World Mental Health Day
The 10th of October 2018 – we have dedicated this day and date to increase and spread knowledge and awareness towards Mental Health, worldwide.
What is Mental Health? The functioning level of psychological and emotional well-being considered healthy from the absence of any mental illness due to the right balance of behavioural adjustments.
Simply put, having a clear state of mind at all times. Is this even possible, during these times that we live in? Has there anyone who has not been affected by mental illness during their lifetime?
It has somewhat become apparent to put ‘Us’ aside and prioritise externalities.
We see changes happening around us, every day and certain behavioural patterns on our colleagues at work, mates in school, closest friends and even at home by family members. Most often, we choose to ignore because we do not understand what exactly are the reasons behind these dramatic changes in their behaviours. Or our own.
Mental illness affects everyone – from that one person who is suffering silently or loudly, to their loved ones supporting them, young and old, poor and rich, educated or not! Because it comes without warning. Because it does not choose its’ victims by a voting poll but the situations and the way we handle it, is what causes the long-term damages.
The following are some of the common types and signs and symptoms of mental illnesses that affect children from ages 8 to 12, teenagers, younger and older adults.
What are the common Mental Health illnesses?
- Depression – feelings of severe despondency and dejection; also the most common mental illness which is always the first and at the top of the list.
- overwhelming emotions, extremities in projecting feelings, silent or talkative
- breaking down in tears, not having a reason to cry, despaired and hopeless
- feeling pessimistic and hostile of their situation, defensive and irritated
- extreme lethargy and fatigued, not interested in any daily activity, discouraged
- suicidal thoughts and risky actions that cause self-injury and harm
2. Anxiety – feelings of worry, nervous and agitated without any particular reasons. Usually a reaction of feeling uneasy to one or more phobia and/or a result of isolation and withdrawal.
- Social anxiety, fear of meeting people, communicating and even travelling either alone or public transportation
- Childhood traumas that cause a lifetime of an unhealed wound, post-traumatic stress disorder
- Emotionally unable to express themselves freely due to bitter, fear and loneliness.
3. Obsessive – Compulsive Disorder ( OCD ) – a mental illness which in itself has two parts and the person usually will experience one or the other, and at most times both.
- Obsession, constantly disturbed by repetitive thoughts which are unwanted. This does not necessarily be a focus on one thing that is particular, it could be anything and changes from one obsession to another.
- Lack of focus and attention. Easily distracted by their own thoughts.
- Compulsion is what the person does to control their obsessive thoughts. This is something the person has a slight control of since they know what they are doing like arranging and ordering things in a certain way, cleaning and tidying to keep one busy
4. Eating Disorders – abnormal and extreme eating habits due to concerning body shape and size. Affects both men and women and the particularly the younger
- Anorexia Nervosa is an emotional and psychological disorder which causes the person extreme weight loss of the constant fear of weight gain.
- Starving themselves to lose weight and the body suffers malnutrition due to lack of essentials
- Bulimia Nervosa an emotional disorder which due to their obsession to lose weight, bouts overeating and forcing themselves to vomit and purge
- Also exposing their bodies to extreme health risks
As a woman who has suffered depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD ), I can tell you that it was never easy to be me, to be in my head. But I managed and took control of my mental health by focusing on my overall health and surroundings.
A person is not fully recovered from these illnesses but with the right guidance, support, and care any long-term damages could significantly decrease and kept under control.
How do we do this? By identifying the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses.
What are the symptoms of Mental Health illnesses?
- Mood disorders – unpredictable and rapid changes in moods throughout. E.g: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorders in women, Anxiety.
- Personality change – a dramatic change in projecting themselves as in their appearances, opinions, actions and exaggerated emotions.
- Hopelessness and overwhelmed – portraying to have given up or given in to the situation, not seemed to have control of the situation, good and bad.
- Withdrawal and Isolation – staying aloof from the outside world, anxious and nervous, changes in self can cause fear and confusion.
- Poor self-care and risky behaviour – alcohol and drug abuse. Ignoring their health, hygiene, well-being. Could also be threatening to others due to their indulgence of illegal substances.
If you can recognise any of these changes and symptoms on somebody or even yourself, it is time to seek help.
There are many campaigns and programmes which are readily available in your country. Your local medical and general practitioners are there to give you all the information that you need to identify, diagnose and help you take the first steps for recovery.
These are just some forms of help that you or your loved one could be receiving right now to tackle Mental Health illness:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) a concept which is based on your thoughts and mind, emotional and physical energy and senses, that works with the positives that could help you keep negative and destructive behaviour from your life.
You get to share and talk about your troubles, worries, problems. Someone who will listen to your fears and help you rediscover and improve.
Prescribed medications for certain disorders such as:
Antidepressants – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia.
Anti-anxiety – Benzodiazepines for general and social anxieties, panic attacks.
Antipsychotics – Antipsychotic pills prescribed to treat Schizophrenia and Bipolar.
Neurosurgery for Mental Disorder ( NMD ) – a type of brain surgery which is only used in extremely rare cases where the small area of the brain tissue contributing to the mental disorder is destroyed.
There are solutions and cures for every problems and illness. But we can together prevent major damages that are caused by lack of knowledge to these issues by simply educating yourself and using these to get the help we need.
Together we can create awareness of the importance of Mental Health.