Defining Mental Health

Mental health does not refer to an illness, it refers to a state of well-being and is also known as emotional health. It is defined as; A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of mental disorders (WHO 2011).

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can get on with the tasks of everyday life. In this positive sense, mental health is the foundation for individual and societal well-being.

It is totally normal to sometimes feel down, we all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass, however sometimes they can develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us. It is estimated that 1 in 4 individuals will experience a mental health problem.

Mental Health problems can develop for all sorts of reasons and no one is 100% exactly what causes them. Some people develop mental heath problems due to difficult personal experiences, in others it might be due to genetics or chemical imbalances within the brain. Everyone is different. You may bounce back from a setback while someone else may feel weighed down by it for a long time or you may experience low or high moods that aren’t related to anything in particular that may be impossible to get out of.

Your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life and can be impacted on by the way you think, feel and behave and are very common.

 

 

What are Mental Health Problems

There is a large range of Mental health problems; from serious long-term conditions to the worries we all experience as part of everyday life. Most people who experience mental health problems are able to overcome them, suppress them or learn coping mechanisms that allow them to lead fulfilling lives.

In order to refer people to appropriate treatment, care and support professionals often try to classify symptoms into various different disorders, however some of these diagnosis’s can be controversial as it is suggested that individuals are often treated based on what the label of their disorder says rather than a tailored approach to the symptoms the individual is actually feeling.

Most mental health symptoms have traditionally been divided into ‘neurotic’ or ‘psychotic’ symptoms. ‘Neurotic’ symptoms are those which can be regarded as severe forms of ‘normal’ emotional experiences such as depression, anxiety or panic. Conditions formerly referred to as ‘neuroses’ are now more frequently called ‘common mental health problems.’

Less common are ‘psychotic’ symptoms, which interfere with a person’s perception of reality, and may include hallucinations such as seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling things that no one else can.

Anxiety and depression are the most common problems, with around 1 in 10 people affected at any one time. Anxiety and depression can be severe and long-lasting and have a big impact on people’s ability to get on with life.

Between one and two in every 100 people experience a severe mental illness, such as bi-polar disorder or psychosis, and have periods when they lose touch with reality. People affected may hear voices, see things no one else sees, hold unusual or irrational beliefs, feel unrealistically powerful, or read particular meanings into everyday events.

Although certain symptoms are common in specific mental health problems, no two people behave in exactly the same way when they are unwell.

Many people who live with a mental health problem or are developing one try to keep their feelings hidden because they are afraid of other people’s reactions.

 

 

 

 


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