Psychological health is the foundation for emotions, thinking and communication. It impacts learning, resilience and hope as well as relationships and a person’s ability to contribute to his or her community and society. It is also a critical part of physical well-being and can be influenced by and impact the body.
Life presents us with many challenges, complexities and setbacks that can challenge our psychological health. These include mental illness, substance abuse, trauma and other adversities. Mental health is a combination of biology, environment and access to treatment, psychotherapy and counseling.
Mental health is a dynamic state of internal equilibrium that enables individuals to realize their own abilities and live in harmony with the universal values of humanity. It is a process of self-actualization, as described by the World Health Organization (WHO). Psychological health includes emotional and social well-being, influencing cognition, perception and behavior. It encompasses the ability to cope with everyday stresses and challenges, maintain healthy relationships, make responsible decisions, and work productively and meaningfully.
A person’s mental health can be affected by their genes, their environment and the ways in which they manage stress and other negative influences such as anxiety, depression, trauma and suicide. In addition, some people have a harder time coping with the normal challenges of life than others. This may include adversities related to their gender, race/ethnicity or socioeconomic status.
Psychotherapy is the scientifically based treatment of mental health problems. It consists of a wide variety of approaches and schools, such as gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychedelic therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy. It is carried out by psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and some primary care physicians. It can help a person understand the roots of their problems and learn more healthful thought patterns that support daily living and reduce the risk for isolation, self-harm and relapse.
Medications are also used in the treatment of mental illness. These include antidepressants, antipsychotics and anxiolytic drugs. These medications are not a cure but can improve symptoms and reduce the need for hospitalization or emergency room visits. It is recommended that you seek treatment from a licensed professional to determine what types of medications are best for you.
It is important to stick with your treatment plan. If you have a broken leg, you wouldn’t try to tough it out, so why do it with your mental health? Getting the right diagnosis, receiving treatment and maintaining consistent care can help you manage your condition, overcome obstacles, and lead a happy, fulfilling life. Just as with other medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, getting diagnosed early is the key to preventing mental health complications down the road. If you have concerns about your psychological health, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Remember, it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. Just like with a toothache, it is a sign of strength to admit you need it. You wouldn’t think of asking for help with your physical health, so why not your mental health?