What is Mental Health? (A Complete guide)

In this brief guide, we will discuss the subject of mental health, and find out some information about how to maintain the best mental health possible. We will also look at other related topics like Mental Health Issues, types of mental health and why is mental health important.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health may be referred to as being a combination of emotional, psychological and physical well-being and a state in which an individual is able to live the best life possible for them, and is able to deal with regular problems or conflict in a healthy way.

Mental health is becoming a major talking point as we realize more and more how much it matters and how much it can change things if someone is suffering from a mental health issue.

In the past decade alone, things in the mental health field have changed vastly, and a lot of it for the better, which is fantastic given how badly mental illness can affect someone if it goes untreated.

The problem of stigma still plagues the field of mental health, there is no doubt about that, and there are cultures and parts of society where needing to see a psychiatrist or a therapist is still cause for looking at someone differently or thinking of them as lesser somehow, but just the fact that people are at least willing to talk about it, or that there are more resources to take of mental health now, is amazing.

There has also been a resurgence in online services like 7 cups of tea or Supportiv, which have led to better awareness about mental health and has enabled people to seek the necessary help in a more convenient manner, which has certainly made a huge difference.

Another sign that things have gotten better is all the focus that has been given to the mental health of people during the entire COVID-19 pandemic, because given how badly it has affected us in the social sense, and given how we as a collective group are seeing tragedy unfold every day, it has been clear for some time that the mental health repercussions of this virus will be far-reaching and possibly long-term.

The WHO defines Mental health as the following:

“Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

According to the WHO, there has been increasing acknowledgement of the important role mental health plays in achieving global development goals as well, which is also evident in the fact that mental health has been included as a topic under the Sustainable Development Goals.

This may have also been triggered by the fact that the mental health condition we all know well, Depression, is one of the leading causes of disability, and additionally, taking ones life is the second leading cause of loss of life among 15-29-year-olds. 

This statistic, sad as it is, is very true, which is probably why mental health is finally getting the attention it deserves and people are starting to talk about it enough.

Another finding by the WHO is that people with severe mental health conditions also tend to die prematurely and they have found this may be as much as two decades early because they may often succumb to preventable physical conditions.

The WHO has also often reiterated the fact that people with mental health conditions, still experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma.

Possibly the saddest part, however, is that most mental health conditions can be effectively treated at relatively low cost, yet those that actually need care might not be able to get it or simply may not realize that they need it.

The WHO also says that there is a need for more investment on all fronts: for mental health awareness to increase understanding and reduce stigma; for efforts to increase access to quality mental health care and effective treatments; and for research to identify new treatments and improve existing treatments for all mental disorders. 

In 2019, WHO also launched the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023): Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health which is meant to ensure access to quality and affordable care for mental health conditions in 12 priority countries to 100 million more people.

Why is Mental Health Important?

Mental health is important because it is an integral part of our functioning, and when our mental health is not working right, chances are that the physical health will suffer at some point too, not to mention, if mental health deteriorates too much, it can also lead to loss of life by taking ones life or self-harm in some way.

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health, and this is very evident in the fact that Mental illness, for instance depression, increases the risk for many types of physical health problems, particularly long-lasting conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. 

Another major clinically proven fact is that the presence of chronic physical illness can also lead to mental health problems, which has led to many branches of psychology that are now focusing on simply the mental health conditions resulting from chronic physical illnesses.

A big reason why mental health is is so important is also that when mental healths not at its best, it can sometimes lead to us not performing well enough without even knowing why we aren’t doing well, which can be a major cause for concern. Support groups are the most relevant and important source of mitigating mental health issues.

Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues or mental health conditions are the same thing, and the refer to any conditions that are caused by the individual suffering a break in their normal emotional functioning or not being able to respond to the demands of their environment.

Mental health issues may be caused by a variety of factors, like psychological environmental, genetic or biochemical changes.

A mental illness may be any condition that affects someone’s ways of thinking, feeling, behavior or mood and they have the potential to interrupt that person’s day-to-day living, as well as their ability to relate to others. 

