NCDs 365 day 182-188- INTRODUCTION TO MENTAL HEALTH

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DAY 182 OF 365: WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH

According to the World Health Organization (WHO):

“Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

The WHO stress that mental health is “more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” Peak mental health is about not only avoiding active conditions but also looking after ongoing wellness and happiness.

They also emphasize that preserving and restoring mental health is crucial on an individual basis, as well as throughout different communities and societies the world over.

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Day 183 of 365: HISTORY OF MENTAL HEALTH

References to mental illness can be found throughout history. The evolution of mental illness, however, has not been linear or progressive but rather cyclical. Whether a behavior is considered normal or abnormal depends on the context surrounding the behavior and thus changes as a function of a particular time and culture. In the past, uncommon behavior or behavior that deviated from the sociocultural norms and expectations of a specific culture and period has been used as a way to silence or control certain individuals or groups.

Around 2700 BC, Chinese medicine’s concept of complementary positive and negative bodily forces (“yin and yang”) attributed mental (and physical) illness to an imbalance between these forces. As such, a harmonious life that allowed for the proper balance of yin and yang and movement of vital air was essential (Tseng, 1973).

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Day 184 of 365: MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH HISTORY

Mesopotamian and Egyptian papyri from 1900 BC describe women suffering from mental illness resulting from a wandering uterus (later named hysteria by the Greeks)

Greek physicians rejected supernatural explanations of mental disorders. It was around 400 BC that Hippocrates (460–370 BC) attempted to separate superstition and religion from medicine by systematizing the belief that a deficiency in or especially an excess of one of the four essential bodily fluids (i.e., humors)—blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm—was responsible for physical and mental illness.

Hippocrates classified mental illness into one of four categories—epilepsy, mania, melancholia, and brain fever—and like other prominent physicians and philosophers of his time, he did not believe mental illness was shameful or that mentally ill individuals should be held accountable for their behavior.

Mentally ill individuals were cared for at home by family members and the state shared no responsibility for their care.

Fast forward, the view of mental health has changed and grown as humans understood it better and currently mental Health issues are much more understood.

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Day 185 of 356: Interesting facts about mental health

The rate of mental health disorders doubles for those who have been to war or lived through a major disaster.

People with a mental health issue are generally nonviolent. In fact, only 3-5% of violent acts can be attributed to people with a serious mental illness.

Many factors can lead to mental illness, including genetics, physical illness or injury, and traumatic life experiences.

Many people do not seek treatment for mental illness due to the associated stigma. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental illnesses receive treatment.

By addressing risk factors such as trauma, it is possible to prevent certain mental health disorders, especially in children and adolescents.

Improving mental health services in low- to medium-income countries is not as costly as some may think. An investment of only $2-4 per capita would have a major impact on millions of lives.

Last but not least: most people living with mental illness lead productive lives despite their challenges.

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Day 186 of 365: Global mental Health statistics

One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional

Currently, more than 40% of countries have no mental health policy and over 30% have no mental health programme. Around 25% of countries have no mental health legislation

About 25% of countries, however, do not have the three most commonly prescribed drugs used to treat schizophrenia, depression and epilepsy at the primary health care level.

There is only one psychiatrist per 100 000 people in over half the countries in the world, and 40% of countries have less than one hospital bed reserved for mental disorders per 10 000 people.

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Day 187 of 365: Adolescent mental Health facts

Mental health conditions account for 16% of the global burden of disease and injury in people aged 10–19 years.

Half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age but most cases are undetected and untreated (1).

Globally, depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.

The consequences of not addressing adolescent mental health conditions extend to adulthood, impairing both physical and mental health and limiting opportunities to lead fulfilling lives as adults.

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Day 188 of 365: Common mental health disorders

The most common types of mental illness are as follows:

Anxiety disorders
People with these conditions have severe fear or anxiety, which relates to certain objects or situations. Most people with an anxiety disorder will try to avoid exposure to whatever triggers their anxiety.

People may also refer to mood disorders as affective disorders or depressive disorders.

Mood disorders
People with these conditions have significant changes in mood, generally involving either mania, which is a period of high energy and elation, or depression.

Schizophrenia disorders
The individual will have thoughts that appear fragmented, and they may also find it hard to process information.

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