Below I explain some simple facts regarding mental health. I prefer speaking of mental health and not mental disorders because; I believe mental health focuses more on a balanced perspective of one’s well-being while mental disorders focus more on the negatives and challenges.
What is mental health in my layman’s terms?
When I refer to mental health, I am referring to a state of well-being in which an individual can mentally be able to realise his/her full potential. It includes our psychological, emotional and social well-being. Mental health affects how we think, how we feel, our mood and our behaviour. It also determines how we handle stress, our relationships with significant others and the life choices that we make. How we deal with the opportunities, difficulties and challenges of everyday life.
Mental health problems range from milder conditions that could be changed by changes in lifestyle and self-care to more severe conditions that may require hospitalisation, treatment, ongoing regular therapy and/or support to enable one to manage everyday life. Some conditions are time-related such as post-natal depression in new mothers whilst others are age-related like dementia in the elderly. However many problems have got nothing to do with time, age, gender, sexual orientation, geographical location, background, social status, income, race/ethnicity, religion or spirituality, or any other identity; they affect everyone without discrimination.
When is mental health important?
In many ways, mental health is just like physical health; everybody has it and we need to take care of it. Therefore, mental health is important at every stage of our lives, from childhood, adolescence through to adulthood, and old age. Nobody is immune to mental health problems.
What causes mental health problems?
There are several factors that contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors such as Genetics, Epigenetics, Brain Anatomy, Biochemical Processes, Central Nervous System Functioning, Autonomic Nervous System Reactivity, etc.
- Psychological factors such as Personality, Cognition, Emotions, Learning, Coping Skills, Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy, Values, etc.
- Social factors such as Family, Interpersonal Relationships, Social Support, Belonging, Love, Marital Status, Community, etc.
- Sociocultural factors such as Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Religion, Socioeconomic Status, Ethnicity, Culture, etc.
You would need a mental health professional to be able to identify which factors are really affecting you at any given point in time.
Can you recover from mental Illnesses?
There is help for mental health problems and I cannot say with certainty the outcome. Just like with any other physical illness, there are ways of better managing mental health illnesses. Some may lead to full recovery and others may lead to better management.
To promote the fullest possible recovery, the sooner you obtain help, the sooner you may feel better and the first step to obtaining help is by accepting that getting help is the right thing to do!
The ultimate goal
Mental Health is about finding a balance between dealing with the difficulties in life and using the opportunities life presents us for further development. If you know your strengths you can work at growing these and if you become aware of your vulnerabilities you can work at overcoming them. You are also able to pinpoint when you are not coping and need external help and support.
The idea is on working with your therapist or counsellor so that you can keep your mental health at a level where you can cope with daily life challenges.
How to deal with mental illness
Many people think they can deal with mental illness by ignoring it but unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Others try self-medicating by excessively using unprescribed, over-the-counter medication or resorting to alcohol and/or drugs. Unfortunately, this may actually end with you creating bigger mental health problems that require even more resources to deal with than before. Problems such as addiction may arise, on top of the already existing mental health problems.
Depending on your traditions and beliefs, you might have different ideas about how best to deal with mental health problems because, in many cultures, emotional well-being is closely linked with religious and spiritual affiliations. I therefore can only encourage you to find help in the best way you know possible, and one that works for you.
It’s never too early to seek help!
If mental health is the foundation for all our emotions, thinking, communication, and behaviour then it’s never too early to seek help.
If you need to speak to a professional counsellor, get in touch with Psyche and Beyond. It’s affordable and it works!
Whatsapp: +2761 853 0124
You can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, and Tiktok for more mental health tips.