BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Your Mental Health and You



Today, our discussion is about mental health- a very important topic in every society, yet often shied away from due to stigma. According to Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), mental health is a significant part of our overall health and includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It influences how we think, feel, act, handle stressful situations, relate to others, and make decisions.

Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. Here are some facts and statistics from World Health Organization that emphasize the impacts and implications of mental health:

  • About 20% of adolescents worldwide suffer mental health disorders or problems, usually beginning at the age of 14
  • Mental illnesses such as alcohol and substance use disorders are the leading cause of disability worldwide
  • Approximately 800,000 people die from suicide yearly, mostly due to mental disorders such as misuse of alcohol and drugs
  • Disasters impact mental health and psychosocial well-being given that rates of mental disorders tend to increase afterwards
  • Mental disorders are risk factors for other diseases and injuries
  • Stigmatization, isolation and discrimination of people faced by mental illnesses and their families prevent them from seeking help
  • Mentally ill people are sometimes violated and deprived their right as humans through physical restraint, seclusion and denial of basic needs and privacy
  • Financial and human resources are insufficient to meet the growing needs of mental healthcare

Mental health disorder or illness is used to describe a wide range of disorders that affect and influence the mind including mood, thoughts, comprehension, attitude and actions. Some common examples of mental health disorders include depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder, panic attack, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, personality disorders, psychosis, self-harm, suicide ideation, gambling and addictions. Mental health disorders are associated with stress, and the symptoms vary from mild to severe. Globally, similar types of disorders are reported across countries and cultures with neuropsychiatric disorders being the leading cause of disability in young people.

Despite the availability of effective treatments for mental disorders, it is wrongly believed that they are untreatable. People with mental disorders are also perceived to be difficult and dumb. However, these assumptions are false, unfair and uninformed and consequently lead to abuse, rejection, shame, fear and isolation and prevent people from seeking the help and support they need.

Sadly, some regions of the world still lack the required resources for mental health. For instance; low-income countries have 0.05 psychiatrists and 0.42 nurses per 100 000 people which translate to 170 times and 70 times less than what is obtainable in high-income countries. Dearth of qualified and adequate human resources for mental health such as psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and social workers constitute major barriers to the availability and provision of treatment and care in low- and middle-income countries. Other barriers include non-prioritization of mental health in the public health agenda, lack of funding, decentralization of mental health services, lack of integration within primary care and lack of public mental health leadership.

In conclusion, mental illnesses like most illnesses are preventable and treatable. Depending on your location or region, resources, help and support are available and accessible online and onsite, so, don’t shy away from getting help.

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