BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Mental Health



The World Health Organization defines mental health as the condition of well-being in which individuals realize their full potential, deal effectively with normal levels of life stresses, work productively, and contribute to their community. Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being which affects our thoughts, feelings and actions. It also determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. As a consequence, mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood, mental health is influenced by Biological factors such as genes or brain chemistry, Life experiences such as trauma or abuse and Family history of mental health problems. Mental health problems can affect anyone, irrespective of age, gender or social class.

Mental health involves the general mental wellbeing of an individual, not just the absence of mental illness diagnoses. Considering this, its scope involves:

  • Chronic disabling physical conditions
  • Psychosomatic conditions
  • Mental illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, Anxiety eating and sleep disorders
  • Neurodegenerative disorders

There are several disturbing issues around mental health problems that require attention such as distribution and poor health coverage, labelling, stigmatization and institutionalization. Firstly, the distribution is quite disproportionate as is evidenced by the fact that people with poor socioeconomic conditions such as low income earners and minority groups tend to have more cases of mental health problems. A lot of psychiatry is about diagnoses but little about treatment with individuals being labelled to a particular group and stigmatized. It is not uncommon for employers to get rid of mentally ill workers; worse still, they find it difficult to get a job even after treatment and may end up abused and neglected.. Most primary health centres are unequipped and unprepared to tackle mental health problems and resolve to institutionalization which worsens the situation. Mental health problems are perhaps the oldest significant public health burden with relatively ineffective solutions that are devised due to the ideologies of time- religion for the old times, institutionalization for the late 19th and 20th centuries, 21st century medicalization of diseases and current holistic approaches.

Generally, good lifestyle habits such as eating healthy diet, physical activity, not only translate into good mental well-being but also give individuals a sense of control over their health. Support groups and other forms of psychotherapy are great ways of dealing with some problems. Also, there is increasing involvement of alternative approaches like musical therapy, expressive arts, yoga and other forms of physical therapy in mental health treatment. Indeed, even little things like taking a walk or meditation in this globalized, busy and fast paced 21st century world punctuated with activities can benefit ones mental well-being.

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