According to a report by world health organization, “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.”
Also, WHO has reported in India that 7.5 % of the population suffers from some sort of mental disorder and the intervention is needed. Also, everyone in 20 persons suffers from depression.
How can we prevent mental health issues? To answer that question, let us understand few fundamentals of mental issues.
Mental Health Issues: An overview
Mental Health is a state of psychological wellbeing or one can simply say ‘having peace of mind’. Anything that disrupts this state might lead to mental health issues. It can be anything from feeling numb before an exam to developing severe psychological disorders such as the major depressive disorder or an advanced psychosis. Here are two stories to give a better understanding of mental health.
Story 1: Shailesh has mental retardation and lives with his father in the slum. He is extremely jovial though and loved by everyone. He has friends, and he is even trying to learn Stenography to get a job. Every time he fails the course, he attempts again. There is nothing that can pull his spirits down.
Story 2: Shantanu has always been brilliant in academics and his intellectual skills are impeccable. He is a highly paid software developer now and lives in a high-end apartment. He is dissatisfied with his job and avoids social contact mostly because he thinks himself the reason disappointment and believes that whatever he has achieved was a fluke.
Who would you say has better mental health
By the definition of mental health, the answer would be Shailesh. Mental health is not about what our circumstances are but how we feel and respond to our circumstances.
Shantanu has everything one would dream of yet Shailesh knows how to be happy in circumstances no one would think desirable. A person is known to have mental health issues when his or her psychological state affects their social, personal or professional life.
Now returning to the question, “Can we prevent mental health issues?”. If simplifying things, the answer would be yes! Mental health is never seen with the same eye as physical health. One would run to see a physician even if one has the fever but will tolerate years of mental exertion till the point of breakdown.
Mental illness is seen as a personal failure. People are willing to spend as much as needed for physical health but would want to spare financially for mental issues.
Ways to Prevent Mental Health Issues
Building psychological immunity: Just like your body needs immunity against infections, your mind can build immunity against stressors. It involves effective coping strategies and resilience resources to stressors. It simple words one can get over bad moods more easily and be less affected by unfavorable situations. This can be done by being more aware of self-such as recognizing signs of stress, understanding the sources of stress or overall satisfaction. Other ways are to set realistic goals for self and with others and working towards ways of stress reduction.
Mindfulness: Achieving mindfulness is accepting and acknowledging or being aware of the concerns, one’s feelings, strengths and weaknesses which help build realistic expectations towards things.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle: Proper sleeping and eating habits and regular exercise is beneficial in preventing mental health issues as well as physical health issues. Maintain a social support system: Research says social support system is crucial to mental wellbeing. Social support curbs a lot of stressors at the very base.
Keeping the balance with essential parts of life: There will be various things which will play crucial roles in your life. It can be regarding your work life or personal life. Putting more weight on one thing will disrupt the balance of other sides putting you in a stressful situation. Allocate your resources accordingly.
Believe in positivity. Watch positive videos or talks or read something inspirational or positive will contribute to building a more positive mindset in general.
Preventing mental health issues is possible and every one of us can make it possible!