The Importance of Mental Health

What is mental health?

Though no concise definition exists, mental health is basically your attitude and approach to life. Psychological, environmental, genetic, or physiological factors have a profound effect on overall mental development.

What is mental illness?

Mental illness impairs your ability to perform routine tasks, foster healthy relationships, or cope with anger or stress. It may be classified on the basis of extreme mood swings, irrational or destructive thought patterns, and behavioral problems.

How important is mental health?

Your mental health has a huge impact on every aspect of your life.

o Self-image

Good mental health means appreciating your achievements and accepting your shortcomings. A mental illness can cause an inferiority complex, a negative body image, and intense feelings of self-hate, anger, disgust, and uselessness, which could mutate into extreme depression, psycho-social disorders, or eating disorders.

o Education

Students with mental problems socially isolate themselves, and develop anxiety disorders and concentration problems. Good mental health ensures an all-round educational experience that enhances social and intellectual skills that lead to self-confidence and better grades.

o Relationships

Mental health largely contributes to the functioning of human relationships. Mental illness can hamper even basic interactions with family, friends, and colleagues. Most people suffering from mental illness find it difficult to nurture relationships, have problems with commitment or intimacy, and frequently encounter sexual health issues.

o Sleep

An inability to handle stress or anxiety can cause insomnia. Even if you mange to fall asleep, you may wake up a dozen times during the night with thoughts of what went wrong the day before or how bad tomorrow is going to be. You may develop severe sleeping disorders which leave you exhausted and less productive.

o Eating

People with mental disorders are more prone to indulging in comfort eating or emotional binges. Finding comfort in food is something we all do from time to time. But with a mental illness, it becomes difficult to control yourself. Overeating can lead to obesity, which puts you at a risk for heart disease and diabetes, in addition to creating an unhealthy body-image.

o Physical health

Your mental state directly affects your body. For example, stress can lead to hypertension or stomach ulcers. People who are mentally healthy are at a lower risk for many health complications.

So make a conscious effort to improve and maintain your mental health.

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How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health?

Mental health is simply the state of successful performance of all our mental functions. This is difficult to describe but when one is mentally healthy one is able to perform there day to day activities successfully and is able to manage healthy inter personal relationship, be able to cope with change and handle diversity. While in our normal day to day life we do not observe what mental health is all about it, we only get curious about it once we notice something is wrong or the absence of good mental health and even then most of the times we choose to ignore it.

Good mental health is something that has been ignored by most of us, while we do notice a slight headache we ignore to recognize sudden mood swings, low tolerance levels, being gloomy and blue all the time as a sign that something may be wrong with our mental health. More people worldwide suffer from mental illness than is ever understood, in the United States alone every year around 6% of the population goes through some form or the other of depression and depression is just one of the many mental disorders that exist. Most of the times our failure to recognize this stems from being unaware or being ashamed of admitting that “something is wrong with my mind”.

Is Mental Health separable from physical health?

While popularly it is thought that mental and physical health are separate in most cases one’s mental illness is caused by some physiological changes in the body and indeed many cases of depression in women are caused in and around the time of menopause or in men when they are going through nights when they don’t get enough sleeps because of work pressures. The body goes through stress and is fatigued by it and because of that the mind also reacts to it and develops some sort of disorder.
The other way round is more obvious and when the mental health of people deteriorates the body takes its toll and that is more visible.
What this essentially means is taking care of ourselves physically is also an important aspect of maintaining our mental health.

Public Attitude about Mental Health and Illness

Even in developed societies like the United States where there are a large number of information sources and any one can just go to the internet and take self diagnostic tests to see whether they are suffering from any form of mental disorder a large number of cases go unreported. This is because of the public opinion that mental health is a given and there is some degree of stigma associated with the fact that a person’s mental health is suffering from one reason or the other.

People suffering from one type of disorder therefore will go through a long phase of denial where in they will refuse to acknowledge that something seems to be out of ordinary. This will translate into the patients developing multiple disorders which will become more difficult to cure or even diagnose. It will also result in the disorder getting deeper entrenched and will make it that much more difficult to cure it as well.

