Categories: Mental Health

What Is Mental Health? | Why is Mental Health Important?

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviors can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can’t get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school

Learn more about specific mental health problems and where to find help.

Mental Health and Wellness

Positive mental health allows people to:
  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
  • Getting professional help if you need it
  • Connecting with others
  • Staying positive
  • Getting physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Developing coping skills

Why is mental health important? Simply put, it’s a huge issue in the United States and there are shocking statistics about mental health that prove that. Unfortunately, there also tends to be a pretty significant stigma attached to anything related to mental health. This is why it’s so essential that we acknowledge the importance of good mental health efforts. In fact, mental health awareness might be one of the most pressing issues we’re currently facing in the healthcare industry as a whole. For this reason, in-person and online therapy is becoming more and more important.

Understanding the importance of mental health care is imperative. We need to collectively, as a society, overcome the barriers that have been put up that keep us from addressing mental health in a positive, productive way. When we consider the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 5 adults experience at least one mental health condition every year, it’s hard to deny that we need to be making mental health awareness more of a priority. 

Why is Mental Health Important?

Mental health is more important now than ever before. When we focus on it, virtually every aspect of life can be better off. The importance of good mental health ripples into everything we do, think, or say. 

Reasons to care for mental health

There are many reasons we should care about mental health. Maintaining it is crucial to stabilizing constructive behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. Focusing on mental health care can increase productivity, enhance our self-image, and improve relationships. 

Nurturing mental health doesn’t just let us perform better in our daily functions. It can also help us control — or at least combat — some of the physical health problems directly linked to mental health conditions. For example, heart disease and stress are related, so managing stress might have a positive outcome on heart disease.

Other benefits of taking care of our mental health can include:

  • Improving our mood
  • Reducing our anxiety
  • Creating an enhanced sense of inner peace
  • Thinking more clearly
  • Improving our relationships
  • Increasing our self-esteem

“Our mental health is something that impacts our eating and sleeping habits and has a lot to do with our physical health as well. It is important to address our mental health needs, or oftentimes we will feel the impact of it in other areas of our health as well.”

Bisma Anwar, LMHC

The importance of having good mental health

Beyond everything else we’ve already discussed, being mentally healthy can significantly impact our psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It directly affects how we feel and act on a daily basis. Mental health is a major factor when we make difficult choices, deal with stress, and relate to other people in our world. 

Yet, mental health isn’t just something we can deal with once and then get over. It’s important in every stage of our life. From infancy all the way into adulthood — mental health is something we need to be cognizant of and handle with care.

Having a solid foundation when it comes to mental health means you can:

  • Have productive, healthy relationships
  • Cope with daily stress in life
  • Establish a positive sense of self
  • Stay motivated and physically active, and healthy
  • Be more productive at work and school
  • Make meaningful connections and contributions to the community
  • Realize and work towards achieving your full potential
Why Should We Spread Mental Health Awareness?

There’s a very important reason we need to make a concerted effort to spread mental health awareness. That is simply for the fact that we need to de-stigmatize how we think about, approach, and identify mental health issues in our society. 

Having those tough conversations and admitting there’s a problem means we can come up with a solution. We can work to remove the shame and fear that’s often associated with topics surrounding mental health. Doing so can increase the likelihood of someone reaching out when they need help. 

Asking for help is a sign of strength. Working together allows us to begin building a foundation that respects and honors the importance of good mental health.

Another benefit to focusing on mental health awareness is that it can make signs and symptoms of certain conditions more well-known. Early intervention is predictive of how successful mental health treatment will be for many conditions. The earlier someone is diagnosed and begins treatment, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to manage their condition and improve their mental health.

Know the signs.

Take our free anxiety test

What Are the Most Common Mental Health Conditions?

There are countless mental health conditions, and some are more common than others. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions in the United States. More than 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder, but less than 37% of people actually seek mental health treatment for their symptoms. 

Other common mental health conditions include: 

“Some of the most common mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, PTSD, psychotic disorders, and personality disorders.”

Bisma Anwar, LMHC 

What Are Different Factors That Influence Mental Health?

There are so many factors that can influence mental health that it can be difficult to fully address them all. First, we want to identify the things that can have a beneficial impact on your mental wellbeing. 

The following have the potential to positively affect mental stability and health:

There are some factors that can negatively influence mental stability and health as well, including:

  • Past trauma, abuse, or neglect
  • Long-term and/or severe stress
  • Social isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Bereavement
  • Discrimination
  • Long-term physical conditions
  • Social disadvantages
  • Poverty or significant debt
  • Unemployment
  • A breakup or divorce
  • Dysfunctional family life

mental health america:

Mental Health America is a leading community-based U.S. nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting overall mental health. Our work includes prevention services, early identification and intervention, and integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it.

