How do you know that the mental health challenges you are facing are not just a few bad days but, in fact, an actual mental illness? While the two terms are often used interchangeably, they have diverse meanings. Mental illness is a condition that negatively affects your everyday routine and general ability to perform basic tasks like sleeping, eating, and talking. However, mental health is psychological well-being and can be influenced positively or negatively through several triggers or causes. A mental illness can have severe deteriorating effects on your mental fitness. Having stable mental health requires constant check and balance of your emotional and rational state.
In a world where the graph for mental illness is continuously soaring high, the coronavirus outbreak has also contributed to making the numbers much worse. According to World Health Organization, approximately one billion people suffer from mental disorders, and every forty seconds, a person dies from suicide. Sudden global crises have not only resulted in increased psychological victims but have also brought about depletion in mental health care services, specially in underdeveloped countries. The healthcare system should invest time and effort in such cases, which will help change the world for the better while also opening doors to new career opportunities. Today, since there has been more awareness on mental health, several institutes are offering different degree programs such as masters in mental health counseling online so that more people can be educated on such an important matter.
It is even more important today to have good mental health in order to get stable after a dreadful pandemic. A sound mind means a sound body. Your stable mental state not only enables you to move about efficiently but also ensures the safety of your personal and social relationships. A few important reasons why mental health needs more attention today are mentioned below.
- Lockdown and Seclusion: Emerging variants of the coronavirus put the world in a state of sporadic lockdown. People are forced to live in seclusion, limiting human interaction via the internet. Although it allowed people to take a break from worldly chaos, it also sparked a feeling of loneliness. It is in human nature to live in harmony with other members of their species. When they are unable to do so, it adversely affects their mental health, slowly climbing up the ladder from just a bad feeling to worsening psychological disorder.
- Social Media Influence: Widespread social media platforms have given rise to an impractical lifestyle. Nowadays, people are more interested in appearing what they’re not in real life on the internet. Social media life is almost turned into an alternate reality where unrealistic beauty standards, dramatic financial and social statuses have severely damaged the mental health of those who cannot keep up with these. Giving yourself a reality check and looking after your emotional healthiness is a very important task everyone living in this technological era must do.
- Disconnection From Nature: Work from home, virtual schools, and online shopping have reduced our time spent outdoors. Studies prove staying closer to nature reduces stress. Researches show people who had depression observed their moods getting better after spending time in serene natural surroundings. According to author Valentine Seymour (2016), nature not only improves physical health conditions such as hypertension and cardiac diseases but also plays a role in the betterment of mental health conditions such as attention disorders and anxiety. The positive effects of nature on human psychology are evidence of why we need to add this essential factor back into our lives.
- Family and Relationships: Managing personal relationships is as complicated as taking care of official matters. Both could be highly energy-draining, depriving you of your emotional strength. The case is tougher if you have an undiagnosed mental disorder. For example, if you suffer from anger issues, your condition is most likely to be passed on to your children, who are used to seeing you being angry all the time, might think of it as normal and adapt it themselves. Such situations result in a toxic family environment or even escalate to a broken family.
- Financial Reason: In today’s world, everyone is busy in a global race of being financially stable. While working overtime in nine-to-five jobs in the hopes of a promotion or establishing a business from scratch, people often ignore their mental health. Piling workload and stress of being unsuccessful takes over their lives completely and brings them on the verge of severely debilitating psychological conditions.
- Cyberbullying: Recent innovations have turned the world into a global village, enabling people from one corner of the world to interact with someone on the other. Although different cultures and ideas were discovered, it also exposed them to criticism and potential ridicule. Cyberbullying is a fruit of such a harvest. Every day, hundreds of individuals or communities are subjected to online hate and scorn in the name of racism, religion, and sexual identities. These consequences result in the despair and devastation of the target. People often hurt themselves or even end their lives in search of getting validation or because they’re unable to bear their circumstances.
- Potential Substance Use: In search of ecstasy or to escape reality, indulging in alcohol or drug use might seem like a good idea for the time. However, it has gravely damaging aftereffects on both physical and mental health. After a while, it becomes an addiction. Habitual substance users who are already suffering from a mental disorder tend to worsen the condition. National Institute of Drug Abuse, USA, suggests that individuals with psychological disorders are twice as likely as a healthy person to develop a dependency on chemicals and drugs. Self-medication through temporary fixes is not a permanent solution, hence why proper solutions should be more prevalent.
- Short Life Expectancy: Depression, anxiety, and psychological distress are some of the many things that drive a person to end their life. Because of the pandemic, people have experienced several arising problems like inflation, downsizing, loss of business and loved ones, etc. When people are unable to get out of these issues, they decide to escape them altogether. According to JAMA Psychiatry (2015), the mortality rate of individuals suffering from mental health challenges is higher than the healthy population, with a median life expectancy loss of 10.1 years. However, suicide isn’t the only factor that lowers the life expectancy of the sufferer. Damaged mental health triggers cases like broken heart syndrome, cardiac arrest, anorexia, etc.
- : Physical Health: Medical experts consider mental health and physical health to be interconnected. If one of them is problematic, the other writhes from aftereffects, too. Poor mental health results in disrupted sleeping patterns, respiratory complications, and an overall threatened immune system. Researchers propose that depression is linked to a 50% increase in a person’s chances of dying from cancer and a 67% increase from heart diseases. Similarly, people who have experienced head injuries or have conditions like cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, etc., are most likely to have dented mental health.
How You Can Pay Attention To Your Mental Health And Ensure Its Betterment:
Taking care of your mental health amid all the stress and problems in life is surely a difficult task to do. Here are some tips and advice to take care of your mental health:
- Manage Stress: Finding out and solving what triggers your stress and anxiety and keeping a record of your mood changes is an effective method of managing your stress.
- Exercise Daily: Studies have shown that exercising daily reduces stress and fatigue, ensuring physical well-being and flourishing your psychological health.
- Eat Healthy: A healthy gut means a healthy mind. Eating a nutritious and healthy diet is a good idea to pleasantly affect your mental health.
- Take A Break: Workload or educational stress can be very daunting. Learning when to take a break and relax by doing something you enjoy puts your brain out of lethargy and freshens it up.
- Engage In Self-Building Activities: Getting involved in volunteer work once in a while helps you feel well and exposes you to a better version of yourself.
- Open Up About It: Not talking about your mental health is never a good option. Opening up about your problems allows you to realize you’re not alone in your struggles, and the fears you encounter are pushed back by support and treatment.
- Seek Professional Help: When it gets unbearable, it’s certainly best to let the professionals handle the job. Living a healthy life and taking care of your mental health must be your priority. Mental health care workers ensure you defeat your illness and resume your life as a perfectly healthy individual of society.
The social stigma surrounding mental health prevents people from opening up about it and leaves them alone in their struggles. Talking to someone you trust and love is the first step towards better mental health. Psychological well-being is essential to living a prolonged and happy life, so don’t hesitate to put it on the top of your priorities.