Mental health refers to the psychological and the emotional well-being of an individual. A mentally healthy person is one that is properly adjusted to the emotional and behavioural requirements of the necessary stresses and conflicts associated with daily living. In other words for a person to be deemed mentally healthy, he or she must be ‘sound’ in the cognitive and affective aspects of his mental state. It is also seen as the absence of any sort of mental disorder. A mentally healthy person operates at an acceptable level of behavioural and emotional adjustment in his activities and interactions. Some of the characteristics of a mentally healthy person is zest for life and a balanced approach to the various activities and areas of operation that constitute daily living. The World Health Organisation (W.H.O) has a standard definition for mental health which incorporates all of these aforementioned qualities. It must be mentioned, however, that there are various definitions of mental health and their precise statements are affected by cultural differences and competing professional theories about mental health.
Mental health vs Mental Disorders
The World Health Organisation’s report indicates that close to 50 percent of the total population of the world are victims of one form of mental disorder or the other. This is consequent upon the view of mental health as an unstable continuum rather than an absolute level of psychological wellness. Definitions of mental health are at best subjective. Some definitions are constructed in terms of happiness, others around the ability to function socially and contribute effectively to society. However, most definitions centre around three main things: the ability to live ‘fully’ and creatively, be emotionally and properly adjusted, and to be flexible in handling life’s inevitable challenges. When these three key aspects were used to analyse the global population, it was realized that almost half of the population suffered from one form of mental disorder or the other. There are numerous forms of mental disorders that devastates the world’s population. Mental disorders are placed in various classes such as anxiety disorders, depression, mood disorders, psychotic disorders personality disorders and bipolar disorder. Anxiety disorder is very common and it includes panic disorder, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Factors that could affect an Individual’s Mental Health
There are several factors that may cause a person to develop a mental disorder. One of these is genetic inheritance and family history. Life experiences such as stress or trauma as well as substance abuse could also destabilise an individual’s mental health.