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What Is Mental Health?

Mental Health

Mental Health

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Mental Health
Mental Health

What is mental health?

Good mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. It enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment. When we are mentally healthy we can:

  • Form positive relationships

  • Use our abilities to reach our potential

  • Deal with life’s challenges

How can we improve our mental health?

A few tips for positive mental health are:

  • Talk about or express your feelings

  • Exercise regularly

  • Eat healthy meals

  • Get enough sleep

  • Spend time with friends and loved ones

  • Develop new skills

  • Elax and enjoy your hobbies

  • Set realistic goals

  • Talk to your GP or a health professional

What is mental illness?

A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person thinks, behaves and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria. A mental health problem also affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves, but to a lesser extent than a mental illness.

What causes mental illness?

Mental illness results from complex interactions between the mind, body and environment. Factors which can contribute to mental illness are:

  • Long-term and acute stress

  • Biological factors such as genetics, chemistry and hormones

  • Use of alcohol, drugs and other substances

  • Cognitive patterns such as constant negative thoughts and low self esteem

  • Social factors such as isolation, financial problems, family breakdown or violence

Mental Health Treatments

  1. Psychological therapy – Psychotherapy is the therapeutic treatment of mental illness provided by a trained mental health professional. Psychotherapy explores thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and seeks to improve an individual’s well-being. Psychotherapy paired with medication is the most effective way to promote recovery. Examples include: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, etc.

  2. Medication – Medication does not outright cure mental illness. However, it may help with the management of symptoms. Medication paired with psychotherapy is the most effective way to promote recovery.

  3. Self Help Plan – A self-help plan is a unique health plan where an individual addresses his or her condition by implementing strategies that promote wellness. Self-help plans may involve addressing wellness, recovery, triggers or warning signs.

  4. Peer Support – Peer Support refers to receiving help from individuals who have suffered from similar experiences.

  5. Case Management – Case management coordinates services for an individual with the help of a case manager. A case manager can help assess, plan, and implement a number of strategies to facilitate recovery.

  6. Hospitalization – In a minority of cases, hospitalization may be necessary so that an individual can be closely monitored, accurately diagnosed or have medications adjusted when his or her mental illness temporarily worsens.

  7. Complementary & Alternative Medicine – Complementary & Alternative Medicine, or CAM, refers to treatment and practices that are not typically associated with standard care. CAM may be used in place of or addition to standard health practices.

  8. Support Group – A support group is a group meeting where members guide each other towards the shared goal of recovery. Support groups are often comprised of nonprofessionals, but peers that have suffered from similar experiences.

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