Mental Health Vs Mental Illness
Mental health has become such a huge topic in today’s world. Every day we find various reasons to talk about this topic. According to Aljazeera, one in four Nigerians is battling a mental illness. This is roughly 25% of the population in Nigeria. This is also in the region of 50 million people.
According to PineRest, mental illness affects 19% of adults, 46% of teenagers, and 13% of children each year. In Nigeria, not so many get treated for these illnesses related to mental health because there is not much education around the topic. Not up to half the people battling one mental health challenge or the other get the help that they need.
Often the reason why a lot don’t get the necessary help is because of the stigma around mental illnesses. Untreated mental illness can lead to more difficult situations that can contribute to poorer performance at work or school, higher medical expenses, and most especially increased risk of suicide.
What is Mental Health?
According to WHO :
- Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders.
- Mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.
- Mental health is determined by a range of socioeconomic, biological, and environmental factors.
There is no Health without Mental Health
WHO has defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. By this definition, you can see that mental health is very important and is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
Mental health is a condition of well-being, in which a person can function normally with the stresses of life, work productively, and can contribute to his or her immediate community.
Mental health affects your social, emotional, and psychological wellbeing. There is truly no health without mental health. Your mental health affects almost everything. It affects how you feel, how you think, the choices you make, and how you relate to others.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness is a physical health condition that involves changes in thinking, emotions, energy, behavior, or a combination of all these. These changes make coping with ordinary demands of life difficult. Mental illness comes with distress and problems functioning properly in social, work, or/and family activities.
Mental Illnesses include;
- Anxiety disorders: This is a mental illness that involves feelings of worry, anxiety or fears that are strong enough to impede one’s daily social and other life activities. Studies have shown that more than 18% of people worldwide struggle with some form of anxiety disorders.
- Depression: This one is a bit popular. It includes mood disorders such as clinical depression and bipolar depression. It is typified by loss of interest in social, work, or other life activities causing one to experience significant impairment. Depression influence’s one’s relationship with other people. It also makes people very sad. Depression can worsen conditions like arthritis, obesity, asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease.
Often time we experience sad events and it is very okay to feel bad about these events. But, if you’re feeling down, sad or hopeless regularly, you could be dealing with depression. It also noteworthy that men and women experience depression differently.
- Dementia: This is a group of thinking and social symptoms that interfere with one’s daily functioning. It includes loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Nigeria is said to have at least a hundred thousand (100,000) cases of dementia. Generally, Alzheimer’s is said to be the main cause of dementia. Dementia is not a single disease, it covers a wide range of diseases. It is often typified by abnormal brain changes. These changes can affect normal activities like thinking. It can be very severe and can affect one’s daily interaction with people and other things.
- Bipolar disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive disorder: These disorders are very rampant in today’s world. Bipolar disorder is often associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. It is typified by severe high moods such as high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality. It is also characterized by low moods such as low energy, low motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. These episodes can last for days and generally affect one’s entire life. Bipolar disorder can also lead one to think suicide. People with bipolar disorder can feel extremely sad and hopeless to the extent that they think of taking their own life.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder involves having excessive thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions). This disorder causes people to do something over and over again. Yes everyone has one or two habits they like. But people with OCD have thoughts or actions that may take up to an hour sometimes. These actions or thoughts are also not enjoyable and can interfere with one’s work-life or social life.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This illness happens to people who have experienced or witnessed some horrifying events that they can’t get over with. It is typified by failure to recover from these events. People often don’t recover from something that happened to them in the past and they can be triggered by witnessing such an event again.
Yes, we sometimes experience very bad events but with good self-care, we can get back to our normal selves. However if one still has difficulty coping with life years or months after a horrific event, he or she may be battling PTSD.
In conclusion, your mental health is so important and if you are battling any of these, you may need to seek help from a professional. If you know someone that is experiencing any of these illnesses you can also help them seek professional help. With a health insurance plan from healthstart, you can cover the costs of all your hospital visits and bills.