Mental health is the foundation for emotions, thinking, communication, learning, resilience, hope and self-worth. It also plays a significant role in relationships, personal and emotional well-being as well as contributing to community or society at large.
No single factor causes mental illness, but it may be connected to genetics, environment and lifestyle factors. Additionally, traumatic life events or ongoing stress may contribute to this disorder.
What is a mental illness?
Mental illness is a health condition that negatively affects your thoughts, mood or behavior. It may be temporary or long-lasting.
Mental illnesses can affect people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Around 1 out of every 5 adults and adolescents will experience some form of mental illness at some point in their life.
Most mental illnesses can be treated with medication and therapy. Medication alters the chemicals in your brain, often leading to the disappearance of symptoms.
Psychotherapy is a therapeutic intervention designed to address difficulties with your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Treatments may take place one-on-one or in groups.
Mental illnesses are the most widespread, including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders. Some can lead to serious issues like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (also referred to as manic depression).
What are the symptoms of a mental illness?
People living with mental illnesses commonly exhibit a range of symptoms. These may include difficulties managing mood, thoughts, behavior and sleep.
They may experience physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches and aches in the stomach or limbs. Sometimes they may even have difficulty concentrating.
Furthermore, people with mental health disorders may experience changes in their eating habits such as excessive or minimal weight gain or loss – usually an indication that they are depressed.
Sometimes, signs and symptoms may not be apparent to others. But if you observe any changes in yourself or someone close to you, it’s critical that you seek assistance immediately.
How can I get help for a mental illness?
If you or someone close to you is experiencing symptoms of mental illness, the first step should be seeking assistance. Reach out to a GP or other qualified healthcare professional for assistance.
They can verify that your symptoms aren’t due to medication or another health condition and may refer you to a mental health care professional for assessment of the source of your distress. They may also prescribe medications and refer you to specialist services like psychiatrists or psychologists if needed.
A specialist mental health team can offer assessment, treatments and support to help you lead a fulfilling life. These teams comprise professionals such as social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and peer support workers.
They can assist you with accessing treatment for a mental health problem and getting the correct sort of support, such as helping you find work, housing or receiving benefits. These services may be offered one-on-one or in groups with others facing similar difficulties.
How can I help someone with a mental illness?
Supporting someone living with mental illness is the most important thing you can do. Showing understanding and support will make them feel less alone and ashamed, and encourage them to get the care they require.
You can help them with their daily life by providing assistance with things like finding affordable housing, paying for transportation to appointments and picking up prescriptions. Being a support person can be demanding but essential if you want your loved one to have the best chance at recovery.
Supporting them requires talking regularly and encouraging them to express their thoughts and feelings. While getting them to open up can be challenging, try staying calm and let them set the pace of their recovery. Doing this gives them space for assistance and makes discussing symptoms more comfortable. Furthermore, offering assurance that you’ll be there if needed can give comfort.