I am not sure what rings a bell for you when you hear the term mental health but what I know for sure is that we are not having enough conversation about this very contentious topic.
So, what is mental health? Let us try to demystify the “elephant in the room”. According to World Health Organization ” Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. The positive dimension of mental health is stressed in WHO’s definition of health as contained in its constitution: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Wikipedia defines it as” A level of psychological well-being or an absence of mental illness. It is the “psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment”. From the perspective of positive psychology or holism, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.”
Cause of mental health illnesses
- Genetic factors. This could be passed on from a close family member
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Environment. This could be a negative environment such as an abusive childhood
- Trauma and stress. This can be caused by different factors such as financial constraints
- Personality factors such as having low self-esteem.
#10 Facts on Mental Health by WHO
#1 About 20% of children and teenagers around the world have mental disorders or problems
#2 Mental disorders and substance use are the number one cause of disabilities in the world. 23% of deaths are as a result of this.
#3 Over 800,00 people commit suicide each year and this is as a result of mental disorders
#4 War and other disasters affect mental health in large. The rate doubles at this time.
#5 Mental disorders increase an individuals risk for other diseases such as Diabetes
#6 Stigma and discrimination are core factors that hinder individuals from getting healthcare
#7 Human rights violations of affected persons are often reported in many countries
#8 The distribution of skilled human capital for mental health is not well distributed on a global scale.
#9. There are 5 key barriers to increasing mental health services:
The absence of Mental health in Public health agenda
Organization of services
Lack of integration in primary care
Inadequate skilled human capital
Lack of Public mental health leadership
#10 Inadequate resources to increase services related to mental health.
I hope we now have a clue what mental health is about. I recently attended #UpgradePoetry which is a poetry event held in Nakuru once a month. The theme of the event was #Mental health and the guest speaker was #Rixpoet. If you have not heard of him, he is a mental health advocate and a poet. He shared his story with the audience along with Jasmine another speaker.
My takeaway from this very informative session was that we needed to have conversations about mental health often and above all, be a pillar to those who are going through these issues.
Are we listening to those close to us enough to know that they are going through tough times? Or do we brush them off and see these issues as a “kawaida thing”?
Let us keep the conversation going in the comment section.
Until next time