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What is mental health?

What is mental health?


What is mental health?

The terms “mental health” and “behavioural health” refer to the cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being of people. It all comes down to how people think, feel, and act. The word “mental health” is occasionally used to refer to the absence of a mental disorder.

Mental illness can have a negative impact on daily life, relationships, and physical health.

This link, however, also works in the opposite direction. Mental health issues can be caused by a variety of reasons, including personal experiences, interpersonal relationships, and physical conditions.

Taking care of one’s mental health might help one’s ability to appreciate life. To do so, you must strike a balance between your daily activities, duties, and efforts to improve your psychological resilience.

Stress, despair, and anxiety can all have an impact on a person’s mental health and disturb their daily routine.

Despite the widespread use of the phrase “mental health,” many diseases that doctors classify as psychological disorders have physical underpinnings.

The terms mental health and mental disease are defined in this article. We also go through the most common mental disorders, their early warning signals, and how to treat them.

What is mental health?

The World Health Organization (WHO), states.

“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.”

Mental health, according to the World Health Organization, is “more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” Peak mental health entails not only avoiding active mental illnesses but also maintaining overall well-being and happiness.

They also underline the need of protecting and repairing mental health on an individual level, as well as in many groups and nations around the world.

According to MIND In England, one in every four persons will suffer from a mental health problem at some point during the year.

In England, one in every six adults reports having a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) at some point during the week.

Risk factors for mental health conditions

Everyone, regardless of age, sex, income, or race, is at risk of acquiring a mental health issue.

Mental diseases are one of the top causes of disability in the United Kingdom and much of the developed world.

A person’s mental health can be influenced by social and socioeconomic situations, biological variables, and lifestyle choices.

A high percentage of people who have a mental health illness have many conditions at the same time.

It’s crucial to remember that good mental health is dependent on a delicate balance of factors, and that various aspects of life and the larger world can all contribute to mental illness.

The following variables could wreak havoc on your mental health.

Continuous social and economic pressure

Mental health disorders are more likely in people who have little financial resources or who belong to a marginalised or persecuted ethnic group.

Poverty and residing on the fringes of a large city were found as socioeconomic drivers of mental health issues in a 2015 research of 903 Iranian families.

The researchers also discussed the disparity between the availability and quality of mental health treatment for different populations in terms of changeable and nonmodifiable factors, which might alter over time.

The following are modifiable factors for mental health disorders:

  • Socioeconomic factors, such as whether or not work is available in the area of occupation
  • A person’s level of social participation
  • Education
  • The standard of living

The following are non-modifiable factors:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Ethnicity

Gender is listed as both a controllable and nonmodifiable component in the study. The female gender elevated the chance of poor mental health by 3.96 times, according to the researchers.

In this survey, people with a “low economic standing” also scored the highest for mental health issues.

Biological factors

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, genetic family history can raise the risk of mental health problems since particular genes and gene variants put people at higher risk.

Many other factors, however, have a role in the development of these illnesses.

Having a gene linked to mental health disease, such as depression or schizophrenia, does not mean that you will acquire the disorder. People without associated genes or a family history of mental illness might also suffer from mental illness.

Stress, sadness, and anxiety are all mental health diseases that can emerge as a result of underlying, life-altering physical health issues including cancer, diabetes, and chronic pain.

Common mental health disorders

The following are the most frequent types of mental illness:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Schizophrenia disorders

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most frequent type of mental illness, according to the Mental Health Foundation.

People who suffer from these disorders experience intense fear or anxiety in response to specific objects or situations. The majority of people who suffer from anxiety disorders will strive to avoid being exposed to whatever it is that makes them anxious.

Anxiety disorders include the following:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

GAD is defined as excessive worry that interferes with daily life. The following physical symptoms are also possible:

  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular spasms
  • Sleep deprivation

A bout of anxiety symptoms does not necessarily need a specific trigger in those with GAD.

They may have extreme anxiety when confronted with mundane tasks that do not pose a direct threat, such as doing chores or making appointments. A person with GAD may experience anxiety without any apparent cause.

Learn more about GAD here.

Panic disorders

Panic attacks, which include abrupt, overpowering anxiety or a sense of imminent disaster and death, are common in people with panic disorder.

More information on panic attacks can be found here.


There are various kinds of phobias:

  • Simple phobias. Characterised by an exaggerated fear of specific things, circumstances, or animals. A common example is the fear of spiders. Here’s where you can learn more about simple phobias.
  • Social phobia. Fear of being judged by others. It is sometimes referred to as social anxiety. People who suffer from social phobia often limit their exposure to social situations. More information can be found here.
  • Agoraphobia. Fear of being trapped in a position where getting out is difficult, such as an elevator or a moving train. Many individuals mistake this phobia for a fear of the outdoors. Here’s all you need to know about agoraphobia.

