These days, you are fortunate to live in a society that’s informed on the topic of mental health challenges. In many countries around the globe communities are more accepting of someone who faces these challenges compared to a few decades ago. So, you or a loved one may no longer have to hide a fact such as struggling with anxiety or depression; and help is often only a phone call away.
But are you well enough informed to handle these situations appropriately? Just because there are resources available, doesn’t make it easy for everyone to access them. Also, people may still live in denial about a condition for a long time, robbing them of quality of life.
An easy solution to this scenario is empowering people with more information. Instead of only trusting the professionals to assist, we can all be part of a support system for each other. Understanding more about mental health will enable us to help ourselves and others. Also, knowledge will help us identify a problem and obtain assistance before it develops into a crisis.
So, use this guideline to help you understand the topic better and become empowered to help yourself and others even better than before.
Mental Health Defined
Some people will view mental health simply as the absence of any mental disorder or a disability related to mental health. However, when you discuss the topic with experts and even the WHO (World Health Organization), you’ll soon realize it’s about much more.
Firstly, enjoying mental health is to be in a state of general well-being. But the true definition carries this further to include:
- A realization of your personal abilities
- The capacity to deal with normal stress and difficulties that most people face in their daily lives
- Your ability to be productive and engage with opportunities, whether the task is at home or related to a job
- You’re contributing to your community in a positive way
- Maintaining your sense of wellness, so it doesn’t deteriorate in the long run
- Experiencing a sense of happiness and maintaining it over time
What Determines Your Mental Wellbeing?
There’s usually no one factor that determines whether one faces mental health challenges. Your mental wellbeing is the result of:
- Biology and genetics: The chemistry of your brain can impact wellbeing and even your genes can make you predisposed to certain disorders. This isn’t something you have control over, so you need to find ways to manage it.
- Experience: Negative experiences in the past, such as a traumatic event, can determine how you view yourself, life or a situation today.
- Upbringing: How a child is brought up, such as being taught how to handle conflict and stress, can determine future mental health.
- Health: A physical ailment such as chronic pain can result in mental health problems. For example, facing pain with no hope of relief can cause more stress than usual and even depression.
If you suspect a mental health challenge in your own life or someone else’s, it’s clear you can’t be too hasty in judging what the cause is. There are so many factors at play and this shows the value of consulting a professional while you try to improve mental wellbeing.
How Mental Health Defines Your Life
One reason why it’s so essential to keep an eye on a person’s mental health is because it can impact areas of your life that determine the outcome of each and every day:
- Your mood
- How you think about a certain topic
- A person’s behavior in a situation
You can see that mental health includes all aspects of a person’s being, not only psychological but also emotional and even social aspects. It will affect the quality of life a person experiences and if there is a problem it will have a ripple effect that touches other people’s lives too.
Mental health impacts how a person views him or herself. This can affect which situations they allow themselves to experience, such as career paths. You will also handle challenges based on your mood at that given moment. Therefore, your mental health will determine whether stressful situations get the better of you or whether you feel capable to triumph over them.
An aspect of mental health that many people underestimate is how it also affects a person’s physical health. Many mental health disorders have symptoms such as having no energy, which will affect how much exercise you obtain and how healthy your lifestyle is. A person may pick a meal plan based on how they’re feeling. If that plan doesn’t include enough nutritious ingredients, the body will suffer.
Mental wellbeing plays a role in so many diverse aspects of a person’s life. This proves how essential it is to manage and maintain mental health in yourself and those around you.
Common Mental Health Disorders
So, you want to take prompt action if you or someone you know faces a mental health challenge? Here’s some information about common disorders that can help you.
Types and Disorders
Without the necessary training, it may be difficult to pinpoint exactly which disorder is taking its toll. But you may be able to identify one of these types of disorders, which will give you some indication of how to start improving the situation:
- Anxiety disorders: Fear and anxiety will be very prominent and often not appropriate for the situation that triggers it. Conditions include phobias, panic disorder, OCD and PTSD.
- Personality disorders: A person’s personality traits hamper normal functioning, for example paranoid personality disorder.
- Eating disorders: The behavior and emotions that are troubling all relate to food and a person’s weight, such as binge eating disorder.
- Mood disorders: These are also called depressive or affective disorders and can involve levels of elation and depression. It can be seasonal affective disorder, a major depression or bipolar disorder where emotions fluctuate between depression and manic stages.
- Impulse control and addiction: In this case an individual can’t manage decisions and behavior in order to protect themselves or even another person. It can be a compulsion to gamble or an addiction to a drug.
Knowing about the disorders that exist will make it easier to identify a situation that needs urgent attention, rather than simply accepting it as ‘part of someone’s personality’ or ‘bad habits’. Perhaps you can now associate troubling behavior in yourself or someone else with one of these categories?
You can see the range of mental health disorders is quite vast and each will have its own set of symptoms to be analyzed. However, in many cases, the following are telling signs that it’s time to ask for help:
- Changing relationships, such as not communicating with friends anymore
- Changes in sleep cycles and eating habits
- A continual sense of hopelessness and lethargy
- Negative emotions becoming more common than positive ones
- No longer being able to handle daily tasks at home or at work
- Concerning events such as hearing voices, abusing alcohol more often than usual or talking about harming themselves or others
We often don’t realize how mental wellbeing affects a person’s entire life. And waiting too long to implement change can result in a lot of unnecessary challenges, costs and consequences. So, let’s share as much as we can about the topic of mental health so society can continue improving its reaction to this field and the people facing this type of problem.
This is only a general summary on the topic, so it may spark more questions for you? You’re welcome to share your thoughts, concerns and queries with Jacquie Case. Leave a comment or use the online contact form for easy access to the information you need.