Importance Of Mental Health Essay

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding Mental Health and Its Importance
  3. Mental Disorders: Types and Prevalence
  4. The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health Disorders
  5. Conclusion
  6. References

Introduction

It’s 2022. As modern an era as it can get. Never before has life been so chaotic, challenging, and quick-moving. On one hand, modern life stands on the pinnacle of comfort and happiness; on the other, it is fraught with the many tensions and anxieties that come with advancement. For some, it might be the generic tensions encompassing life such as rent, utility bills, work, etc., and for others, the traffic and stress of living in big cities. Stress as a word is uttered so commonly nowadays that it seems to be the common denominator for everyone. Somewhere down the line, one may wonder what stress actually means. With everyone speculating definitions of their own, it is important to bring forward a proper definition. Stress is defined as “A psychological and physical response of the body that occurs whenever we must adapt to changing conditions, whether those conditions be real or perceived, positive or negative.” (“Stress Definition | Psychology Glossary | Alleydog.Com”). Stress in high doses has negative effects on health not only physically but also psychologically. While it is commonly known what extra stress does to the body physically, it is astounding how so many people are clueless about its effect on a person’s mental health, and the ones who do know are not willing to empathize with others having the problem. As the human brain is the control center of the body, it is involved in making decisions and sending instructions to the body, as well as coordinating many functions of the body. Keeping this in mind, it is crucial for people to know more about mental health, and mental disorders, and learn what steps society can take to do away with the stigma surrounding mental health because with time, the menace of suicide has gradually found its way into the society and the lack of awareness of people is to blame. Thus, the aim of this informative paper is to explain mental health, mental disorders, and society’s role.

Understanding Mental Health and Its Importance

Mental health has long been an object of study for sociology, the psychiatric professions, and society, each striving to offer theoretical insights into this topic.

Mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community” (“WHO | Mental Health: A State of Well-Being”). It's our feelings, our thinking, our emotions, and our moods. As mentioned previously, the brain is the command center of the body. It is responsible for a majority of things like regulating blood pressure and breathing, releasing hormones, problem-solving, judgment, planning, reading, memory, managing emotions, etc. Imagine how these functions will be managed if the brain is unhealthy? For this reason, mental health is one of the greatest assets. It not only helps you focus, overcome obstacles in life, gets along with the people around you, but also stay well. One doesn’t need to have a mental illness to pay attention to their mental well-being. Everyone knows how to look after their physical health. Upon asking how, you’ll receive responses such as: “Drink a lot of water”, “Eat fruits and vegetables”, or something like “Do lots of exercises”. In contrast, not many people know how to take care of their mental health, mainly because of the stigma surrounding mental health, and its lack of awareness.

However, too much stress can seriously affect mental well-being. Recurrent psychological stress can diminish self-esteem, decrease interpersonal and academic effectiveness, and create a cycle of self-blame and self-doubt. Long-term stress can harm your health. contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety (“NIMH » 5 Things You Should Know About Stress”).

Mental Disorders: Types and Prevalence

In contemporary society, the terms ‘depression’, ‘anxiety’, and ‘bipolar’ are as common as sawdust around a sawmill. Social media users encounter these terms on a day-to-day basis, seeing Instagram posts like “I’ve lived with depression on and off since I was 14 years old…” or coming across something like ‘I want to leave this world...”. One can’t help but wonder if words like ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ are used expressively or if these people actually have a mental disorder. Therefore, it is vital to know what mental disorders actually are. A mental illness is “a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple overlapping causes. Genetics, environment, and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes, circuits, and basic brain structure may also play a role.” (“Mental Health Conditions | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness”). Statistics show that in 2018, an estimated 47.6 million adults aged 18 or older (19.1 percent) had any mental illness (AMI) in the past year. An estimated 11.4 million adults in the nation had a serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year, corresponding to 4.6 percent of all U.S. adults. (Lipari and Eunice 2).

Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. Conditions such as Anxiety disorders, Major Depressive Episodes, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have been recorded as the most prevalent among US adults. (“Mental Health By the Numbers | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness”).

