Mental health is a vital part of our entire wellbeing. Without sound emotional and psychological health, it is impossible to sustain a good life.
But with 1 in every 8 people suffering from mental disorders, mental health awareness has become the most pressing issue today.
Unfortunately, there is a significant stigma associated with mental wellbeing. As a result, most people suffering from mental disorders never get access to proper medical help.
Educating people about mental wellbeing is a must to remove this stigma and make mental wellbeing a priority for the general public.
Learn what mental health is, its importance in your life, what causes mental disorders, and much more.
With this knowledge, you’ll be able to address mental wellbeing more positively and productively.
What Is Mental Health?
Mental health is essentially a state of mental wellbeing.
It includes everything from our emotional, physical, and psychological health. Not only that, but mental wellbeing also impacts how we feel, think, and act.
Sound mental condition helps us cope with the stress of everyday life. In addition, you reach your potential, learn well, and make the right choices with good emotional health.
Moreover, mental wellbeing controls our capability to communicate & build relationships.
From childhood to adulthood, mental wellbeing is crucial at every stage of our life. Therefore, we must understand that access to mental health intervention is a fundamental human right.
Overall, mental well-being is essential for personal, communal, and global economic development.
Importance of Mental Health
Raising mental health awareness is more critical than ever.
AnNually An estimated 8 million deaths are attributed to mental health problemsSource: Global Mental Health Statistics
Mental wellbeing ripples into everything we think, say, or do. Moreover, mental health affects our physical health too.
Let’s check out the top importance of mental wellbeing:
- Mental Health Affects Physical Health
- Mental Wellbeing Improves Our Mood
- Mental Wellbeing Boosts Self-esteem
- Mental Wellbeing Improves Relationships
- Mental Wellbeing Can Reduce Suicide Rates
- Mental Illness Increases Crime & Violence
Mental Health Affects Physical Health
Likewise, suffering from chronic physical health problems can result in mental disorders.
Mental Wellbeing Improves Our Mood
Positive mental wellbeing is essential for improving our mood. Without mental wellbeing, we cannot stabilize our behavior, thoughts, and emotions.
Mental Wellbeing Boosts Self-esteem
When we feel good mentally and emotionally, everything else falls into place. Good mental health boosts our self-esteem and confidence.
However, mental illness strips our confidence and makes us lose faith in ourselves.
Mental Wellbeing Improves Relationships
Focusing on mental wellbeing allows us to become mentally, emotionally, and psychologically stable. This helps us to improve all our personal, work, and relationships. As a result, our social health improves too.
When you are feeling better mentally, you can put more effort into the relationships in your life. But, if you suffer from mental disorders, relationships, like every other aspect of life, are affected negatively.
Mental Wellbeing Can Reduce Suicide Rates
Research shows of people who committed suicide, 46% were suffering from some form of mental illness. This shows the connection between mental illness and suicide.
Early mental health intervention can help save the lives of so many people. Moreover, by promoting mental health awareness, we can reduce the number of suicides.
Mental Illness Increases Crime & Violence
Poor mental condition increases one’s risk of committing violence and crime. Moreover, mentally disordered people tend to abuse and victimize others.
So, crime & violence can be reduced by raising mental health awareness. Also, we must ensure proper mental health interventions for everyone.
How Common Are Mental Illnesses in the USA?
Mental illness is one of the most prevalent health issues in the US. According to a study done in 2021, about 57.8 million US adults suffer from some form of mental disorder.
That is 1 in 5 people suffering from mental health issues. Moreover, women (27.2%) are more affected by mental illness than males (18.1%).
What’s terrifying is that 17% of the youth aged between 6 to 17 are suffering from mental health problems.
So, you see, mental illness is more common than you think. It’s everywhere in all sectors of society. Therefore, it’s time we take action to spread mental health awareness and save these people.
What Causes Mental Illness?
There are no defined causes for why some people get mental illness, and others don’t. However, several factors can increase the risk of future mental disorders.
Here are the top factors that can contribute to mental health problems:
- Childhood Trauma
- Chronic Medical Conditions
- Biological & Familial Factors
- Traumatic Life Experiences
- Substance Abuse
Childhood trauma can lead to lifelong mental illness—events like abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and abandonment during childhood cause trauma.
