Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their abilities, can cope with their problems and make contributions to society. It encompasses a person’s ability to enjoy their life and have hope for the future. People with good mental health are able to cope with stress and adversity, have healthy relationships, maintain meaningful work, and contribute to their communities in productive ways.
Unfortunately, many people worldwide don’t receive the treatment they need. According to the World Health Organization, mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability globally, yet only about 2 percent of global health care spending is directed toward this area. Furthermore, mental illness is associated with stigma and social exclusion, which further impedes access to care.
The vast majority of mental illnesses can be treated. Research shows that early diagnosis and intervention are key to improving a person’s prognosis and quality of life. Fortunately, there are many effective treatments, such as psychotherapy (talk therapy), antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, there are medications that can help to alleviate the symptoms of some conditions.
Despite the availability of effective treatments, many people do not receive the care they need. According to a study published in 2022 by the Pew Research Center, about 8.5 million adults report having anxiety and depression symptoms but do not receive mental health treatment, such as medication or therapy. The study also found that receipt of treatment was lowest among young adults, Black adults, men and uninsured individuals.
While the exact causes of mental illnesses are not fully understood, there are a variety of factors that can increase or decrease a person’s risk for developing one. These include genetics, aspects of the environment — such as social learning and culture — and the way the brain works in combination with other parts of the body.
For example, having a close family member who has a mental illness increases the chances of an individual getting one as well. However, it’s important to note that just because a person has a relative with a certain condition does not mean they will develop the same disorder.
A person’s quality of life can be significantly impacted by their level of distress, meaning how much they are bothered or bothered badly by things in their lives. The higher the level of distress, the less likely someone is to engage in healthy behaviors such as going to school and exercising regularly.
In order to increase engagement in these behaviors, the community must be involved. This means that health systems, governments and other institutions must provide accessible mental health services and eliminate the stigma surrounding these issues. It is also essential that campaigns to raise awareness of the issue be informed by experiential knowledge from service users and their families. This can be achieved by integrating new knowledge from fields such as neuroscience, genetics and recovery to support evidence-based, patient-centered approaches.