Introduction to Mental Health & Mental Health Conditions

What Is Mental Health?
Mental Health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his/her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his/her community (World Health Organisation).

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence
of disease or infirmity (WHO). Therefore, there is no health without mental health.

What Is Mental Illness?
Mental illness, also called mental disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions/disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior (Mayo Clinic).

Examples of Mental Illnesses
– Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders.
– Anxiety disorders including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.
– Schizophrenia
– Personality disorders
– Eating disorders
– Addictive behaviours

Early Warning Signs
– Mood swings or constantly feeling low
– Increased use of alcohol or drugs
– Thinking life is not worth living
– Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
– Withdrawing from social activities and spending less time with friends and family
– Disturbed sleep, either not getting enough or sleeping too much
– Eating less than normal or overeating, perhaps losing or gaining weight
– Feeling irritable, over-sensitive or aggressive
– Having difficulty concentrating or remembering things
– Experiencing recurring physical symptoms such as aches and pains or other unexplained illnesses
– Hearing or seeing things that no one else can hear or see

What Causes Mental Illnesses?
Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
– Biological factors (e.g. genetics)
– Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
– Family history of mental health problems
– Drug and alcohol abuse

Ways to Maintain Positive Mental Health
– Getting professional help if you need it
– Connecting with others
– Engaging in physical activities
– Eating a balanced diet
– Getting enough sleep
– Learning coping skills (e.g. breathing exercises)

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