Many people are now becoming health conscious. However, it is not only their physical health that they should take care of, as mental health is an issue that everyone should be aware of. Mental illnesses can affect everyone, and the burden that it places to the individual as well as to society is quite significant.
Mental health has been recognized as a disease just recently. Now, governments are slowly realizing that keeping positive mental health is significant, for a variety of reasons. As such, countries are now developing initiatives and programs to help support those with mental problems to live normal lives.
This article aims to discuss mental disorders and how it is important to keep a healthy mind. This article does not include neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease and focuses more on conditions that are preventable and treatable.
Mental Health Fact Sheet
The World Health Organization estimates that one in every four individuals will suffer one form of mental illness during their lifetime. Reports also indicate that there are currently about half a billion people that are currently suffering from one type of mental illness or another worldwide.
These figures, however, can be greatly understated due to the lack of reporting. This is because of the shame and stigma of mental diseases that prevent the sufferer from seeking professional help. As such, the number of those affected can be much higher than reported.
Currently, not all countries are well equipped with resources necessary to battle mental illnesses. A large number of governments do not have the adequate policies, legislation, and budget allocated for the support and treatment of mental illnesses. Available medicine and specialists for treatment are also lacking.
Common types of mental illnesses include:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Personality Disorder
- Substance Abuse
On the other hand, those who are more susceptible to different kinds of mental illnesses are listed below. However, you should take note that anyone can be struck by some kind of mental disorder at any given time.
- Victims of abuse especially during childhood
- Those who have experienced trauma or wars
- Those who have experienced bullying
- Those with a family history of mental illness
- Physical trauma to the brain
Why is Mental Health Important?
Mental illnesses affect the way that we think, feel, and act. Most of the time, this effect is negative and can manifest as an inability to react to regular occurrences in an individual’s life. As such, below are the reasons why maintaining good mental health is absolutely important.
It Complements Physical Health
Mental disorders often cause you the sufferer to be lethargic and not care about his or her physical appearance. As a result, issues such as hygiene or personal health are often neglected. Those who suffer from substance abuse can also negatively affect their health by indulging in drugs or alcohol.
It Affects Your Productivity
Disorders such as depression will severely affect productivity. Efficiency will decrease and mistakes will often be made as their minds are not focused on the task at hand. Those with good mental health can focus and concentrate better, allowing for better work output.
It Can Save Your (and Others’) Life
Those who are suffering from mental health problems may experience depression as well as diminished purpose in life. As such, those with mental illnesses are much more likely to take their own life. Those suffering from neuroses can also harm others during psychotic attacks.
It Improves Social Relationships
Mental disorders can alienate friends and family. Aside from isolating themselves, sufferers of mental illnesses can also experience a lack of support from their social circles due to stigma or even fear. The responsibility and burden of care may also be too much for the people around their immediate surroundings.
It Helps You Adapt
Maintaining positive mental health is important as they are much more adaptable to changing circumstances. They can be flexible to changing times and can quickly adjust emotionally and mentally. This is very important in order to be productive as well as to maintain relationships with everyone around them.
Warning Signs of Mental Health Problems
There are several warning signs for mental health sufferers. Some of these symptoms manifest all at once, while some may not even appear up until the condition is already severe. It should also be noted that, in some cases, the sufferer puts up a positive front while letting symptoms manifest in private.
Some of the most common warning signs of mental health problems include but are not limited to:
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Irregular mood swings
- Overeating or undereating
- Substance abuse
- Lethargy or lack of empathy
- Reduced productivity
- Increased periods of isolation from friends and family
- Excessive shyness
- Irregular responses or emotions to events i.e. smiling during a death of a family member
- Violent outbursts
If someone that you know manifests any of the symptoms mentioned above, then it is recommended that you advise him to seek professional help.
How to Maintain Mental Health
There are many ways by which you can maintain good mental health. Keeping a positive outlook is always important, and it can be further improved by meditation exercises, breathing exercises as well as yoga. Staying away from negative influences and, in some cases, news and social media are also advised.
Taking care of your physical health has also been proven to help improve mental health. If you are happier in your own skin, then you will be more confident, happy, and contented. As such, eating healthily, getting regular exercise, and getting plenty of sleep are highly recommended.
Spending time with family and friends, having a hobby, and owning a pet are also great ways to maintain mental health. Being happy and content either alone or with others is a clear sign that your mental well-being is in a good state.
For those who are suffering from mental illnesses, seeking professional help is absolutely important. A combination of therapy and medication can treat most mental disorders. It is also critical that you involve your closest family and friends during these troubling times as their support can greatly help in your progress.