Mental health is a broad term that refers to the ability of people to deal with emotions, think clearly and communicate effectively. It is essential to the ability to establish and maintain positive relationships, learn new skills and develop a sense of well-being or happiness.
Many mental disorders have physical roots, so it is important to consider your overall health and wellness when deciding whether you need professional help. If you have any physical problems that might be linked to your mental condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, talk to your doctor about integrating these health conditions into your treatment plan.
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders worldwide. They can cause serious and long-lasting problems for many people, so it is important to know how to detect them early on so that you can get the care you need.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” It also includes mental wellbeing, which means having a sense of happiness and satisfaction with life.
In the United States, one in every five adults experiences a mental health problem or illness at some point in their lives. About a fifth of US adults suffer from a diagnosable substance use disorder, such as alcohol or drug addiction.
Risk factors and protective factors for mental illness include genetics, family history, childhood experiences and social and economic status. Children who grow up in environments where they are vulnerable to adverse events such as abuse, neglect and poor nutrition are more likely to develop mental health disorders later in life.
While most mental disorders are treatable, the impact of mental health issues can be devastating and leave a person with a long-term disability. This can make it difficult to work, go to school or engage in daily activities.
There are several treatment options for mental health concerns, including a combination of psychosocial interventions, behavioural interventions and medication. Medication can be used to reduce feelings of stress and improve mood and self-esteem.
Some antidepressants can boost the brain’s production of feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine. Others may block the breakdown of these chemicals or prevent them from being depleted.
Other treatments include relaxation techniques such as meditation and mindfulness exercises, which can be effective for managing anxiety or depression. You can also try exercise, which is proven to increase energy levels and lower stress.
A third way to promote mental health is through lifestyle changes, such as reducing alcohol intake or increasing sleep. You can also find support online and in groups that provide information about mental health.
Reducing stigma and discrimination is a key part of combating the negative stigma that surrounds mental illness. The Royal College of Psychiatrists has developed a campaign called Changing Minds to help eliminate this stigma.
President Biden has also outlined a multipronged strategy to help tackle the country’s mental health crisis, including integrating mental health into primary care, investing in the work force and new approaches to programs that provide care. In his first State of the Union address, he also mentioned a new National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline that uses a three-digit dialing code to reach people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The shift has shown some early success, with calls jumping 45% in the first month of use compared with last year, but there is still much work to be done.