The term ‘health’ is commonly used to refer to someone’s physical health – however, another important part of someone’s health that is sometimes ignored is mental health. The term mental health refers to someone’s emotional well-being and affects how people feel, think, and act. Similarly to physical health, there are many ways people can look after their mental health, and there are benefits to having good mental health.
WHAT AFFECTS MENTAL HEALTH?
There are several things that can impact someone’s mental health:
- Biological factors: Our emotional state is partly determined by the chemicals present in our brain.These chemicals act as signals that help tell the brain how someone is feeling. If someone has problems making or detecting these chemicals, this can affect their ability to feel certain emotions, such as happiness. Over time, this negatively impacts someone’s mental health.
- Experiences: For example, people are more likely to have poor mental health if they have been through a stressful experience, such as fighting in a war.
However, it is important to understand that stressful experiences do not always lead to mental health problems. The opposite is also true, so mental health problems can exist without a specific event as a cause.
WHY IS MENTAL HEALTH IMPORTANT?
Looking after your mental health has a range of benefits.
- Mental health and physical health can affect each other, so improving your mental health can improve your physical health. For example, looking after your mental health can reduce stress and as a result reduce your risk of suffering from heart problems.
- Since mental health is dependent on your emotional health, good mental health is associated with more positive emotions such as happiness and satisfaction with life.
- Additionally, mentally healthy people typically have better coping strategies for when they face challenging or stressful situations.
WHAT IS POOR MENTAL HEALTH?
The same way that poor physical health can lead to physical illnesses, poor mental health can lead to mental illnesses. There are many different types of mental illness. Two of the most common mental health problems are depression and anxiety.
While it is normal to feel sad sometimes, frequent or constant sadness could be a sign of depression. Other signs of depression include loss of interest in activities and lower energy. Luckily, depression is treatable and so it is not a permanent condition. Treatment can come in the form of medication, therapy, or self-help by taking steps to generally improve your mental health. The treatment option chosen may depend on how accessible medication and therapists are.
Anxiety is a condition in which someone often feels fearful. There are ways that anxiety changes people’s behaviour, like a loss of confidence and trouble sleeping. There are also physical signs like a fast heartbeat, tense muscles, and fast breathing. It is important to understand that stress is a normal emotion to feel. However, if it if continuous, then it could be a sign of anxiety.
Overall, it is important to understand that health has an emotional component as well as a physical component. Looking after your mental health is important. With better mental health, you will be more happy and better able to face challenges!