Paying attention to your mental health is crucial because it can impact many aspects of your life, including your physical health, relationships, work, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, more people focus on physical health and fail to realize the important relationship of mental self care as well as its impact on your overall health. To fully comprehend mental health’s power on an individual, we must first understand what it means to be healthy mentally.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their abilities, can cope with the everyday stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and provide a positive contribution to their family, friends and community. Mental health is an essential component of overall health—including physical, emotional, intellectual, and social well-being. Mental wellness should be an integral part of a person’s overall health.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA, 1980) defines mental health as: “Simultaneous success at working, loving and creating with the capacity for mature and flexible resolution of conflicts between instincts, conscience, other important people and reality.”
Mental illness is a general term for disorders that affect your moods, thinking, and behavior. Researchers have shown that there is no single cause for these disorders that can be applied across multiple individuals, with the exception of genetics or the occurrence of similar mental illness within a family.
Mental Health Clinicians have education, research and specialized skills to help people experiencing problems associated with their thoughts, feelings, or behaviors. The types of clinicians and mental health professionals include psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners certified in psychiatry, social workers, and counselors (licensed professionals).
Why is mental health important?
Good mental health helps us live, socialize and manage stress better. It also allows us to be more resilient and better equipped to deal with difficult times in life.
Mental health is important because it affects how we feel, relate to others, and think about our lives. It can affect whether or not we can enjoy life, have satisfying relationships and perform daily tasks while reducing stress.
Risk Factors for Poor Mental Health
Mental health is an essential part of overall health, and it affects how you feel and how you think, as well as how you act. Your mental health can also impact your physical health.
Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is important to take care of your mental health just like you would take care of your physical health. Neglecting your mental health can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions, which can have a negative impact on your quality of life.
Many risk factors can contribute to poor mental health. The most common include:
The environment is a huge factor in mental health. Living in a place where you feel unsafe or do not have a sense of community significantly affects your mental health.
In addition to your home environment, the type of work you do can also impact your mental health. Whether you are unhappy or stressed at home or work, your environment affects your overall well-being. According to a Gallup poll, workers’ daily stress reached a high record increasing from 38% in 2019 to 43% in 2020 and it could lead to increased burnout, upset and disengagement. We are not suggesting you quit your job, but there are certainly positive ways to manage stress and reduce exposure to emotionally repetitive harmful environments.
If you are in a physically abusive environment or are being exposed to threatening work relationships, get help immediately. You can report it to your manager for immediate action but if it causes immediate danger, you can contact the police.
Child abuse is a global problem, and it can have a devastating impact on the mental health of children.
It includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect. Child abuse can occur in any family, regardless of country, race, ethnicity, religion, or income level. It crosses social boundaries and affects all age groups.
Childhood abuse is a traumatic experience that changes how children grow up to see themselves and others around them. It can lead to problems with relationships and school performance — or even criminal behavior — now or later in life.
People are born with a specific biological makeup that may or may not predispose them to mental health disorders. For example, people who have a family history of depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety are more at risk for developing these conditions themselves.
The way you live your life has a significant impact on your mental health. The amount of exercise and sleep you get, how much time you spend on social media or watching television, whether you smoke or drink alcohol, and how much stress you experience in your daily life all contribute to good or poor mental health.
Dave Ramsey, a personal finance expert says “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you”. Many people with mental health problems report that their spending patterns and ability to make financial decisions change significantly during poor mental health periods. Recent national polling of people with mental health problems found that, while unwell six in ten (63%) people found it harder to make financial decisions, 42% put off paying bills and 38% took out a loan that they would not otherwise have taken out.
Warning Signs of Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems affect people of all ages and backgrounds. They can be short-term or long-term, and they may come and go.
A healthy mind is needed for a healthy body. Mental health problems can make it difficult to function in daily life. Some mental health conditions also increase your risk of developing other physical health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
If you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health, here are some warning signs to look out for:
- Appetite changes, whether over or undereating
- A noticeable reduction in energy levels
- Being more reclusive and shying away from others
- Feeling persistent despair
- Indulging in alcohol, tobacco, or other harmful substances
- Experiencing unexplained confusion, anger, guilt, or worry
- Severe mood swings
- Picking fights with family and friends
- Hearing voices with no identifiable source
- Acting impulsive causing self-harm or cutting
- Suicidal thoughts, thinking of self-harm or causing harm to others
- Being unable to perform daily tasks with ease
- Preoccupation with death, inappropriate interactions with or mutilation of animals
Benefits of Good Mental Health
Good mental health can improve your life in so many ways. It helps you feel more confident, it allows you to work better, and it helps you to live a happier life.
Here are some of the benefits of good mental health:
A positive self-image is the cornerstone of good mental health. As your self-esteem grows and you begin to feel good about who you are, you’ll build confidence to help handle life’s challenges.
Stronger Ability to Cope With Life’s Stressors
Mental health plays a huge role in how we handle stress. When you have strong mental health, you can handle stressors more effectively and bounce back faster when things don’t go your way. If your mind is clear and at ease, it will be easier for you to remain calm during challenging situations.
According to Bessel Van Der Kole M.D., “Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.” (reference is from his book “The Body Keeps the Score”).
Higher Quality of Life
A person with good mental health tends to enjoy life more than someone who struggles with their mental health every day. They have more energy throughout the day and don’t feel exhausted as quickly as someone without good mental health, which allows them to enjoy activities like exercise and hobbies more often than not.
People with good mental health tend to be more productive and efficient at work. They can focus on the task and are less likely to be distracted by their emotions, which is especially helpful in high-pressure situations.
How to Maintain Mental Health and Well-Being
Mental well-being is a dynamic state of being aware of one’s emotions, having the ability to manage them, and possessing a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life. Achieving mental health can be challenging for any individual, but there are some steps you can take to maintain a healthy mind.
Mental health clinicians are an essential part of your mental health. They are trained to help people understand and cope with the emotional and mental challenges that come with everyday life. Mental health clinicians also provide services for those struggling with stress, anxiety or depression.
Here are some ways to stay mentally healthy:
- Regular exercise
- Enough rest and sleep on a daily basis
- Eating a balanced diet
- Trying meditation and self affirmations
- Learning positive coping skills for life challenges
- Keeping in touch with loved ones
- Maintaining a positive outlook on life
Ways to reach out for help
You might be afraid of being judged or worried about the stigma surrounding mental illness. Or maybe you don’t think anyone else understands what you’re going through. If you or your loved ones are struggling with mental health issues, knowing where to turn for help can be challenging.
No matter what, it’s important not to suffer in silence. Here are some ways to reach out for help:
- Connect with other individuals, friends and family
- Learn more about mental health
- Take a mental health assessment
- Talk to any professional or mental health specialist (The Mental Health Management Group)
Mental health is significantly important, even more than most people realize. Only when mental health becomes more widely accepted will it be addressed without hesitation and an apologetic tone. We need to change that because it’ll never get better. Your Mental health is essential; remember to take care of yourself.
A combination of factors, The Environment, Childhood Abuse, Biology, and Lifestyle, influence mental illness.
Mental illnesses are prevalent, affecting about one in four people at some point in their lives. You may have a mental illness and not know it. Mental health problems can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age, or background.
The common biological factors in mental illness are genetics, brain structure, function, prenatal damage, infections, exposure to toxins, and substance abuse.
It is possible to prevent mental illness, but it requires early detection and treatment. Early detection of mental illness means having the disease’s symptoms before they become severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function or care for themselves. Treatment can be done through medication, psychotherapy, or both.
The following are environmental factors that contribute to mental illness: Social isolation, Stressful life events, Traumatic experiences and Poor coping skills.