Monday, April 18, 2011

Excerpts on “What is Mental Health”

In the past, scientists have defined health simply as "an absence of disease or illness." However, in 1948, when the (WHO) was founded, the following definition of health was established: "A complete state of physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." Mental health, as defined by the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, "refers to the successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity." On the other end of the continuum is mental illness, a term that "refers to all mental disorders.

While there is no official definition of mental or emotional health, these terms generally refer to our thoughts, feelings and actions, particularly when faced with life's challenges and stressors. Throughout our lives, mental health is the foundation of our thinking and communication skills, learning, emotional growth, resilience and self-esteem.

Environmental Factors: People are affected by broad social and cultural factors as well as by unique factors in their personal environments. Early experiences, unique to individuals, such as a lack of loving parents, violent or traumatic events, or rejection by childhood peers can negatively impact mental health. Current stressors such as relationship difficulties, the loss of a job, the birth of a child, a move, or prolonged problems at work can also be important environmental factors.

Cultural factors such as racism, discrimination, poverty and violence also may contribute to the causes of mental illness. Poverty is especially significant: according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, people in the lowest socio-economic status are two to three times more likely than those in the highest strata to have a mental illness.

1 comment:

  1. We shouldn't only focus on taking care of our physical health. We should be aware of our mental health as well. Thanks a lot for sharing that information.

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