Mental health

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health indicates an individual’s behavioural, emotional, and cognitive function. Mental health is the way a person acts, behaves, feels, and thinks. Mental health is what is responsible for a person’s overall wellbeing and affects every part of their life. Mental health can even affect a person’s physical health.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stress of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

What Is a Mental Health Condition?

A mental health condition is often referred to as mental illness. A mental health condition can affect a person’s behaviour, mood, and overall sense of wellbeing. Having a mental health condition can make it difficult to function normally in everyday activities, as well as hard to interact with other people.

What Affects Mental Health?

There are several things that can negatively affect a person’s mental health. A mental health condition is typically caused by several different factors, rather than one thing. Common factors that affect mental health include: genetics, environment, and lifestyle. Repeated exposure to stress at home or work and experiencing traumatic events can both lead to a decline in mental health. Mental health can also be affected by basic brain function and biochemical processes.

Common Mental Health Conditions

There are several common mental health conditions that affect countless individuals worldwide. Approximately 1 in 5 individuals suffer from some type of mental health issue at least once in their life. Mental health disorders are one of the leading causes of disability throughout the world.

Common types of mental health disorders include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias
  • Schizophrenia

Signs and Symptoms

While it isn’t always easy to know if a person has developed a mental health condition or problem, there are definitive signs that point to a decline in mental health. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of mental health problems include:

  • Feeling as if nothing is important
  • Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
  • Not experiencing pleasure from activities once enjoyed
  • Frequent confusion
  • Excessive sleeping or insomnia
  • Abusing drugs and alcohol
  • Mental confusion
  • Low energy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to complete regular tasks such as cooking or doing the dishes
  • Hearing voices
  • Experiencing delusions or hallucinations


While most people will experience some problems with mental health in their lifetime, recurring mental health problems that are persistent or won’t go away on their own often require treatment. The treatment a person receives is dependent upon the mental health problems they are experiencing.

Some of the most common mental health treatments include:

  • Therapy: This can include several types of psychological approaches. Therapy, counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, group counselling, and exposure therapy are all commonly used when a person is struggling with a mental health problem.
  • Medication: Medication is often used to help with a person’s mental health. It can be used alone, but is most beneficial when used in conjunction with some type of psychological therapy such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Lifestyle changes can significantly improve mental health. Getting adequate sleep, reducing alcohol intake and drug use, getting regular exercise, and eating a well-balanced, healthy diet can all increase a person’s mental health.


Mental Health FAQ

How does mental health affect physical health?

Mental health problems such as anxiety or depression can impact a person’s physical health and lead to problems such as heart disease and reduce the strength of the immune system. Ulcers and colitis can also be a result of a decline in mental health. Individuals with poor mental health are more susceptible to developing conditions as mild as the common cold, to diseases such as cancer.

What is mental health and mental illness?

A mental illness will affect a person’s mental health. Mental illness can negatively impact a person’s mood, the way they feel, and how the interact with others. A decline in mental health can lead to mental illness.

How many people suffer from mental health problems?

It is believed that 1 in 4 people will be affected with a mental health problem at some point in their life. Approximately 450 million people around the world suffer from some type of mental health condition.

External Links

What is mental health?, Medical News Today

Mental Health Conditions

Mental health Data, WHO

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