Moreover, childhood trauma is the leading cause of severe mental disorders. These disorders can include psychosis, bipolar disorder, and OCD.
Chronic Medical Conditions
People with chronic diseases and long ongoing treatments may develop mental health problems. For example, cancer patients tend to fall into depression and self-harm.
Biological & Familial Factors
Some people are prone to mental illness due to underlying biological factors. In addition, chemical imbalances in the brain and genetics can also increase the risk of mental disorders.
Moreover, people with a family history of mental health problems are at higher risk too.
Traumatic Life Experiences
Life experiences such as domestic violence, divorce, death in the family, neglect, etc., can contribute to mental problems.
In addition, military officers often develop mental health disorders. This happens due to their horrifying experiences of war.
Also, mental diseases can progress faster when people are at their lowest emotional points.
The use of alcohol and other drugs makes us emotionally vulnerable. Continuous engagement in such intoxicated states can increase feelings of loneliness and isolation.
As a result, people with drug and alcohol addiction often find themselves suffering from mental health problems.
Apart from these, the following factors can also adversely affect one’s mental wellbeing:
- Severe stress and anxiety
- Social isolation
- Discrimination at work/family/society
Those who don’t have these factors can still suffer from mental health problems. Because, as said before, you can never pinpoint one reason for someone’s mental condition.
Can Your Mental Health Change Over Time?
Yes, your mental health can change over time depending on various factors. Just because someone is mentally sound today doesn’t mean they can not develop a mental disorder later.
If a person is under more pressure than they can handle, they may develop mental problems.
For instance, losing loved ones, financial crises, and working constant long hours can lead to mental illness.
Types of Mental Health Problems
There are many types of mental health problems varying in severity. However, mental illness can be categorized into two main groups.
- Any Mental Illness (AMI)
- Serious Mental Illness (SMI)
All of the mental disorders fall under AMI. But SMI only includes mental illnesses that seriously disrupts a person’s everyday life.
Here are the most common mental health problems that we must know about:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Self Harm
- Suicide & Suicidal Behavior
- Seasonal Affective Behavior
Anxiety disorders include many different types of mental health problems. These include general anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, panic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Antisocial Personality Disorder
An antisocial personality disorder is a mental illness where the person suffering from this condition tries to manipulate, exploit, or violate others’ rights.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD)
ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental illnesses in the US. It comes with scattering focus, hyperactivity, uncontrollable behavior, and many other symptoms.
Bipolar disorder is one of the most severe mental disorders out there. It can cause unusual mood shifts ranging from mania to depression.
In addition, people with bipolar disorder experience sudden changes in energy, sleep, and behavior. As a result, carrying out everyday tasks become difficult for them.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
BDD is a deadly mental health problem that is eating away at the youth of the world. This condition makes one obsess over their physical appearance and perceived flaws.
Eating disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia develop from body dysmorphia.
about 10,200 people die from eating disorders every single yearSource: Eating Disorder Statistics
People with anorexia starve themselves to death in fear of gaining weight. On the other hand, bulimia makes people eat uncontrollably to the point of becoming extremely higher weight and physically sick.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
BPD is also a personality disorder. Also, it’s known as an emotionally unstable personality disorder.
People suffering from BPD experience every emotion to the extreme. As a result, they tend to have impulsive actions, chaotic relationships, self-image issues, and depression.
Depression is a brain disorder. It is far more than just feeling down for a few days. There are many types of depression.
However, the most common symptoms of depression are:
- Continued sadness
- Sleeping issues, etc.
People with severe depression find it hard to carry on day-to-day life. Moreover, depression can lead to self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD develops in people who have experienced scary, shocking, or dangerous events.
People who have PTSD feel like they are in constant danger, even if they are not. As a result, they suffer from stress and anxiety all the time.
Schizophrenia is considered the deadliest mental illness. Studies show schizophrenia patients live 10 to 20 years less than regular people.
Additionally, schizophrenic people can not distinguish between reality and imagination. That’s not all they suffer from hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, and self-harming behavior.
Self-harm is defined as intentionally injuring one’s own body. It is more common in women than in men.
Moreover, a person who self-harms does not usually intend to kill themselves. However, they are more likely to attempt suicide if they do not get help.
