What is mental health?

By Nicole Waweru.

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being.  It mostly affects how we think, feel and act. It is important that we all take care of our mental health. Mental health problems tend to affect our moods, thinking and behavior throughout the day. There are many types of mental health problems that are present today and they continuously affect different people of different ages.

There are many groups of mental illnesses and they include mood disorders, eating disorders, trauma related disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), psychosis, schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders. Mental illnesses make it difficult for people to cope with work and relationships.

The most effective way in which people cope with their mental health is by taking medications: this is for more extreme cases, counselling or both. Some of the most common mental health illnesses and issues include: anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychosis…just but to name a few.

According to Better Health Channel, anxiety disorders is a group of mental health disorders that includes generalized anxiety disorders, social phobias, panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Approximately, 25% of the population have an anxiety disorder that warrants treatment at some time in their life and up to 25% have less severe anxieties such as fear of spiders etc.

Bipolar disorder is a type of mood disorder where a person experiences episodes of mania and depression and it is said that environmental stressors can trigger bipolar. It involves cycles of extreme low ‘depressive-episodes’ and high mood, ‘manic episodes.’ The contributing factors for bipolar disorder may include brain chemicals, environmental factors, physical illness and stress. Research suggests that around 80% of the causes are genetic.

Mental health is something that you need to keep up just like physical health. You keep up physical health by eating healthily, exercising and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule. You can improve your mental health by taking a walk outside, spending time with friends or doing something that you love. Everybody needs a break sometimes and that is okay. Mental illness and developmental disorders are not that simple.

There is no doubt that people struggled in 2020 when the pandemic first hit. People lost their jobs; schools were closed indefinitely and there was fear among the people. This fear has led to people experiencing further stress and trauma as the world grapples with the profound crisis that is Covid-19.

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