What is mental health?

Over the past few years, mental health has come into particular focus. Every day, we encounter dozens of articles, research reports, features, and events, focused solely on the importance of mental wellness. Numerous states, private companies and individuals have been working hard on the subject matter and proliferating their findings.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), 1 in every 10 people around the world is experiencing a mental health issue. However, given the undeniable stigma associated with the subject and a limited number of studies, it is virtually impossible to calculate a more accurate number of cases, which is bound to be much higher than reported to date.

With that in mind, a great deal of attention must be paid to mental wellness. Before we dive deeper into the reasons why, let us first define the subject for those that may not be sufficiently informed yet.

What we need to know about mental health

1.    Psychological health, psychiatric health, and mental health are interchangeable concepts with identical meaning.

2.    Mental health is more than absence of mental disorders or infirmities. According to the World Health Organization, mental health is a state of complete emotional, psychological, and social well-being in which individuals:

●    Feel good;
●    Understand that they have the ability to tackle everyday issues and stress; 
●    Are productive and able to contribute to their communities.

3.    Mental health infirmity is not merely an acute form of a defined disorder, such as depression or anxiety. Each and every one of us gets to experience a mental infirmity at a variety of stages in life—mostly triggered by the constant tension, rapid social change, transitions or disturbing news and experiences that are now an inseparable part of the modern reality.

4.    Mental health is fundamental to both our collective and individual ability to live a wholesome life. Mental health care and treatment is a critical component of social welfare. After all, it is precisely the society comprised of healthy individuals that manages to be genuinely productive and successful on a larger scale.

5.    Mental health is critical to our overall wellness.  It is important to understand that individual health is so much more than physical wellness. Wholesome health entails physical, mental, and social well-being, which is why the three are so very intertwined and mutually dependent, defining the very quality of life.

Let’s now dive deeper into the three elements of mental health: 

Emotional stability entails self-acceptance, ability to self-analyze and express feelings in a healthy manner. It is also about showing appreciation for others and being even-tempered and constructive in the face of challenges.

Social well-being: Mental health defines our ability to maintain healthy, quality relationships—the determinant of our overall social well-being through new relationships and the ability to enjoy being around people.

Cognitive ability governs the way we seek, acquire, process, and analyze information from the external world, how we reason and problem-solve. Therefore, mental health dictates more than the intricate emotional/psychological processes within us: it defines the very quality of our surroundings and our intellectual, physical, and social well-being.

Proliferation of the novel coronavirus has certainly contributed to the rising importance of mental health, shedding light on the global need for specialized care. Fortunately, numerous private and non-profit organizations have spoken up about a variety of topics, including healthy ways of dealing with stress or frustration, anti-anxiety techniques, and positive thinking etc. 

Hence, now that increasingly more people come to understand the importance of mental wellness and its extensive impact on our lives, mental health care is rapidly becoming a top priority. 

In our next article, we are going to discuss mental health assessment.