Suicide & Suicidal Behavior
Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the US.
Unfortunately, suicidal feelings can make one feel like their life has no meaning and that people would be better off without them. Moreover, suicide is the end result of many other mental health problems.
Seasonal Affective Behavior (SAD)
People with seasonal affective behavior experience depression with the season change. For example, it’s more common in winter when there is less sunlight.
Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness
Are you worried someone you know is suffering from mental problems? Suppose they exhibit one or more of the following behaviors or emotions.
In that case, it can be an early sign of mental health disorder:
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Eating too much or too little
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Feeling pessimistic and hopeless
- Exhibiting severe mood swings
- Thinking of self-harm or harming others
- Complaining of unexplained aches and pains
- Being constantly tired and low on energy
- Increased smoking, drinking, or drug usage
- Fighting with friends and family for small matters
- Hearing voices or seeing things that are not real
- Isolating themselves from usual activities and people
- Being unusually confused, absentminded, upset, stressed, or scared
Tips for Living Well With Mental Health Problems
Having mental health problems can make our everyday life a struggle.
However, early mental health intervention can help make life easier for the affected people.
Mental health intervention can include a combination of medication and psychotherapy. So, if you or someone close to you is suffering from mental disorders, there’s no need to lose hope.
Here are some tips for living well with mental wellbeing issues:
- Stick To A Treatment Plan
- Keep Your Primary Therapist/doctor Updated
- Learn About The Condition
- Practice Good Self-care
- Reach Out To Family & Friends
- Develop Coping Skills
- Get Enough Sleep
- Eat Healthy Food
Stick To A Treatment Plan
People often complain that mental illnesses don’t get better from treatment. However, this misconception comes from the place where people usually stop the medication as soon as they feel better. Unfortunately, this allows the illness to creep back in.
But you should never do so without consulting your doctor or therapist. They can adjust the frequency of visits or the dosage of medicines. In addition, your doctor can even change the course of treatment based on your progress.
Keep Your Primary Therapist/Doctor Updated
Most mental health problems are lifelong disorders. As a result, to keep the illness in control and lead a good life, you need continuous treatment.
Hence, primary care therapists and psychiatrists are crucial for managing mental disorders. So, keep your therapist updated on your symptoms and mental state.
Learn About The Condition
Learning about your condition will help you understand it more. Additionally, you’ll be able to identify the events that trigger your condition. This, in turn, will help you to manage day-to-day life in a better way.
What’s more, your loved ones will be more supportive and understanding if you educate them about mental health.
Practice Good Self-care
Self-care can improve your overall mental condition. Meditation, yoga, and exercise can help you manage stress and feel better.
Also, try to maintain a healthy routine in your everyday life, including eating healthy and sleeping enough.
Reach Out To Family & Friends
No one can hold the weight of the world alone, especially not people who have a mental illness. So, don’t be embarrassed to reach out to family and friends.
Keeping good social relationships can help with mental wellbeing too. Also, in times of need, they can help you stay afloat.
Develop Coping Skills
Different people deal with mental illness in different ways. A coping mechanism that works for your friend may not work for you. So, find a healthy coping mechanism that works for your condition.
It could be anything like meditating, doing a hobby, going for a run, or cooking for yourself.
Just make sure your coping mechanism is not a harmful habit like smoking or drinking.
Get Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, sleeping enough can solve many of our mental health issues. In addition, when you are well-slept, you feel more energized and ready to tackle everyday struggles.
Moreover, good sleep improves mood, brain performance, and overall physical & mental wellbeing.
So, make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. Additionally, set up a bedtime and morning routine.
Eat Healthy Food
What you consume also affects your mental wellbeing. So, eat fresh, healthy foods that energize your body and mind.
Also, avoid overeating sugary or oily foods. Also, try eliminating harmful habits like drinking, smoking, and drug abuse.
Want to know more about how to stay healthy? Check out these articles:
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Mental health has a profound effect on all areas of our life. You’ve learned how mental disorders can disrupt our life and even lead to untimely death.
So, if you are feeling your mental condition declining or witnessing the same in someone close to you, get help. Many online and offline resources help people with mental health problems.
Get help before it’s too late!