Something to remember if someone is suffering from a mental health condition or mental illness, is that you are not alone and sad as it is, mental health conditions are actually more common, which is evident in the following figures from NAMI:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year
  • 1 in 25 U.S. adults experience serious mental illness each year
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year
  • 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24

Types of Mental Health Issues

The main types of mental health issues include:

  • Personality Disorders
  • Psychosis (Schizophrenia and related disorders)
  • Mood Disorders
  • Stress- Related and Neurotic Disorders
  • Developmental or Childhood Disorders
  • Disorders related to Behavior or Bodily functioning (Eating disorders, sleep disorders)
  • Substance Abuse Disorders

Mental Health Quotes

Here are some of the best Mental Health quotes to help make you feel better and motivate you to maintain a good state of mental health:

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”: Lori Deschene

“This feeling will pass. The fear is real but the danger is not.” : Cammie McGovern

“But no matter how much evil I see, I think it’s important for everyone to understand that there is much more light than darkness.” : Robert Uttaro

“Tough times never last, but tough people do!”: Robert Schuller

“You are the one thing in this world, above all other things, that you must never give up on. 

When I was in middle school, I was struggling with severe anxiety and depression and the help and support I received from my family and a therapist saved my life. Asking for help is the first step. You are more precious to this world than you’ll ever know.”: Lili Rhinehart

“I would say what others have said: It gets better. One day, you’ll find your tribe. You just have to trust that people are out there waiting to love you and celebrate you for who you are. In the meantime, the reality is you might have to be your own tribe. You might have to be your own best friend. That’s not something they’re going to teach you in school. So start the work of loving yourself.”: Wentworth Miller

“If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.”: Selena Gomez

“My dark days made me stronger. Or maybe I already was strong, and they made me prove it.”:  Emery Lord

“I keep moving ahead, as always, knowing deep down inside that I am a good person and that I am worthy of a good life.”: Jonathan Harnisch

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.”: Joubert Botha

“Many survivors insist they’re not courageous: ‘If I were courageous I would have stopped the abuse.’ ‘If I were courageous, I wouldn’t be scared’… Most of us have it mixed up. You don’t start with courage and then face fear. You become courageous because you face your fear.”: Laura Davis

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we discussed the subject of mental health, and looked at some information about how to maintain the best mental health possible. We also looked at other related topics like Mental Health Issues, types of mental health and why is mental health important.

Mental health is finally starting to get the same kind of attention that it should have always received, but for many reasons, didn’t.

That is not to say that there is no stigma towards mental health anymore, because there is, in fact not it has somehow gotten worse, likely because the more people talk about it, the more it seems to enrage the parts of society that were taught that mental health was not important.

More people need to realise the importance of maintaining a good state of mental health because it is just as important as physical health, and may even be more so in some cases.

If you have any questions or comments about mental health, or what to know how to maintain the best possible mental health, please feel free to reach out to us at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Mental Health

What are the 4 types of mental illness?

4 types of mental illness are:

Stress or Neurotic Disorders
Mood Disorders
Developmental Disorders
Psychosis or Personality disorders

How do you define mental health?

Mental health may be defined as the combination of emotional, psychological, and social well-being and this concept affects the way we think, feel, and act. 

Mental health condition of an individual also determines how they handle stress, relate to others, and make choices in their day to day life.

Taking care of one’s Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

What are the 5 signs of mental illness?

5 signs of mental illness are as follows:

Pervasive or constant sadness or irritability.
Social withdrawal.
Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
Very high and low moods.
Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety.

What are the examples of mental health?

Examples of mental health may include having the ability to make good decisions, being able to form good interpersonal relationships with others, being able to carry on one’s day to day activities.

Mental health is considered to be in jeopardy when there is presence of mental illness, which is a disturbance in an individual’s normal level of functioning.

What triggers mental illness?

Factors that may trigger mental illness include lifestyle changes of a great magnitude, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of all of them.

Recovering from mental illness or emotional disorder often involves an interplay of approaches that change these situations for the individual and making sure that they are best equipped to deal with any more changes in the future.

Citations

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health

https://www.mentalhealth.gov

https://medlineplus.gov/mentalhealth.html

https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm#:~:text=Mental%20health%20includes%20our%20emotional,others%2C%20and%20make%20healthy%20choices.&text=Mental%20health%20is%20important%20at,childhood%20and%20adolescence%20through%20adulthood.

https://mentalhealthmatch.com/articles/anxiety/inspiring-mental-health-quotes

Divya is currently a Clinical Psychology Trainee in a Master of Philosophy program and holds a Master’s in clinical psychology. She has a special interest in Personality studies and disorders, having researched the subject before, and Neuropsychology; with an additional interest being Mood disorders. She likes to write about Psychiatric issues, having worked in multiple specialty setups during her time as a clinical psychology student, and in her free time she likes to cook and read.