What is mental health and how can you measure it?

mental health

Being healthy is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Physical health and mental serenity are the ultimate goals of a blessed life. The mental health of a person defines their ability to enjoy life. Daily life, relationships, and physical health also depend upon mental fitness.

What is mental health?

There are many definitions to define this concept:

According to WHO (World Health Organization), Mental health is defined as:

”It is a state of comfort that helps an individual to realize their abilities. It helps them to cope with the stresses of daily life and aids them to work fruitfully and productively. This mental well-being assures the positive contribution of the person in his/her society.”

Mental health is not only the absence of mental disorders. It also refers to the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral well being of a person. In actual, it is all about how anyone thinks, behaves, and feels.

Mental Health & Mental Illnesses:

Mental health and mental illness are frequently used terms these days. There is a misconception that both terms have the same meanings.

Mental illness is a poor mental health condition. It affects every behavior of a person like thinking, feeling, and interacting. There are so many mental illnesses with various symptoms. These illnesses impact on people’s lives differently.

While mental health is about the well-being of the mind as it is explained. It is not like an ON/OFF switch but has degrees. From excellent or great health to so-so health, to poor health to illness, mental health can be explained.

So, it is possible to have good mental health with having a kind of mental illness. Similarly, poor mental health with no mental illness can also be a condition.

Is Mental Health at risk?

The experts say that no matter how old you are. Whether you are a child or an adult, male or female, rich or poor or belong to which region or religion; all of us have the potential to develop mental health issues.

Because of the attached stigma with mental health problems only half of the people suffering from mental disorders. It has become essential to generate awareness against mental health. Otherwise, the poor condition of mind results in the following risks:

  • Bad performance of individuals at school and work
  • Increased risk of suicide and social crimes
  • Lesser employment opportunities
  • Higher medical budget
  • Legal issues
  • Family conflicts

Mental Health Disorders:

Mental health is responsible for the conditions that affect our daily life. There can be various different forms of disorders. Here are a few of them:

Anxiety Disorders:

Fears of certain objects, situations, or conditions cause anxiety. Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that includes:

  • Phobias, including social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD)

Mood Disorders:

Mood disorder refers to significant changes in the moods. These mood swings generally involve depression or mania. Mood disorders are also termed as effective or depressive disorders.

 Common mood disorders are:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Schizophrenia:

It is a very complex situation. Whether it is a single disorder or a bunch of diseases has yet to be fully determined. In this condition, the patient finds hard to process the information. Schizophrenia is about fragmented thoughts with positive and negative symptoms.

In addition to these common mental illnesses, hundreds of other mental disorders are possible. These illnesses may lie in the above-mentioned categories or maybe the part of other types of illnesses. Such as:

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Sleep-wake disorders
  • Elimination disorders
  • Paraphilic disorders
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Substance addiction or abuse disorders
  • Gender dysphoria
  • Neurocognitive disorders
  • Control and conduct disorders
  • Feeding and eating disorders and many other mental disorders.

What causes Mental illness?

Anyone can face mental illnesses that completely change or damage their life. Most people don’t even think about having a mental disorder. They spend most of their lives fighting with the results of mental illnesses without knowing the cause.

The exact causes of most of the mental illnesses are unknown. But it is assumed that these illnesses are derived from several factors. The following are some basic factors that damage mental health and cause mental illnesses.

Biology:

Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers within the brain. Disturbance of brain chemicals may occur as a mental ailment.

Genetics:

Mental illnesses also run in families. Genetic transfer of mental disorders is a major factor in appearing in these illnesses in individuals.

Environmental Exposure Before Birth:

Indirect exposure of a fetus to drugs or alcohol is also a cause of mental illnesses. When a person gets exposed to a toxin or harmful chemicals during pregnancy, their risk of having mental health issues increases.

Life experiences:

Stressful or painful life events also work as the activators of mental disorders. Fears, childhood abuses, and trauma appear as mental illnesses.

Symptoms of Mental Illnesses:

Do you want to know if you or someone you know is living with mental illnesses or facing issues with mental health? Here we are going to discuss some of the symptoms of the problems that can be faced by you or your loved ones:

It is advised for everyone to check and observe the initial symptoms and causes of mental disorders. Here is a checklist of early warning signs of behavior changes to identify the problem:

  • Pulling away from people and usual activities you would normally enjoy
  • Feeling hopeless, numb as nothing matters, and feel helpless
  • Constant low or no energy
  • Drinking, smoking, or using drugs more than normal
  • Eating or sleeping low or excess
  • Displaying exceptional emotions such as: Yelling, scared, angry, worried, or sad
  • Thinking to harm yourself or others
  • Hearing voices or persistent thoughts that appear regularly
  • Inability to perform standard tasks like taking care of family or getting to work
  • Delusions or hearing voices
  • Having pains and unexplained aches

How to measure Mental health?

