What is mental health?

If you have mental health, you are in a state of psychological well-being. If you have mental health you probably don’t have any mental health issues.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes a good mental health with “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.”

Your mental health plays a huge role when it comes to your emotional, phycological and social well-being and further has big influence in on your thoughts, behavior and interpretation of your surroundings. A big part of your ability to cope with difficult times in life depends on a your mental health. If you are a person who has the ability to easily handle emotions or difficult situations, it is a good sign that you have mental health. Mental health is critical throughout your life at every stage.

While physical health is something you hear many people advocating, unfortunately the same does not count for mental health. In many societies even coming out, or seeking for health with mental health issues has shown to be taboo.

There are two main ways how your mental health can be impaired. Either because of your environment (e.g. traumatic experiences) or biological factors (e.g. your DNA).

Some experiences can be quite damaging to your mental health. Having a close person commit suicide, seeing someone die in a gruesome way, being abused or sexually assaulted are prime examples of experiences that can leave someone with mental health issues. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the condition that many people have developed after being exposed to traumatic events. It comes to no surprise that many soldiers in war develop PTSD. People suffering from PTSD are at higher risks of self-harm – most deaths from the U.S. army is from suicides.  Furthermore, consistent exposure to certain drugs will make people addicted to them. Addiction is also a form of mental health issue.

On the other hands, many causes of mental health issues have shown to be caused by genetics. This means that if your parents or other family members have certain mental health issues, your chances of inheriting them are high. Conditions such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Depression are some mental health issues that are likely to be inherited. As you can imagine, some mental health issues can be really difficult to prevent and treat.

While those who have their mental health impaired can have high hopes of being cured, mental health issues caused by genetics it is impossible to cure as it’s written in your DNA. Still there are quite a lot of treatments that might help to certain extents depending on the specific condition. Treatments can include activity therapies, group therapy and psychotherapy just to mention a few.

Activity therapy involves doing something active to promote healing. This could either be through making crafts or going for job. Similarly expressive therapies involves making music, art or dancing, which combines activity therapy with self-expression.

Group therapy is when a group of people, usually suffering from the same mental health issue group together to support one and other and perhaps even do activity and expressive therapies together.

Psychotherapy involves taking modern medicine but also therapy sessions with psychiatrists. Furthermore, drugs like MDMA and LSD which are illegal in many countries due to their unfounded dangers, have been showing many potential with treating mental health issues.

We still have a long way to go when it comes to treating and preventing mental health issues. If you feel like you need help don’t been afraid of seeking help from those around you. There are people and doctors waiting to help you.