Why is Mental Health Important?

Why is mental health important? Read on to learn more about mental health and wellness, its causes, and available treatment options.

Why is Mental Health Important

Article Contents

Mental Health Awareness

Mental health is a widely used term globally today; however, despite this considerable “recognition,” relatively little is still known about mental health and the causes of mental health diseases. Additionally, many people do not understand how important mental health is and how they can improve and maintain good mental health. This article looks at mental health, why it’s important, and some mental health self-care tips.

Is Mental Health Stigmatized?

In recent years, the term mental health has been thrown around. Few people have an in-depth, concise knowledge of mental health and its effects on total body wellness and daily living. It also doesn’t help that there are myths, misconceptions, and very wrong beliefs about caring for and maintaining good mental health properly. These problematic ideologies can cause a cultural stigma surrounding mental health.

A correct knowledge of mental health will help you understand the question, “Why is mental health important?”

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is a broad term encompassing psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing. It refers to the “quality” of a person’s mental, social, and emotional status and the resultant impact of these states on how and what people feel, act, think, and behave. Mental health also determines your response to stress and the quality of your interactions with other people. 1 

Mental Health and Wellness

Usually, when people think of “mental health,” they immediately associate it with known negative psychological and emotional symptoms and effects. However, this is somewhat incorrect because mental health and poor/bad mental health differ. It is important to know that mental health can be good or bad. While poor mental health is a type of mental health itself, it does not mean the same thing as mental health. 1 

Another essential thing to note is that just like certain activities and factors can influence physical well-being. Several factors can affect your mental health and tilt it towards the positive or the negative side of the “mental health spectrum.” A good mental health status equates to good body health and vice versa. 1 

Reasons to Care for Mental Health

As earlier mentioned, your mental health has far-reaching effects on the quality of life you can live. The overall mental health condition of an individual will influence emotional, behavioral, and psychological patterns and responses irrespective of age. 2 
If you don’t take proper care of your mental health, other parts of your life and wellbeing will suffer. Of course, there are several benefits to developing and maintaining good mental health beyond the negative.

Benefits of Good Mental Health

Some significant benefits of good mental health include the following:

Improved Ability to Cope With Stress

Many people often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with and properly manage stress in their lives. This “solution” is flawed, as it is potentially habit-forming, but it is also dangerous to the body’s health. Instead of turning to substance abuse to cope with stress in your life, maintaining good mental health will help you effectively deal with and defuse stressful situations.2 

A Positive Self-Image

One significant manifestation of poor mental health is poor or negative self-image. However, developing and maintaining a positive self-image will help you improve your perceptions and feelings about yourself. Instead of focusing on your flaws, good mental health will help you focus on and draw inspiration from your positive characteristics. 2 

Better Relationship Health

You will find it easier to connect and relate with your family, friends, and loved ones if you have good mental health. People with poor mental health, on the other hand, often find it difficult to express themselves appropriately and relate with people around them.2 

Improved Productivity and Higher Quality of Life

A significant effect of poor mental states caused by depression is reduced activity, leading to poor productivity. On the other hand, good mental health helps you focus, frees up your “thinking,” and enables you to become more productive.2 

Why is Mental Health Important for Overall Health?

Now you might be wondering, “Why is mental health important?” Mental health impacts your general body functioning, including your physical and psychological state. The importance of mental health lies mainly because it affects everything.

Mental Health Affects Physical Health

Although mental health has a sizable impact on emotional and cognitive functioning, most people are unaware that it, directly and indirectly, affects physical health. For example, poor mental health could greatly increase the possibility that an individual will experience a stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other heart disorders.3 

Many studies have also indicated that those who suffer from poor mental health or mental health issues, like depression, have shorter life expectancy than those who do not. This is because poor mental health and mental health disorders have significantly increased the risk and occurrence of several health conditions such as respiratory failure and even cancer. 4 

Can Your Mental Health Change Over Time?

Now that you know that the importance of mental health cannot be overstated, another vital question to consider is “Can your mental health change over time?” Yes, your mental health can change over time. Several factors can influence your mental health status either positively or negatively. Some of these factors are “temporary,” and mental health improves once they’re eliminated. Others, however, are somewhat more permanent.
For example, stress arising from certain situations, such as a deadline to meet or preparing for a major event, can negatively affect your mental health. Once the event is concluded, the deadline is sorted; however, mental health will begin to increase. So, in essence, the severity or degree of impact mental health factors have on your mental wellbeing depends on the factor itself.

Factors That Influence Mental Health?

Some factors that can influence your mental health status include the following:

  • Genes and brain chemistry
  • Exposure to trauma or abuse
  • Family medical history
  • Lifestyle such as diet, frequency of exercise, etc.

