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Introduction to Mental Health

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Your mental health determines or affects:

  • How you feel

  • How you think

  • How you behave or act

  • How you relate to others

  • How you handle stress

  • How you make healthy choices

In other words, your mental health includes your psychological, emotional, as well as social well-being.

When you feel good about yourself and can handle the everyday demands of life, you have good mental health.

On the other hand, if you have trouble coping with everyday issues, it could be an indication of poor mental health, which should be addressed immediately.

Every stage of life, from childhood to adolescence through adulthood, depends on mental health.

We’ll now define mental health and look at the importance of mental health, its causes, as well as the effects of poor mental health. You’ll also learn how to take care of your mental health.

Definition of Mental Health

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health signifies a state of mental well-being in which an individual:

  • Can cope with the everyday stresses of life

  • Realizes his or her own potential

  • Can work productively and learn well

  • Is able to make a contribution to community

Importance of Mental Health

Taking care of your mental health is crucial because it plays a significant role in your overall well-being. Maintaining good mental health allows you to:

  • Cope with everyday stressors

  • Build and maintain healthy relationships

  • Handle life’s challenges with resilience

  • Enjoy life

  • Pursue your passions positively and achieve your goals

What Factors Affect Mental Health?

Several factors can affect your mental health, including:

  • Stigma

  • Feelings of loneliness or isolation

  • Childhood abuse

  • Trauma

  • Sexual assault

  • Neglect

  • Discrimination

  • Helplessness

  • Genetics of family history

  • Exposure to violence

  • Exposure to climate-related natural disasters such as wildfires and floods

  • Poverty

  • Chronic illnesses such as cancer

  • Use of alcohol or drugs

Effects of Poor Mental Health

Having poor mental health, on the other hand, can lead to a range of mental health issues such as:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Burnout

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Insomnia

  • Restlessness

  • Anger

  • Sadness

Neglecting your mental health can also lead to physical symptoms such as:

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Digestive problems

  • Weight loss

Behaviourally, mental health problems can lead to:

  • Drug and substance abuse

  • Isolation

  • Self-harm

  • Not eating enough

  • Emotional eating

At the workplace, poor mental health can affect your job performance. You may find it hard to concentrate and be productive with your work, which can make it harder to:

  • Complete tasks

  • Meet deadlines

Tips for Taking Care of Your Mental Health

  • Seek counselling: If you suspect that you have a mental health problem, it’s important to seek help. Early intervention through counselling can prevent the mental health problem from worsening.

  • Stay active: Regular exercise can improve your physical fitness, while improving your mood. What’s more, walking for 15 minutes can improve your mental alertness, which in turn boosts your energy and mood. Other physical and mental activities you can engage in are sports, exploring nature, and social events.

  • Stay connected: Quality social contact can improve your mental health by decreasing feelings of loneliness or isolation. However, it’s important that you seek positive interactions or relationships. Having negative interactions with bullies or people who stigmatize mental illness can negatively impact your mental health.

  • Learn to adapt: Life circumstances are ever-changing. Therefore, your ability to adapt your behavior to unforeseen changes is critical to safeguarding your mental health.

To conclude, neglecting your mental health isn’t a good idea. Your mental health plays a crucial role in your overall well-being. Therefore, it’s imperative that you take time to prioritize your mental health whenever you feel depressed, anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed.

It will be easier for you to handle life's challenges, establish healthy relationships, and lead a satisfying life if you take care of your mental health at the right time.

If you are struggling with your mental health, please contact us about our counselling service.

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