Use the Internet

Awareness is the key to fight mental illness, awareness about the fact that more people than you can imagine suffer from it in some point or the other in their lives and awareness about the fact that once diagnosed it can be easily treated through a combination of talk therapy and medication.
Internet is a good source of information and you should learn to leverage it to your best use. The first step is to understand what changes in behavior are you experiencing which is possible to do for most people in the early stages. The next step after making a list of symptoms is to take a few self diagnostic tests which you can do anonymously and see where it takes you. There are a host of mental disorders and chances are that after taking a few of these tests you would be led to specifically one or the other. Then you can do more in depth study about it and even if you think it not necessary visit a doctor at least once to double check whether you are suffering from that particular disorder, something else or it was just a false alarm.

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Mental Health

It would appear that at some point after World War I, real mental health became something of a luxury. The absence of any real mental disease like schizophrenia or dementia certainly is not an indicator of complete mental health any longer. The boom in knowledge of human psychology that began in the 1960s has made that eminently clear.

Truthfully speaking, even basic functionality can no longer be automatically assumed for a human being living in the present age. There are an unprecedented number of Americans and Europeans undertaking psychotherapy today – what started off as a fad now seems to have become a necessity of daily living. The pressures of the rat race are overwhelming. The number of situations and triggers for mental disorders has multiplied significantly. The stress levels are extremely high.

We are, therefore, reduced to defining acceptable mental health in very broad terms. A certain degree of aberration is to be expected in almost every post-modern human being. Reasonable mental health will, therefore, have to be defined by the lack of gross disorders. A good standard for judging this would be the one apparently employed by health insurance companies, who are reluctant to pay for mental disorders that do not result in complete breakdown of normal life for the individual.

The diseases that indicate a major disruption in mental health would today include Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, or a major depressive disorder. Further mental disorders that may or may not be considered as mere a lack of fine tuning by authorities may include obsessive-compulsive disorders, alcohol or drug addiction, or stress-induced nervous breakdown.

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Does Your Community Have Good Mental Health

The community mental heath team are there to help those who are suffering from mental health problems. The first port of call for anyone who thinks that they are suffering from some kind of mental health problem is your doctor who will be able to recommend the right sort of help.

The community mental health team consists of a number of professionals who are trained in their specific areas and can include psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, and of course the community psychiatric nurse or CPN. Some specific problems or issues that can arise in addition to existing mental health problems or which can exacerbate or trigger mental health problems and which might need extra consideration include:

o Financial problems

o Physical disabilities

o Housing issues

o Divorce or relationship problems

o Childcare issues

Certain kinds of mental health problems may result in different needs and may therefore require some specialist help to deal with and these can include:

o Elderly depression and dementia

o Child or Teen depression

o Postnatal depression

o Bipolar disorder

o Schizophrenia

Obviously, finding one person fully qualified and skilled in all of these areas just isn’t possible so the community mental health team work together in order to ensure that the best advice and support is available as many of the professionals involved will be trained in specialist areas that allow them to offer a better service to people suffering from specific problems. So who is likely to be involved in the community mental health team?


Patients can be referred to a psychiatrist by their doctor. After an initial assessment, the psychiatrist will recommend a suitable course of treatment and medication. If a mental health problem is particularly severe then they are also able to recommend that the individual be detained in hospital for a period of time. However, this is a last resort and also requires the approval of another doctor and a social worker who all agree that this is the best option for an individual concerned either for the individual’s safety or for the safety of others.


Psychologists have an understanding of human behaviour, emotions and how the mind works and although they cannot prescribe medication they can offer various types of psychological therapies. Patients can be referred to them by the doctor or other members of the community health team.

The Key Worker

People suffering from mental health problems will usually be assigned a key worker, which can be anyone in the community mental health team. The key worker ensures that the individual gets the right kind of help that they need. They will regularly assess the progress of an individual and report back to the rest of the team.

