What is Mental Health?
In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.
Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. But if you go through a period of poor mental health you might find the ways you’re frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with. This can feel just as bad as a physical illness, or even worse.
Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
Types of Mental Health Problems
We all feel angry at times – it’s part of being human. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, which we might experience if we feel:
- invalidated or unfairly treated
It isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ emotion; in fact it can sometimes be useful. For example, feeling angry about something can:
- help us identify problems or things that are hurting us
- motivate us to create change, achieve our goals and move on
- help us stay safe and defend ourselves in dangerous situations by giving us a burst of energy as part of our fight or flight system
Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that you experience during particular seasons or times of year. Depression is a low mood that lasts for a long time, and affects your everyday life.
If you have SAD, you’ll experience depression during some seasons in particular, or because of certain types of weather.
Having a baby is a big life event, and it’s natural to experience a range of emotions and reactions during and after your pregnancy. But if they start to have a big impact on how you live your life, you might be experiencing a mental health problem.
Around one in five women will experience a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth. This might be a new mental health problem or another episode of a mental health problem you’ve experienced before. These are known as perinatal mental health problems.
Anxiety is what we feel when we are worried, tense or afraid – particularly about things that are about to happen, or which we think could happen in the future. Anxiety is a natural human response when we perceive that we are under threat. It can be experienced through our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations.
We all know what it’s like to feel stressed, but it’s not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. When we say things like “this is stressful” or “I’m stressed”, we might be talking about:
- Situations or events that put pressure on us – for example, times where we have lots to do and think about, or don’t have much control over what happens.
- Our reaction to being placed under pressure – the feelings we get when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to cope with.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as going outside) or object (such as spiders), even when there is no danger.
For example, you may know that it is safe to be out on a balcony in a high-rise block, but feel terrified to go out on it or even enjoy the view from behind the windows inside the building. Likewise, you may know that a spider isn’t poisonous or that it won’t bite you, but this still doesn’t reduce your anxiety. Someone with a phobia may even feel this extreme anxiety just by thinking or talking about the particular situation or object.
Suicide is the act of intentionally taking your own life.
Suicidal feelings can range from being preoccupied by abstract thoughts about ending your life, or feeling that people would be better off without you, to thinking about methods of suicide, or making clear plans to take your own life.
If you are feeling suicidal, you might be scared or confused by these feelings. But you are not alone. Many people think about suicide at some point in their lifetime.
An eating problem is any relationship with food that you find difficult.
Food plays an important part in our lives and most of us will spend time thinking about what we eat. Sometimes we may try to eat more healthily, have cravings, eat more than usual or lose our appetite. Changing your eating habits every now and again is normal.
But if food and eating feels like it’s taking over your life then it may become a problem.
Lots of people think that if you have an eating problem you will be over- or underweight, and that being a certain weight is always associated with a specific eating problem. This is a myth. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or weight, can be affected by eating problems.
Pakistan currently has a very low ratio of mental health care providers in addition to a low awareness of mental health conditions and their treatment. Our program seeks to implement informational and practical workshops in educational institutions as well as workplace environments that cover the basics of common mental health conditions including stress, anxiety, and depression. These workshops have been devised by American board certified psychiatrist and seeks to teach individuals the importance of mental well-being in overall health and to identify possible issues that prevent them from being productive and reaching their full potential. The workshops will also cover how to address these issues through basic self help exercises rooted in integrative medicine and holistic health. Additionally, they seek to address improved access to mental health care and treatment by identifying resources that individuals may consult for further help in achieving mental well-being.