Mental Health & Illness
Mental health is the foundation for thought process, communication, learning process, resilience and self-esteem. Mental health is also the key to relationships, personal and emotional well-being and essentially a contributing factor to community or society. Mental illnesses are health conditions which involves changes in thinking ability, emotion or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities. A mental disorder is what happens when your brain gets used to not working the way it is supposed to work.
Mental illness does not discriminate; it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, income, social status, race/ethnicity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, background or any other aspect of cultural identity. While mental illness can occur at any age, three-fourth of all mental illness begins by the age of 24.
Between mental and bodily diseases, the former affects the brain, and manifests itself by means of mental symptoms; whereas the latter affects other organ systems (for example, the skin, liver, etc.), and manifests by means of symptoms related to those parts of the body. Just like how physical health affects all aspects of our life, so does mental health.
Sometimes, for example, a depressed mood is normal, such as when a person experiences the loss of a loved one. But if that depressed mood continues to cause distress or gets in the way of normal functioning, then it is possibly a case of mental disorder and requires treatment.
Mental health conditions are treatable, and improvement is possible. Mental health treatment is based upon an individualized plan developed collaboratively with a mental health clinician and an individual (and family members if the individual desires). It may include psychotherapy (talk therapy), self-care, medication or other treatments. Often a combination of therapy and medication is most effective. Complementary and alternative therapies are also increasingly being used and also self-help and support can be very important to an individual’s coping, recovery and well being.
Tips to help increase overall mental health (before the symptoms are visible)
- Structure your day
- Exercise daily
- Eat healthy
- Limit caffeine
- Stay away from alcohol
- Go outside
- Build healthy relations
- Talk about the issue
- Stop thinking too much
Tips when diagnosed with any mental illness
- Recognize the illness in its early stage.
- Consult the doctor immediately.
- Discuss the treatment options with your doctor.
- Avoid self-medicating.
- Take medications as prescribed. Continuing medications will help prevent relapse.
- Follow up with your doctor regularly. Regular contact with doctor and timely review helps preventing recurrence.
- Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps reducing stress, anxiety.
- Keeping oneself engaged in activities.
- Avoid excess tea, coffee, nicotine as well as drugs like cannabis, alcohol.
- Eat and sleep well. Adequate sleep and healthy diet are necessary for good physical and mental health.
- Plan recreational activity.