Millions of people in the world suffer from some kind of mental illness. That is why it is becoming essential to measure mental health. This measurement helps in observing the progress of patients after treatment. Additionally, the gathered information can be helpful for the particular professionals. These professionals may use this information for research and treatment purposes.

Mental health measurement is much more difficult in comparison to the measurement of physical health. However, it is possible to measure it in built environment research. Possible options for measuring mental health are:

  • Gathering already existing data
  • Biological measurements such as EEG brain wave monitoring that is used to measure stress level.
  • Diagnostic interviews by trained professionals.

Tools to measure mental illness:

Sometimes the person with mental illness reaches a level of remission. In this condition, the clinical symptoms of illness are completely managed or become undetectable. In this situation, psychologists use some common tools to measure mental illness. These tools include:

  • Clinically Useful Anxiety Outcome Scale
  • Clinically Useful Depression Outcome Scale (CUDOS)
  • Penn State Worry Questionnaire (PSWQ)
  • Zung Self Rating Depression Scale (SDS)
  • Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS)

What is Mental Health First Aid (MHFA):

Every kind of illness needs help. First aid is a kind of help provided to the person until professional help is received.  Similarly, the mental first aid is the help that is provided to a person with mind disorders. Moreover, the mental health first aid deals with a developing problem. It also aids in controlling a situation in a mental health crisis.

MHFA is rising as a training program with courses and training sessions. The MHFA courses make you able to provide mental health first aid using the provided action plans.  These mental health first aid courses provide trainees the following skills:

  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental health emergencies.
  • Awareness of the possible risk factors of most of the mental illnesses.
  • Knowledge of all possible psychological and other available alternate treatments. These treatments should be evidence-based.
  • How to provide appropriate initial support and help to the person with mental illnesses?
  • Skills to deal with crisis situations such as: Stress reaction to trauma, Suicidal actions, Pain attacks, and Threatening of psychotic behavior

 Mental Health Services:

A person suffering from mental health challenges need many types of behavioral services. These health services are of following types:

Emergency Rooms:

The special mind health emergency rooms are available in hospitals and psychiatrists clinics. So, that patients with suicidal tendencies and acute psychiatric distress use these services.

Partial Hospitalization:

Partial hospitalization is the option for very ill patients. But these patients feel no need for hospital-specific services. This service offers behavioral health and substance abuse programs. This service also provides Educational sessions, Group therapies and Mental counseling

Proper Hospitalization:

These are in-house services provided by hospitals. Hospitals also provide drug detoxification services as part of this service. These services are for those who have additional physical illnesses.

Services for Outpatients:

In this kind of services, patient lives in their home, but get regular treatments. Basically, these programs are for community mental health services. Some programs are less frequent but most are intensive and need daily participation.

Private Practice:

These are typical services provided by Psychologists. They provide medication management by the individual, family, and group therapies.

Telepsychiatry:

The services offered through phone or internet by using video conferences, email, or online chat. Mostly, these services are offered to under-previleged communities. So, that they can get help for their mind disorders as well.

Mental Health Centers:

The entities providing mind health services are generally called Mental Health centers. These centers provide the following services:

  • Outpatient services
  • Special outpatient services for children and elders who are chronically ill.
  • 24-hour emergency care services
  • Regular day treatments
  • Psychosocial rehabilitation services
  • Partial hospitalization services
  • Screening of patients for getting mental health treatments

Mental Health Awareness:

Mental health issues are increasing day by day. From every five people one at least one is at risk of a mind disease. So, it can be anyone from our surroundings. Our parents, friends, neighbor, or even our-self could be the victim of mental disorders.

But do you really know what to do in a situation when our loved one faces a mental disorder?

Remember! Mental illness cannot be treated by simply desire to get rid of it. Treatment is necessary. But most people don’t know where to go for treatment. Therefore, they may not get access to the services often. Similarly, cultural difficulties and language barriers can also act as a hindrance to the provision of best services.

It is essential to provide proper awareness to the society about mental health and illnesses. Only proper knowledge and awareness can change this stigma. Being mentally ill is generally considered shameful.

  • ”Lock him up, he is mad.”
  • ”Be careful she has some mental issues.”

These kinds of statements and behaviors create stigma.

Conclusion:

A community moves into positive or negative trends because of different behaviors and attitudes. Awareness is the only solution to deal with the negative trends of the society. The realization of mental issues as a normal illness is a must. Education about mind health and illnesses can cause positive effects in society. So, here are some of the topics on which you should get some help:

  • Attending health fairs
  • Talking fearlessly about mental conditions
  • Treating a person with mental disorders normally
  • And helping them to come out of their condition

These basic steps can create a real difference. So, don’t ignore them.

Face your fears; talk about your illnesses; and, get wonderful a wonderful life.

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