Mental Health

What Is Mental Health?

In the dictionary its states that “mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being”.

Mental health is so important at every stage of a person’s life. It effects how we think, feel, and act in everyday life. Right from waking up in the morning right through to going to bed in the evening, everything we do is processed by our brains and we all respond differently to different things.

So how do we know when we need help for our mental health?

The signs of mental health problems can arise in various ways with different people. This can either be yourself, a friend or a member of your own family. But, if there are worries, anxieties, and difficult feelings which are seriously interfering with your/their everyday life, then there could be a mental health problem that needs attention.

Knowing when to get help and advice can be difficult, even when you know yourself that you are not well, but it is important to reach out at the earliest opportunity so that you can get the right treatment, support and get on the road to recovery. Some things to look out for that could suggest a mental health problem include-

  • Feeling helpless and/or hopeless
  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Inability to perform everyday tasks
  • Pulling away from people and activities
  • Having little or no energy at all
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others
  • Hearing voices and/or believing things that are not true
  • Severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Persistent thoughts and memories that won’t go away

Everybody who is struggling with their mental health deserve help and support and there is no exception to this, so please speak to someone if you yourself, or someone you know is struggling.

Good mental health allows people to get on with their everyday tasks and activities. It allows people to be able to cope with the stresses of life and work productively both at home and in the workplace. It allows people to make and maintain meaningful relationships with friends, family and partners. It allows people to realise their full potential.

There are a lot of ways to help you maintain positive mental health and some of these include-

  • Developing coping skills for different situations
  • Being active through physical exercise
  • Connection with other people like friends and family
  • Getting enough sleep and rest
  • Helping other people

I have heard mental health referred to in a variety of ways, including emotional health and well-being. However you choose to call it, its important to remember that mental health is just as important as physical health. We all have times when we feel stressed, down, or scared but most of the time these feelings will pass. But sometimes they can develop into a more serious problem and that can happen to any of us, including yourself. Nobody is immune from mental illness and its important to know that your mental health can change as circumstances in your life change, or even as you reach different stages in your life.

There is a lot of research looking into the many possible causes of metal health problems. This has been ongoing for a long time, and I imagine will still be ongoing in years to come. Science though gets better and better every year, and even to this day, we still don’t know the causes behind some of the mental health conditions. Though some doctors believe the following could contribute.

Biological Factors

  • Hereditary Genetics
  • Brain defects or injury
  • Prenatal damage
  • Substance abuse
  • Infections

Psychological/Environmental Factors

  • Childhood/Adulthood trauma (emotional, physical, sexual abuse)
  • Bereavement
  • Neglect
  • Divorce
  • Dysfunctional family life
  • Change or jobs or school
  • Bullying

As with a lot of things these days, there’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This can make a lot of people uncomfortable about talking about it. But its important to try and remember that its healthy to know and say how you feel. And by openly talking about our mental health to others, the closer we get to a day where the stigma surrounding it, corrodes and vanishes forever.

I myself have experienced mental health problems for much of life. As a child I was subject to emotional, physical and sexual abuse, that went on for many years under the radar of others. I struggled to make friends in school and was often the target of bullies. In total I went to 4 different schools and the last school I attended, I made sure I was always placed in the “holding room” so that I could just escape everything that was happening. Though the holding room was there for disruptive pupils, it was the only place in school where I felt safe. Being in this room totally isolated you from the rest of the school. All breaks and lunch breaks where separate from the rest of the school and those of us placed in there was isolated from other students. Therefore, I felt safe.

As the paragraph above shows, its quite possible that both psychological and environmental factors can play a role in an individual’s mental health.


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