The Importance of Psychological Health

Psychological health is a state of well-being in which people realize their own abilities, can cope with normal stresses and problems in life, can work productively and fruitfully, and are able to make a contribution to their community. It is determined by a complex interplay of factors, including genetics, environment and the degree to which individuals are able to access and use effective treatments.

Behavioral health disorders are a significant cause of illness and disability in the United States. They affect all ages and can have many causes, from abnormal genes that are passed down through generations to chemical imbalances in the brain. Often, they occur in conjunction with other medical conditions and can be prevented or managed through treatment.

There is a growing recognition of the importance of psychological health in human development and functioning. This new emphasis on the centrality of mental health is largely driven by international efforts to promote and protect it, and by a growing body of evidence that shows the economic costs of untreated mental illness.

Mental illness can be triggered by a variety of events, including stress, the loss of a job or a relationship breakup, and physical illnesses such as cancer or a stomach ulcer. It can also be caused by traumatic births, accidents and injuries, or chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or depression. Many of these conditions can be treated with medication, therapy or other lifestyle changes.

Some people who are struggling with a psychological disorder can benefit from support groups, while others may find psychotherapy helpful. There are many different types of therapy, including gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Individual therapy focuses on the process of addressing a specific problem, while group therapy involves discussing issues with peers.

Emotional mental disorders are a leading global cause of disability and account for 37% of all years lost to disease worldwide. They are especially devastating in low- and middle-income countries, which have fewer resources to treat them.

Historically, there has been a tendency to view mental health as a measure of positive emotions and the ability to function in daily life. However, this narrow approach risks excluding adolescents who may be shy or have trouble socializing, and it excludes those who struggle with feelings of anxiety or depression. It also risks neglecting the fact that, for some, emotional distress can be a major risk factor for suicide. Understanding this risk can lead to age-appropriate programs that teach skills for resisting peer pressure, avoiding high-risk situations and regulating emotions. These programs can help reduce suicide rates. They can also be used to help prevent and treat depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders that can put people at risk for suicide. These programs can be provided through schools, community organizations and other settings. They can be delivered by trained mental health professionals or by volunteers. Using these programs in conjunction with other prevention and treatment strategies can significantly improve the quality of care for people with emotional mental disorders.