As Mental Health Awareness Month, May is a time to raise awareness of and reduce the stigma surrounding behavioral health issues.
Mental health, physical health, emotional health, financial health, healthy relationships, healthy sexuality, a fulfilling career and being able to serve others are just some of the aspects that comprise our overall well-being. This month Latin business Today will be focusing on highlighting mental health and the importance of being aware and addressing any mental health conditions that we or our loved ones may be facing. Poor mental health can effect all of us – from a single individual, to the ripple effects it has on entire families, and our society at large. When we talk about mental health, it important to understand that the term encompasses our emotions and feelings, our psychological welfare, and our social well-being.
Our mental health not only influences our thought patterns, our feelings, and how we act and react towards the world around us, but it is also an important aspect of how we cope with stress, relate to other people, and are able to make choices that serve our bodies, minds, and circumstances.
The state of our mental health is something that should always be considered regardless of what stage of life we’re in, from a child, to an adolescent, to an adult and especially the elderly.
Mental Health vs Mental Illness
I want to begin by creating a distinction between mental health and mental illness. We can all experience poor mental health, but this does not mean that we all suffer from a mental illness.
According to the American Psychiatry Association, “Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these).”
When we talk about mental illness, we are referring to all mental conditions that can be diagnosed. These conditions tend to have a significant change in the thoughts, thinking patterns, emotions, feelings, self-control, and/or behavior. Many times, individuals who suffer from a mental illness often feel distress, or may have issues functioning properly when socializing, working, going to school, or conducting family activities. Not that having a mental illness means that you can’t ever function. A person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being. When properly diagnosed and treated, they can often live a very normal life.
Although mental illness can show up at birth, developed through childhood or even adulthood, there are some factors that may increase the risk of developing a mental illness such as traumatic experiences as a child like death, abuse or witnessing violence. Ongoing medical illnesses like cancer or diabetes, having chemical imbalances in the brain, using drugs and alcohol, being highly isolated, and feeling lonely or unloved can also contribute to mental illness.
When we speak about mental health, we are referring to how effectively and efficiently we are at getting through our day-to-day life. It relates to our capacity to function at work, school and through our chores and tasks, how we develop healthy relationships with other people, and even influences our ability to be flexible and adaptable when faced with changes or difficult situations.
When considering mental health it is important to note that:
- It may vary over time.
- It may be affected by external circumstances, financial hardships, emotional traumas, deaths of a loved one…
- It often declines when the load placed on an individual exceeds their ability to handle or cope with the situation.
Mental health serves as the groundwork for experiencing healthy emotions and thought patterns, communicating effectively, being able to learn, developing resilience, and having confidence or self-esteem. It is vital for healthy relationships, and to develop personal and emotional well-being.
We look forward to sharing more information in upcoming articles this month!