Mental disorders are prevalent across the globe, affecting tens of millions of people every year. But despite this, statistics show that only half of those affected get treatment. In 2014, there were 42,773 suicide deaths in the US alone, making it the 10th leading cause of death. The study further revealed that suicide causes more deaths among adolescents and young adults than a combination of cancer, respiratory infection, heart disease, influenza, congenital anomalies, meningitis, stroke, pneumonia, anemia, HIV, diabetes, septicemia, liver and kidney disease. That is just one reason why mental health is critical.
The treatment of mental disorders has long been downplayed by the sense that the illnesses of thinking, emotion and behavior somewhat lack legitimacy and only show a person’s poor life choices or weakness. In this article, we shall look into mental health and its importance on overall health.
What is mental health?
Mental health involves our social, emotional and psychological well-being. It influences how we act, feel and think. It’s also responsible for how we relate to others, make choices and deal with stress. Mental health is critical at all stages of life, from childhood through to adulthood. Irrespective of when the psychological issue sets in, it’s likely that the victim’s behavior, thinking and mood will be impacted.
A range of issues contribute to mental health issues, including;
- Hereditary – where other family members have mental health problems
- Biological effects like brain chemistry or genes
- Life experiences like abuse or trauma
Luckily, there is a lot of help available for people with mental health problems, and usually one can resume their healthy lives following therapy.
Keeping your emotional health
Mental health is a crucial part of your overall health. Individuals who are mentally okay are in control of their feelings, thoughts and behaviors. They can handle life’s challenges as well as keep problems in perspective and recover from setbacks. They have great relationships and feel good about themselves.
Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean that you’re happy at all times. It only means that you understand your emotions and can deal with them, whether they’re good or bad. You’ll still feel anger, stress and sadness, but the difference is you can manage these feelings. You can also tell when a problem is beyond you and need some help from a mental healthcare professional.
Importance of mental health
Mental fitness helps you to attain and sustain a state of good mental health – it is more or less the same as what physical fitness does to the body. When your mind is healthy, you enjoy your environment and life, along with those in it. You can learn, be creative, take risks, and try new things. You are well able to cope with hard times in your personal and professional life. As mentioned above, you can feel anger and sadness due to a job loss, death of a loved one or relationship issues among other stressful events, but after a while, you can bounce back and enjoy your life once more.
Nurturing your mental health can also help you prevent psychological issues that are linked to chronic physical illness. Sometimes, it prevents the occurrence or relapse of mental or physical disease. Stress management, for example, can have a positive impact on heart illness. Some ways to enhance your mental health include:
Getting physical is not just a great way to combat disease and improve physical condition, but also an essential element in building and upholding mental fitness. Some of the notable benefits of exercises include:
- Releasing of anxiety and stress
- Treating mild to moderate depression
- Counteracting the inactivity, withdrawal and feelings of hopelessness associated with depression
- Positive effects on fatigue, tension, vigor and anger
Feel the rush
- Do activities that stimulate the release of endorphin (the happy hormone), like:
- Breathing deeply
- Massage therapy
- Eating spicy food
Watch your diet
According to the UK’s Mental Health Foundation study, poor nutrition has contributed to the rise of mental health issues over the past five decades. Today, people are eating less fresh produce and more sugars and saturated fats. To enhance your brain function, you need a balanced diet of:
- Whole grains
- Fresh vegetables and fruits
- Food high in omega-3 fatty acids like eggs, seeds, nuts and fish