Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of mental illness. It is the “psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment”. From the perspective of positive psychology or holism, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. The World Health Organization (WHO ) further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community.
Mental health and mental illness;
According to the U.S. surgeon general (1999), mental health is the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and providing the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity. The term mental illness refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders—health conditions characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with distress or impaired functioning.
A person struggling with his or her mental health may experience stress, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, addiction, ADHD or learning disabilities, mood disorders, or other mental illnesses of varying degrees. Therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners or physicians can help manage mental illness with treatments such as therapy, counseling, or medication.
Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Evidence from the World Health Organization suggests that nearly half of the world’s population are affected by mental illness with an impact on their self-esteem, relationships and ability to function in everyday life. An individual’s emotional health can also impact physical health and poor mental health can lead to problems such as substance abuse.
Maintaining good mental health is crucial to living a long and healthy life. Good mental health can enhance one’s life, while poor mental health can prevent someone from living an enriching life.
Mental health is conventionally defined as a hybrid of absence of a mental disorder and presence of well-being. Focus is increasing on preventing mental disorders. Prevention is beginning to appear in mental health strategies, including the 2004 WHO report “Prevention of Mental Disorders”, the 2008 EU “Pact for Mental Health” and the 2011 US National Prevention Strategy. Prevention of a disorder at a young age may significantly decrease the chances that a child will suffer from a disorder later in life, and shall be the most efficient and effective measure from a public health perspective.Prevention may require the regular consultation of a physician for at least twice a year to detect any signs that reveal any mental health concerns.
Activity therapies, also called recreation therapy and occupational therapy, promote healing through active engagement. Making crafts can be a part of occupational therapy. Walks can be a part of recreation therapy.
Biofeedback is a process of gaining control of physical processes and brainwaves. It can be used to decrease anxiety, increase well-being, increase relaxation, and other methods of mind-over-body control.
Expressive therapies are a form of psychotherapy that involves the arts or art-making. These therapies include music therapy, art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, and poetry therapy.
Main article: Group psychotherapy
Group therapy involves any type of therapy that takes place in a setting involving multiple people. It can include psychodynamic groups, activity groups for expressive therapy, support groups (including the Twelve-step program), problem-solving and psychoeducation groups.
Main article: Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is the general term for scientific based treatment of mental health issues based on modern medicine. It includes a number of schools, such as gestalt therapy, psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy.
Main articles: Meditation and Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
The practice of mindfulness meditation has several mental health benefits, such as bringing about reductions in depression, anxiety and stress. Mindfulness meditation may also be effective in treating substance use disorders. Further, mindfulness meditation appears to bring about favorable structural changes in the brain.
Spiritual counselors meet with people in need to offer comfort and support and to help them gain a better understanding of their issues and develop a problem-solving relation with spirituality. These types of counselors deliver care based on spiritual, psychological and theological principles.