Phobias are quite personal, and doctors aren’t familiar with all of them. There could be thousands of phobias, and what one person considers strange may be a serious condition that consumes everyday life for another.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

After experiencing or witnessing a highly stressful or traumatic event, PTSD can develop.

The person believes that their or other people’s lives are in jeopardy during this type of incident. They may be scared or believe they have no control over what is going on.

Trauma and fear experiences may then contribute to PTSD.

Learn how to spot PTSD and how to deal with it.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessions and compulsions are common among people with OCD. In other words, they have a strong need to conduct repetitive actions, such as hand washing, and they have persistent, anxious thoughts.

Learn more about OCD by clicking here.

Mood disorders

Mood disorders are sometimes known as affective disorders or depressive disorders.

People with these diseases experience major variations in mood, with mania (a period of high energy and elation) or depression (a period of low energy and elation) being the most common. Mood disorders include the following:

  • Major depression. Characterised by a persistently poor mood and a loss of interest in previously appreciated activities and events. They can be unhappy for lengthy periods of time or be extremely sad.
  • Bipolar disorder. Characterised by unusual variations in a person’s mood, energy level, level of activity, and capacity to function in daily life. Manic phases are characterised by high mood, whilst depressed phases are characterised by low mood. Here’s additional information about the many types of bipolar disorder.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD). A type of significant depression triggered by reduced daylight stimuli throughout the fall, winter, and early spring months. It’s most common in countries that aren’t close to the equator. Here’s where you can learn more about SAD.

Schizophrenia disorders

Authorities in the field of mental health are still debating whether schizophrenia is a single sickness or a collection of illnesses. It’s a complicated situation.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia symptoms usually appear between the ages of 16 and 30. The person’s thinking will appear jumbled, and they may find it difficult to process information.

Schizophrenia manifests itself in both bad and good ways. Delusions, thinking disorders, and hallucinations are all positive indications. Withdrawal, a lack of motivation, and a flat or unsuitable mood are all negative effects.

Here’s where you can learn more about schizophrenia.

Early Warning Signs

There is no reliable physical test or scan that can determine whether or not someone has developed a mental disorder. However, the following are probable indications of a mental health condition that people should be aware of:

  • Avoiding contact with friends, family, and co-workers
  • They are avoiding activities that they would otherwise like.
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Too much or too little food
  • Feeling despondent
  • Having low energy levels on a regular basis
  • Using mood-altering substances such as alcohol and nicotine on a more regular basis
  • Expressing negative feelings
  • Being perplexed
  • Being unable to perform daily duties such as getting to work or preparing a meal
  • Persistent thoughts or recollections that resurface on a frequent basis
  • Considering harming yourself or others physically
  • Hearing voices
  • Experiencing delusions


There are several approaches to dealing with mental health issues. Treatment is very personalised, and what works for one person may not work for the next.

Some techniques or treatments work better when used in tandem with others. At different points in their lives, a person with a persistent mental illness might pick from a variety of options.

The person must work closely with a doctor who can assist them in identifying their requirements and providing appropriate therapy.

The following are some examples of treatments:

Psychotherapy, or talking therapies

This style of treatment approaches mental illness from a psychological standpoint. Examples include cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure treatment, and dialectical behaviour therapy.

This sort of treatment is provided by psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and some primary care providers.

It can assist patients in recognising the source of their mental illness and beginning to develop more healthy thought patterns that support daily living while reducing the danger of isolation and self-harm.

Here’s where you can learn more about psychotherapy.


Antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics are among the medications administered to some persons.

While these medications cannot cure mental problems, they can help a person improve their symptoms and resume social contact and a normal schedule while they work on their mental health.

Some of these drugs act by increasing the body’s absorption of feel-good chemicals from the brain, such as serotonin. Other medications either increase the total levels of these compounds or stop them from degrading or being destroyed.

Learn more about antidepressant medicines by clicking here.


A person coping with mental health difficulties will usually need to make changes to their lifestyle to facilitate wellness.

Such changes might include reducing alcohol intake, sleeping more, and eating a balanced, nutritious diet. People may need to take time away from work or resolve issues with personal relationships that may be causing damage to their mental health.

People with conditions such as anxiety or depressive disorder may benefit from relaxation techniques, which include deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness.

Having a support network, whether via self-help groups or close friends and family, can also be essential to recovery from mental illness.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone who is at risk of self-harm, suicide, or harming another person, take the following steps:

  • Are you thinking about suicide?” asks the harsh question.
  • Listen to the other person without passing any judgement.
  • Contact a certified crisis counsellor, dial 999 or call Samaritans on 116123.
  • Keep an eye on the person until expert assistance arrives.
  • Remove any weapons, pharmaceuticals, or other potentially dangerous items from the area.

More local resources and links can be found by clicking here.