Community Psychiatric Nurse or CPN

The key worker will often be a CPN who will usually make regular visits to people with mental health problems in their own homes. They offer an important lifeline for people who are feeling isolated and alone with their mental health problems or who are experiencing particular difficulties. They are aware of the many issues surrounding mental health and can listen as well as help people talk through their problems in a setting in which they feel comfortable.

The CPN will liaise with and work closely with other members of the team to make sure that any practical support and assistance is offered when needed. They monitor medication, make sure the individual knows how to take their medication and they also look out for additional symptoms or side effects of that medication. The family and loved ones of a person suffering from mental health problems often need additional support in order to understand mental illness and to be able to cope with it, the CPN can offer practical advice and guidance.

Occupational Therapists

Occupational therapists help individuals to cope with practical issues on a day to day basis in areas such as dressing, toileting and feeding themselves and can help individuals regain some control of their lives.

Social workers

Social workers can ensure that an individual gets access to various social services that will improve their quality of life and that they may be entitled to such as home help, respite care and perhaps admission to day or residential centres. They can also offer assistance in dealing with housing needs, financial difficulties or other social problems.

The best care

Many other people can be involved in the community mental health team including various support workers, therapists, counsellors, and of course loved ones. Together they all make sure that the individual suffering from mental illness gets the best care possible. Each team member can make a valuable contribution to the individual’s quality of life and can help them not only to cope with their illness on a day to day basis but to regain control over their lives and integrate with the rest of the community in a positive and productive way.

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Vegetarian Diets May Up Mental Health Risks: Study

Vegetarianism has been fairly popular for quite a while, but it looks like eating all green food and no meat may pose problems to your mental well-being. In the past, researchers have claimed that red meat is harmful for human. However, being vegetarian has its own disadvantages, as it can lead to emotional and mental health problems, says a new study. In fact, the study says that maintaining a meatless diet can socially impact one’s health as well. The risks include anxiety, panic, depression and obsessive compulsiveness.

According to a report published in the Women’s Health in 2015, researchers found that there was a link between lack of animal proteins and a rise in emotional problems. The magazine cited the case of a physically active 35-year-old woman who suffered panic attacks after taking to vegetarianism. And to everyone’s surprise, after getting meat back in her diet, the woman’s energy level increased, with a sharp dip in instances of emotional breakdowns.

Vegetarian diet and mental health

The correlation between mental health and a meat-based diet makes sense due to the fact that certain nutrients – B12, long chain omega 3 fatty acids, choline and zinc – that are particularly important for the brain and nervous system are mostly low in vegetarian diets. Fishes are a major source of omega-3 fatty acids that suppress mental illness, while a vegetarian diet may not contain essential amino acid precursors to the “feel good” neurotransmitters known as serotonin and catecholamines. It seems like the Paleo diet – which promotes eating meat and vegetables but discourages processed food, alcohol and sugar – is the most preferred choice of experts.

According to a previous study, “Vegetarian diet and mental disorders: results from a representative community survey,” published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity in 2012, vegetarians displayed higher prevalence rates for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and somatoform disorders.

For the study, researchers used data from the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey and its Mental Health Supplement (GHS-MHS) and assessed the participants by a standardized individual face-to-face diagnostic interview for mental disorders. They also analyzed the consumption of various food products (meats, vegetables and fruits, fish, etc.) in individuals with different mental disorders. The findings revealed elevated prevalence rates in vegetarians for depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, somatoform disorders and syndromes, as well as for eating disorders. On the whole, the study said that avoiding meat in the diet was linked to mental disorders.

The way forward

Are those who are more likely to select vegetarianism also more vulnerable to depression and anxiety? Or maybe those with mental troubles particularly try to avoid meat. One must not quit meat cold turkey. Instead, the person should consult a doctor beforehand, especially if he is prone to mood disorders.

For those fighting depression, talk therapy can help in understanding and changing thoughts and behaviors that contribute to how you feel. Treatment of depression requires qualified medical supervision. Most people are usually unable to get over depression without professional help. Fortunately, it is a highly treatable condition and more than 80 percent of people get better with help.

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