In todays era when everything has turned digitalized and picture-perfect, one needs to ensure that they stay mentally healthy. 44 Million adults in the US have some sort of mental illness. This number comprises 18% of the US population. According to TSMHA, 9.7% of youth in the U.S. have severe major depression, compared to 9.2% in last year’s dataset.
All the afore-mentioned data begs the question: What is Mental Health? Why’s it so important (especially in todays time)? Well, Mental health is the first thing we decide to compromise in todays fast evolving and material-driven dynamic environment. Is it the appropriate thing to do? Let’s delve deeper to find our answers.
What Is Mental Health?
In simple terms, mental health is that state of existence where one functions optimally and can manage to navigate through life problems without falling into the traps of depression and anxiety.
Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization, is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, 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”.
Factors Causing Mental Health Issues
Mental Health issues are very common all across the world these days. The factors that contribute to such mental health problems are childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect, social isolation or loneliness, experiencing discrimination and stigma, social disadvantage, poverty or debt, long-term stress and much more.
Lifestyle factors including diet, work, family history, relationships, sleep levels and drugs also play a role in defining the mental capacity of an individual. Someone suffering mentally is more likely to have instability in these lifestyle factors as compared to someone who does not have mental health issues.
Research also suggests that some mental health problems may run in families. For example, if you have a parent with schizophrenia or any other mental health/anxiety disorder, you are more likely to develop schizophrenia yourself.
Stigma Around Mental Illnesses
Globally, more than 70% of people with mental illness receive no treatment from health care staff.
The use of mental health services by victims is mostly lower in developing than in developed countries. Help-seeking behavior differs for various mental disorders. It is important for us, as human beings, to learn about different kinds of help-seeking behaviors and not to stay ignorant about them.
There has been a stigma surrounding mental health issues historically. Victims of mental illness are not comfortable expressing the need for help because of this pre-built stigma. This needs to change. In the United Kingdom, there are related but separate national programs to reduce stigma and discrimination in Scotland, England, and Wales. Each of these anti-stigma programs consists of multiple components aimed at specific target groups (e.g., the media, young people) and at the general public, and operates at multiple levels. The world can take lessons from such noble initiatives.
Further more, mental health issues are very personalized on a case-to-case basis. They are very complicated and difficult to understand at times. There could be a distinct physical cause for difficult thoughts, feelings and behaviors might make it feel easier to talk openly about your experiences and ask for help.
When considering the impact of stigma on help-seeking, it’s helpful to contemplate how discrimination may affect those seeking help for mental disorders on their help-seeking pathways. We can differentiate three levels of discrimination: individual, structural, and discrimination qua self-stigmatization.
Worsening Global Mental Health Trend
In 2001, the planet Health Organization (WHO) reported that an estimated 25 percent of the worldwide population is stricken by a mental or behavioral disorder at one time during their lives. This mental and behavioral health issue is believed to contribute to 12 percent of the worldwide burden of disease and is projected to extend to fifteen percent by the year 2020. Within the US, mental and behavioral health conditions affect approximately 57 million adults.
There is substantial international interest in early interventions these days. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession had also negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.
In January 2021, 41% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder (Figure 2), a share that has been largely stable since spring 2020. In a survey from June 2020, 13% of adults reported new or increased substance use due to coronavirus-related stress, and 11% of adults reported thoughts of suicide in the past 30 days. Suicide rates have long been on the rise and may worsen due to the pandemic. Early 2020 data show that drug overdose deaths were particularly pronounced from March to May 2020, coinciding with the start of pandemic-related lockdowns.
How To Ask For Help?
- Explore online to see what’s out there
- Consider calling an anonymous helpline.
- If you’re comfortable, tell trusted friends or family you’re looking for additional support.
- If you’re in a crisis situation and have thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself or others, take action right away. Call a crisis hotline like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline