Mental Health is a crucial part of overall well-being. It is the foundation for emotions, thinking, communication, learning and resilience. It is key to relationships, self-esteem and a sense of hope and meaning in life.
Many people with mental disorders recover and are able to lead productive lives, despite their challenges. However, they may need help to do so, especially if the disorder prevents them from accessing treatment. For example, some low-income and middle-income countries report a high rate of unmet need for treatment. This is likely because those countries allocate very little of their public health budgets to mental health and depend on out-of-pocket spending by citizens to access care.
A mental health condition can be caused by many factors, including genetics, environment and life events. For example, some psychiatric disorders are associated with traumatic experiences such as natural disasters, medical accidents and acts of war or terrorism. However, most mental disorders occur across cultures and countries, suggesting that they are partly rooted in biology.
Some of the most common mental disorders include bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and schizophrenia. People with bipolar disorder often experience erratic shifts in mood, energy and activity levels. These changes can range from euphoria and extreme energy to deep sadness and a lack of interest in activities. Depression and anxiety are also common mental illnesses, and they can cause feelings of despair, restlessness and an inability to think clearly. Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that causes people to interpret reality in an unusual way, leading to hallucinations and delusions.
Most people with mental disorders can improve their symptoms by seeking treatment. This includes talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy, as well as psychosocial treatment that can include peer support groups and community services. Medication, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can also be used to treat some mental illnesses. Taking medication can reduce the severity of symptoms and enable people to resume their normal lives while they work on their recovery.
Getting treatment early can help people with mental illness avoid further problems and maintain their health. In fact, more than 70-90% of people who get proper treatment are able to recover and have improved quality of life. While there is still stigma around mental illness, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that most people with mental health issues recover.
If you have a mental health issue, you should talk to a friend or family member, or seek professional advice. GPs, psychologists and counsellors are all trained to help. You can also call Qlife, which provides free and confidential support for LGBTIQA+ people experiencing mental illness.