Health doesn’t only deal with not having any physically debilitating illness— it also means having a stable mental state. Mental health is described as a state of having an emotional well-being, free of any mental disorder. Less technically, mental health is a person’s ability to appreciate life, cope with problems, cope with anguish in a healthy way and the ability to achieve balance between life’s pressures and challenges and his or her own psyche.
Some of the key components to having good mental health are:
· Self-esteem. People who have a healthy perception of their self-worth are less likely to have mental problems than those who have a problem in this aspect. Self-esteem is best built up during a person’s formative years (while still young), so upbringing is very important.
· Relationships. If a person has a good support group and if he has formed healthy relationships, the less likely he is to have any mental problems. Relationships allow a person to direct emotional strain to other people by talking and counseling, and just the general feeling of having someone covering their backs.
· Anger management. Anger is a natural emotion—it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference. People will have different ways of dealing with anger, some people may shout, some people may opt for calm conversation, while some people will choose to keep their emotions bottled up. If anger is already straining relationships, i.e. violent outbursts of anger, or clamming up has led to unresolved issues, the help of a mental health professional or counselor might be needed.
It is hard to ask people to self-assess whether they have mental problems or not, because people with mental problems will have a hard time distinguishing between reality and tricks being played by the mind. A person who has mental problems will usually need the help of people close to him, relying on them to sound the alarm.
Some of the more severe mental problems that a person can have include schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple personality disorder, or bipolar disorder. At the first sign of these disorders, the affected individual should be taken in for a consultation with a health care provider.
However there are some mental health issues that are more stealthy, and hard to categorize as a problem because they mimic our natural emotions. Paranoia, anxiety disorder and severe depression belong in this category. Paranoia can be a natural reaction, but when a person feels this regularly without any realistic basis, this can hinder his normal daily function and is therefore a mental problem. Anxiety disorder is when a fear causes an irrational disruption in a person’s normal functioning. Severe depression is when a person gets so emotionally down that it is beginning to affect his relationships or work. In any of these cases, mental health counseling is needed to help get a person back on track.