How to Improve Mental Health and Well-Being?

The great thing is that just like mental health can degenerate, there are also ways to improve your mental health. If you feel that your mental health and well-being are not good enough, you will want to start practicing mental health-improving activities such as self-care.

What is Self-Care?

According to the WHO, self-care refers to the ability of people (whether individuals, families, or communities) to effectively promote and maintain good mental and physical health with or without health care intervention.5 

Basically, self-care involves the deliberate actions and activities you take or engage in that help boost your psychological, emotional, and physical wellbeing. 6 

Self-Care Tips for Mental Health

Some activities you can engage in that will help you improve your mental health and reduce the risk of mental disorders include the following:

  • Exercise frequently
  • Sleep regularly
  • Eating healthy
  • Staying connected to your family, friends, and other people around you
  • Setting goals and priorities 

How Can You Improve Your Emotional Health Day-To-Day?

Mental health’s emotional “aspect” can be tricky to deal with. For the most part, improving emotional health will involve you facing and dealing with feelings you’d probably rather not touch. Besides confronting your feelings, another important way to improve emotional health is to develop healthy coping skills.6 

Many people turn to alcohol use and substance abuse as coping mechanisms when they must deal with unpleasant emotions. However, these activities are unhealthy, and they could significantly impact your mental and physical well-being. Healthy coping skills like exercise, reading, or something as simple as talking to a trusted friend will go a long way towards improving your emotional health. 6 

What Causes Mental Illness?

Mental disorder or illness can occur in any individual irrespective of age due to several “isolated occurring” factors or from the interactions of these factors. It is usually difficult to pinpoint a particular cause of mental illness conditions; nevertheless, some factors have been associated with mental illness.7 

Risk Factors of Mental Illness

There are factors that influence the likelihood of an individual developing or experiencing mental illness. These factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Infection 
  • Brain injury or defects
  • Substance abuse
  • Prenatal defects
  • Poor nutrition
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Trauma and abuse 
  • Stress

What are the Most Common Mental Health Conditions?

Poor mental health may lead to the development of mental health conditions. Some of the most common mental health conditions linked to poor mental health include the following:
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental Disorder
  • Bipolar
  • Schizophrenia

Risk Factors for Mental Health Conditions

In addition to the fact that there are several different causes of poor mental health and mental health conditions, there are also some risk factors that, if present, predispose an individual to the development of mental health conditions. These risk factors can be divided into two main categories:

Continuous Social and Economic Pressure

People who are frequently exposed to stressful situations arising from social and economic pressure usually have poor mental health and may even develop some mental health conditions such as depression.

Biological Factors

Biological factors such as genes and family medical history may also be risk factors for mental health conditions. Some mental health conditions are hereditary, so individuals with family histories of such diseases may also develop the mental health conditions.7 

Other risk factors include:8 

  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Gender

Why Is It Important to Seek Help for Mental Health?

Seek Help for Mental Health
Although there are some self-care methods for managing and improving mental health, these self-care options usually fall short in the face of much more severe mental health conditions. You may also not know the best approach to improve your mental health and treat mental health conditions.
It is recommended that you seek help from certified, experienced sources such as treatment centers to ensure that you can take proper care of your mental health and general wellbeing.

Treatment

There are several approaches to dealing with mental health issues. Treatment is personalized, and what works for one person may not work for the next. Treatment procedures that have affected optimum results are usually combined with several individual treatment approaches.8 

Treatment options for improved mental health will be detailed below.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, involves using psychological approaches to resolve mental health conditions. In psychotherapy sessions, patients learn to recognize the source of their mental illness conditions. Psychotherapy also helps patients to develop healthy coping mechanisms and thought patterns. 8 

Medication

This involves the use of some prescription medications to treat mental health conditions. Although many of the medicines used do not directly “cure” the mental disorders, they contribute to improving the symptoms of these mental illness conditions. These medications may also increase the body levels of chemicals that promote good mental health.8 

Self-Help

In this form of treatment for mental health conditions, patients learn how to take care of their mental health themselves. It involves engaging in certain activities, proper diet, exercise, and avoiding things that could lead to poor mental health.

What To Do In a Crisis

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, please employ the following tactics:

  • Talk to someone you trust (friend, family, therapist)
  • Seek professional help
  • Employ coping mechanisms 
  • Consider a mental health treatment facility
  • Reach out to a mental health crisis counselor (telehealth options are available)

Mental Health Treatment at Iris Healing

Do you have a mental illness? Or are you looking to improve your mental health? If you are, then Iris Healing is the perfect place to be.

At Iris Healing, you will have access to a holistic treatment approach that will help you improve your mental health physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We have a committed, patient-first treatment approach that is designed to help you live a healthy life.9 

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