Mental Health America (MHA) – founded in 1909 – is the leading community-based nonprofit based in the United States dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.

mental health disorders:

There are many different types of mental health disorders. The more common types include:

  • Anxiety disorders: People with anxiety disorders respond to certain objects or situations with fear and dread, as well as with physical signs of anxiety or panic, such as a rapid heartbeat and sweating. An anxiety disorder is diagnosed if the person’s response is not appropriate for the situation, if the person cannot control the response, or if the anxiety interferes with normal functioning. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.
  • Mood disorders: These disorders, also called affective disorders, involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy, or fluctuations from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. The most common mood disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymic disorder.
  • Psychotic disorders: Psychotic disorders involve distorted awareness and thinking. Two of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations — the experience of images or sounds that are not real, such as hearing voices — and delusions, which are false fixed beliefs that the ill person accepts as true, despite evidence to the contrary. Schizophrenia is an example of a psychotic disorder.
  • Eating disorders:Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common eating disorders.
  • Impulse control and addiction disorders: People with impulse control disorders are unable to resist urges, or impulses, to perform acts that could be harmful to themselves or others. Pyromania (starting fires), kleptomania (stealing), and compulsive gambling are examples of impulse control disorders. Alcohol and drugs are common objects of addictions. Often, people with these disorders become so involved with the objects of their addiction that they begin to ignore responsibilities and relationships.
  • Personality disorders: People with personality disorders have extreme and inflexible personality traits that are distressing to the person and/or cause problems in work, school, or social relationships. In addition, the person’s patterns of thinking and behavior significantly differ from the expectations of society and are so rigid that they interfere with the person’s normal functioning. Examples include antisocial personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): People with OCD are plagued by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. The disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals are called compulsions. An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes their hands.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event, and tend to be emotionally numb.

Other, less common types of mental health disorders include:

  • Stress response syndromes (formerly called adjustment disorders): Stress response syndromes occur when a person develops emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to a stressful event or situation. The stressors may include natural disasters, such as an earthquake or tornado; events or crises, such as a car accident or the diagnosis of a major illness; or interpersonal problems, such as a divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or a problem with substance abuse. Stress response syndromes usually begin within three months of the event or situation and ends within six months after the stressor stops or is eliminated.
  • Dissociative disorders: People with these disorders suffer severe disturbances or changes in memory, consciousness, identity, and general awareness of themselves and their surroundings. These disorders usually are associated with overwhelming stress, which may be the result of traumatic events, accidents, or disasters that may be experienced or witnessed by the individual. Dissociative identity disorder, formerly called multiple personality disorder, or “split personality,” and depersonalization disorder are examples of dissociative disorders.
  • Factitious disorders: Factitious disorders are conditions in which a person knowingly and intentionally creates or complains of physical and/or emotional symptoms in order to place the individual in the role of a patient or a person in need of help.
  • Sexual and gender disorders: These include disorders that affect sexual desire, performance, and behavior. Sexual dysfunction, gender identity disorder, and the paraphilias are examples of sexual and gender disorders.
  • Somatic symptom disorders: A person with a somatic symptom disorder, formerly known as a psychosomatic disorder or somatoform disorder, experiences physical symptoms of an illness or of pain with an excessive and disproportionate level of distress, regardless of whether or not a doctor can find a medical cause for the symptoms.
  • Tic disorders: People with tic disorders make sounds or display nonpurposeful body movements that are repeated, quick, sudden, and/or uncontrollable. (Sounds that are made involuntarily are called vocal tics.) Tourette’s syndrome is an example of a tic disorder.

Mental Health FAQs

What Are The 4 Types Of Mental Health?
  • There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations. They are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others.
  • Mental disorders include: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, and developmental disorders including autism.
  • There are effective strategies for preventing mental disorders such as depression.
  • There are effective treatments for mental disorders and ways to alleviate the suffering caused by them.
What Exactly Is Mental Health?

The Exactly is mental health. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

What Are The 5 Signs Of Mental Health?

The five main warning signs of mental illness are as follows:

  • Excessive paranoia, worry, or anxiety.
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability.
  • Extreme changes in moods.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping pattern.

What Are The 7 Types Of Mental Health?

Seven common types of mental disorders include: 

  1. Depression
  2. Anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorders social anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and phobias
  3. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  4. Bipolar disorder
  5. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  6. Schizophrenia
  7. Personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder

How to Get Help For Mental Health

Wondering how to improve your mental health? If you or someone you care about needs mental health help, know that it’s available. Remember that the earlier you treat a mental health condition, the better the chances are that treatment will be successful. You can find help through individual or family therapy, support groups, online services, community clinics, or by asking a friend or family member to assist you. 

If you’re in crisis or if you’re experiencing suicidal ideation, you should seek help immediately. You can call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, which is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. The hotline is a national network of crisis centers all over the United States. They offer confidential and free emotional support to anyone in need who’s experiencing a suicidal crisis. 

Related: Keravita Pro Reviews

Sources:

1. Key Substance Use And Mental Health Indicators In The United States: Results From The 2018 National Survey On Drug Use And Health. Rockville: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); 2019:41-49. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/cbhsq-reports/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018/NSDUHNationalFindingsReport2018.pdf. Accessed October 26, 2021.

2. About Mental Health. Cdc.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm. Published 2021. Accessed October 26, 2021.

3. Topics H. Mental Health: MedlinePlus. Medlineplus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/mentalhealth.html. Published 2021. Accessed October 26, 2021.

4. Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Adaa.org. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics. Accessed October 26, 2021.

Fitness expert himal articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at fitness expert himal is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

Himal Rijal

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