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Here’s a brief story of Malia, who has been suffering from Bipolar disorder:

“I have lost weight, don't sleep well, and my coworkers have noticed the change in me. I feel for anyone dealing with mental illness especially when their family members or friends don't understand. Every day I continue to live with and accept what is. I'm learning balance and have a great support system.” (“Patient Story: Bipolar Disorders”).

This is just one example of a world with so many such cases.

The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health Disorders

Mental illness has a long history of being stigmatized around the globe. It was thought of as the mark of the devil and nowadays it is usually viewed as being a moral punishment. The portrayal of mental illness in mass media has also added to the stigma. The stigma connected with mental illness can be divided into two types: social stigma, which involves the biased attitudes that others have around mental illness; and self-perceived stigma, which involves an internalized stigma that the person with the mental illness suffers from. Both are very real. For a society with principles, the stigma should not be there to stay. People have the power to make a difference.

While stigma continues to exist, it can eventually be eliminated with greater education and awareness about mental illness. To counter stigma, it is important for the masses to educate themselves, and debunk myths about mental illnesses such as the idea that people with schizophrenia are usually aggressive. If someone makes a derogatory or belittling remark about someone with a mental illness, educate them. But, it cannot be said that no work has been done to help people with mental health crises. The World Mental Health Day on 10th October, the National Suicide Prevention Helpline, Crisis Text Line, NAMI Helpline, etc., are all examples of attempts to address mental health issues. The internet is another example. It has opened avenues for the affected people to vent their feelings to their friends, co-workers, and family. Therefore, if someone is struggling and the person happens to share it with you, just listen with no prejudice or judgment. Furthermore, one should practice smiling at others more often, as it might just help cheer up the day for someone depressed. This is one of the reasons why the last Prophet of Muslims (Muhammad) said: “Your smiling in the face of your brother is charity...” (“Hadith - Chapters on Righteousness And Maintaining Good Relations With Relatives - Jami` at-Tirmidhi - Sunnah.Com - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad)

Conclusion

To conclude, mental well-being is important for both the affected and the non-affected. It is important that awareness increases among the society so that the affected people feel more ‘at home’ and are not forced to give their life away. Wrapping up, here is a quote from Prof Swaran Singh (Head of Mental Health & Wellbeing, University of Warwick) that should be a contemplation source.

'Mental illnesses, unlike broken bones, are invisible to everyone but those experiencing them. But their reality is no different and no less painful. Many will suffer in silence…” (Chadburn)

References

  1. “Stress Definition | Psychology Glossary | Alleydog.Com.” Alleydog.Com, 2019, www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.php?term=Stress. Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.
  2. “WHO | Mental Health: A State of Well-Being.” Who.Int, 15 Aug. 2014, www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/, features/factfiles/mental_health/en/index.html. Accessed 11 Oct. 2019.
  3. “NIMH » 5 Things You Should Know About Stress.” Nih.Gov, 22 Mar. 2019, www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml. Accessed 11 October 2019.
  4. “Mental Health Conditions | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness.” Nami.Org, 2018, www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions. Accessed 12 October 2019.
  5. Lipari and Eunice. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2019. p.2. Accessed 12 October 2019.
  6. “Mental Health By the Numbers | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness.” Nami.Org, 2015, www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers. Accessed 12 October 2019.
  7. “Patient Story: Bipolar Disorders.” Psychiatry.Org, 2019, www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/bipolar-disorders/patient-story. Accessed 12 Oct. 2019.
  8. “Hadith - Chapters on Righteousness And Maintaining Good Relations With Relatives - Jami` at-Tirmidhi - Sunnah.Com - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad.” Sunnah.Com, 2019, sunnah.com/tirmidhi/27/62. Accessed 12 Oct. 2019.
  9. Chadburn, Danny. “Mental Health | Depression, Anxiety and Sleep Disorders.” Patient.Info, 2019, patient.info/mental-health. Accessed 12 Oct. 2019.
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Importance Of Mental Health Essay. (2022, September 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-mental-health-essay/
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Importance Of Mental Health Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-mental-health-essay/> [Accessed 15 Apr. 2024].
Importance Of Mental Health Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 27 [cited 2024 Apr 15]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/importance-of-mental-health-essay/
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