Let’s talk Mental Health

Mental Health issues and problems are vast and can include the following – low mood, depression, bi polar disorder, manic depression, post-natal depression, anxiety, stress, panic attacks, borderline personality disorder, phobias, dementia, agoraphobia, schizophrenia, OCD, eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia nervosa, body dysmorphia.  This is not an exhaustive list but as you can see it is a huge group of conditions so it is no wonder, that in today’s busy society 1 in 3 people will experience some sort of mental ill health at some point in their lives.

So how can you tell if you are okay or may be suffering?  Below are two very broad definitions of good mental health at one end of the scale, and poor mental health at the other end of the scale.  There are lots of different stages in between as well.

a. Good Mental Health is represented by good physical, mental and social wellbeing and can also be affected by environmental factors.  Someone with good mental health is able to reach their own potential and can cope with the day to day highs and lows of everyday life and as well as being able to make a positive contribution to their family, workplace and community.  They will manage their emotional wellbeing in a healthy way.

b. Mental ill-health covers a wide continuum, from worries and sadness that we all experience during everyday life, to suffering a complete mental breakdown where someone is unable to look after or care for themselves or others and impacts on family, friends and maybe colleagues. Mental ill-health will be experienced and managed in differing ways for every individual as it is experienced in a unique way with each person.  It can lead to considerable changes in a person’s thinking, feeling and behaving and can affect anyone of any background.

Below are some key components for mental well-being :

Genetic inheritance – It is now understood that people can inherit physical conditions from their family through genes, and it is now widely debated and argued as to whether mental health conditions can also be inherited.  For example, it is thought that through a person’s genes they may be more predisposed to developing conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.

Childhood experiences – A person’s upbringing and childhood experiences can have a major impact on their mental health.  A positive family experience can set the path for healthy thinking and good mental health throughout life, whereas a bad one can lead to distorted thinking and long term suffering.

Social support and networks – Having good social support in the form of friends, family and community are important to assist with healthy mental wellbeing.  The community can provide many sources of stimulation, support and interaction which can be useful, especially for isolated people, and friends can be there to offer emotional support during times of difficulty.

Life Events – life is full of ups and downs and a person’s ability to cope with these in a healthy way will have a great impact on their sense of wellbeing.  Usually if someone has experienced a positive childhood, education and relationships, this will greatly aid them in being able to have a positive approach to life.

Being Healthy – is an important part of developing good mental health.  To be completely healthy a person should have a good balance between physical, social and mental wellbeing.  Environmental factors can also play a part.  Access to good healthcare as well as sustaining a healthy diet and exercise, also play a part preventing mental ill-health.

Financial security –money worries and financial instability can cause extreme stress and therefore be detrimental to a person’s good mental health.  It doesn’t mean being rich, however it does mean being able to balance income against outgoings so that a healthy and balanced lifestyle can be achieved and enjoyed.

If you have been affected by any of the above and would like to talk to someone, please contact us for further help.

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