“No visible symptoms, no runny nose…Just a head full of darkness… No fever or rash, no fractures or sprains, just a longing for something unable to explain.”
What is mental health ?
Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioural and emotional well-being. In simple words we can say it’s all about how people think, feel and behave. Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health. Dozens of mental illnesses have been identified and defined. They include depression, generalised anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive_ compulsive disorder, post_ traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and many more. It affects young and old, male and female, and individuals of every race, ethnic background, education level and income level.
According to WHO
“A mental health is a state of being in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
Common mental health disorders:
As we have discussed above everyone has some risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter their age, sex, income or ethnicity. So some common mental health disorders are_
Depression refers to a wide range of mental health problems characterised by the absence of positive affect, a loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things and experiences, low mood and a range of associated emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioural symptoms. Depression is like the absence of being able to envisage that you will be cheerful again. The absence of hope, that very dead-end.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
The main cause of GAD is excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation). The person with GAD finds it difficult to control the anxiety and worry, which is often accompanied by restlessness, being easily fatigued, having difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and disturbed sleep.
People with panic disorder report intermittent apprehension, and Panic attacks in relation to particular situations or spontaneous panic attacks with apparent cause.
Obsessive compulsive disorder:
OCD is characterized by the presence of obsession and compulsion. An obsession is defined as an unwanted intrusive thought, image or urge that repeatedly enters the person’s mind. Compulsion are repetitive behaviours or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform.
Post traumatic stress disorder:
PTSD can occur after a person experiences or witnesses a deeply stressful or traumatic event. They may feel afraid or that they have no control over what is happening.
There is no accurate Physical test or scan that reliably indicates whether a person has developed mental illness. However there are some common symptoms that can help to find out whether the person is suffering from some mental health issues.
So a close observation of the person in his day to day life would help in this process. If a person is mentally disturbed or ill then one can see some changes in his daily life. Such as he may start withdrawing himself from friends, family and colleagues. He may start avoiding the activities that he would normally enjoy. Sleeping and eating will definitely be affected, either it will be too much or too little. A feeling of loneliness slowly arouses in his mind. He will always feel low, confused and show negative emotions. Then he may start using mood- altering substances, including alcohol and nicotine more frequently. And most importantly he can think of causing physical harm to himself or others.
There are various methods of managing mental health problems. Psychotherapy is one of the most successful treatments among all. With the help of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, they help to understand the root of their mental illness and start to work on more healthful thought patterns that support everyday lives and reduce the risk of isolation and self harm. Medication is another way to help the person. It makes him feel good, calm and relaxed.
Another important treatment is “self-help” . The person needs to take his own time away from those issues that bother him continuously or by sharing his problems with friends, family or any one with whom that person feels close and secured can help him to reduce stress level.
National Mental Health Program:
Keeping in view the heavy burden of mental illness in the community the government of India launched the National Mental Health Program in 1982. Three main components of NMHP are:
1. Treatment of mentally ill
3. Prevention and promotion of positive mental health
The Mental Health Care Act:
The Mental Health Care Act 2017 was passed on 7th April, 2017 and came into force from 7th July, 2018.
The law is described as
“An act to provide for mental health care and service for a person with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfill the rights of such person during delivery of mental health care and services for matters connected therewith.”
World Mental Health Day:
Every year 10th October is celebrated as World Mental Health Day. The objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilize efforts in support of mental health.