Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. Mental health also generally refers to our thoughts, actions and feelings, when faced with stress and life’s challenges.
All through our lives, mental health forms our way of thinking and communicating skills, learning, resilience, emotional growth, and self-esteem.
Depending on what is going on in your life at any given time, your mental health state may fluctuate. When major negative events in our lives occur, or more serious problems arise, coping becomes more difficult. During these difficult times, you may experience what are identified as mental health problems.
We can divide mental health problems in two categories: emotional problems and mental illness.
When distress is beginning to noticeably impair your daily life functions (changes in appetite, sleep changes, cannot concentrate) you are experiencing emotional problems. This experience is referred to as a “low point” or “the blues”. To get through these times, it is especially important to have support system of friends and loved ones. Many people seek professional counseling to help them return back to the state of well-being.
Mental illness is the more series type of mental health issue. Mental illness is characterized by prolonged problems in thinking, mood, or behavior. Mental illness is common. It is estimated the one if five Americans will experience some kind of mental illness in their lifetime. Mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia, to name a few.
People with mental illness experience chronic or long-term impairments that will range from moderate to disabling. As with physical illnesses, mental illnesses can be treated. You can, with professional help and/or medication, either recover or successfully treat the condition.
There are many reasons by individuals suffer from mental illness. There are several factors that trigger a condition. Personal environments are a contributing factor. Early life experiences, such as lack of love, violent or traumatic events, and bullying can negatively impact mental health and cognitive skills. Broken relationships, loss of a job, birth of a child, moving, or a stressful work environment can also impact an individual.
Racism, discrimination, poverty and violence may also contribute to mental illness causes. People in the lowest poverty levels are two to three times more likely to have mental illness.
Biological factors may also contribute to brain health. Sometimes the brain produces too many or too few chemicals that result in changes in how we perceive and experience our environment. This also changes behavior, mood and thought. Having a reaction to medication, physical illness, substance abuse, diet, and stress have also been identified as contributing factors.