The alarming statistics demonstrate that mental health is a significant problem. Every year, at least one mental health condition affects at least one adult, so raising awareness of mental health issues is essential. Each year, 19% of adults, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children are affected by mental illnesses. People struggling with mental health may be in your family, living next door, teachers, or coworkers. Sadly, many stigmas are also associated with mental health issues. Stigma impacts the number of people seeking treatment and the number of resources available for adequate care. Someone coping with a mental health problem may feel like they are facing impassable barriers due to stigma and false information. Because of this, we must acknowledge efforts to improve mental health and work to remove the obstacles that prevent us from addressing mental health constructively and effectively.
What is mental health, and why is it important?
Mental health is an essential part of our well-being that include our emotions. It can affect our thinking and feelings, how we socialize with others, make choices in our daily lives, or how we handle stress. Our mental health is crucial in our day-to-day lives because different circumstances can significantly change our emotions.
Types of mental health disorders
Anxiety disorders are distinguished by excessive fear and worry and associated behavioral disturbances. The symptoms are severe enough to cause significant distress or impairment in functioning. Anxiety disorders are classified into several types: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder.
Depression is distinct from ordinary mood swings and short-term emotional responses to everyday challenges. During a depressive episode, the person feels sad, irritable, or empty for most of the day, nearly every day.
Other symptoms may include poor concentration, excessive guilt or low self-worth, hopelessness about the future, thoughts of death or suicide, disrupted sleep, changes in appetite or weight, and feeling particularly tired or lacking energy. Suicide is more likely in people who suffer from depression.
Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, involve abnormal eating, preoccupation with food, and prominent body weight and shape concerns.
The symptoms or behaviors pose a significant risk or damage to one’s health, cause significant distress, or impair one’s ability to function. Anorexia typically begins in adolescence or early adulthood and is associated with premature death due to medical complications or suicide.
Bulimia patients are at a significantly higher risk of substance abuse, suicidality, and health complications.
Bipolar disorder patients have depressive episodes that alternate with periods of manic symptoms. During a depressive episode, the person has a depressed mood (feeling sad, irritable, or empty) or a loss of enjoyment or interest in activities for most of the day, nearly every day. Euphoria or irritability, increased activity or energy, racing thoughts, increased self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, distractibility, and impulsive, reckless behavior are all examples of manic symptoms.
Post-Traumatic Stress disorder
The prevalence of PTSD and other mental disorders in conflict-affected areas is high. PTSD can be developed due to witnessing an extraordinarily threatening or horrific event or series of events. This disorder is typically characterized by avoidance of thoughts and memories, activities, situations, or people related to the event or reliving the traumatic events in the present by intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares. These symptoms last at least several weeks and significantly impair functioning.
How does mental health affect the quality of life?
The true meaning of quality of life varies from person to person based on what makes them feel truly happy and complete. It may mean having a lot of money and material possessions for some. Others may need only the most basic comforts to thrive and feel content. This is subjective, as a person’s socioeconomic background and circumstances greatly influence their judgment of right and wrong. An unhealthy mind can make you lose interest in things you once enjoyed. Some ups and downs can overwhelm us, and even the most basic tasks cannot continue. It is equated with anxiety and the perception of loss of control.
Mental health can also significantly impact an individual’s perception of quality of life. If you have a mental illness such as anxiety, everyday life can become so hectic and overwhelming that you rarely participate in daily activities. Similarly, conditions like depression tell the individual that there is nothing good in this life and that they should not care. People with mental health problems also report poor quality of life. Their mental health prevents them from completing many of their daily tasks, leading to lower self-sufficiency, if not all. They suffer from isolation and feel unworthy and without any contribution to society. You feel alienated and indifferent. People lose interest in hobbies and activities they once enjoyed, and relationships fade.
How to maintain a good mental health
Positive mental health and well-being allow you to function well, maintain meaningful social connections, have positive self-esteem, and cope with life’s ups and downs. Maintaining our mental health is essential to our overall health and well-being. So here are a few ways to improve your mental health and take care of yourself.
Talking to someone you trust, whether a friend, a family member, or a coworker, can benefit your mental health. You may feel much better if you openly share your feelings with someone who cares about you. If you can’t interact face-to-face, you can still communicate with your loved ones via phone calls, video calls, or messages.
Taking care of your physical health benefits your mental and emotional health. Consume a well-balanced and nutritious diet and make an effort to get enough sleep. Engage in some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes daily, such as running, walking, yoga, dancing, cycling, or gardening.
Avoid using harmful substances such as drugs, alcohol, or tobacco to cope with your feelings. While these may appear to make you feel better in the short term, they can actually make you feel worse in the long run. These substances are also hazardous, putting you and those around you at risk of illness or injury.
Continue to engage in meaningful and enjoyable activities, such as cooking for yourself or loved ones, playing with your pet, walking in the park, reading a book, or watching a film or TV series. Maintaining good mental health requires a regular routine with activities that make you happy.
If you cannot cope with the stress you are experiencing, seek professional assistance by contacting your local mental health helpline, counselor, or doctor.
Remember that you are not alone and that there are things you can do to help your emotional well-being.
The mind is one of the body’s most essential organs, controlling the operation of every other organ. When our minds are unstable, it affects how well our bodies can function. The secret to success in all life facets is to be physically and emotionally strong. People need to be aware of the effects of mental health problems and realize how crucial it is to maintain mental health in the same way physical health is maintained. It is impossible to distinguish the two types of health. And we can only describe someone as being totally healthy and well when both are balanced. Therefore, it is imperative that everyone strives for a balance between their mental and physical well-being and seeks help when needed.
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