and suicidal thoughts. These conditions are also more prevalent among essential workers, who may face additional physical and psychological stresses.
Despite these challenges, people with mental health conditions can recover to live normal and productive lives. However, it is important that they receive help early on to manage their illness.