Mental or cognitive health is a complex topic and entails numerous fields and sub-fields. Excellent examples include psychology and psychiatry. Psychology seeks to study behavior and general human life, while psychiatry is more concerned with mental disorders, their diagnosis, and treatment. Mental health is very much the elephant in the room all over the world. It is something that we all have to study and learn about to help ourselves or those around us. Mental health is crucial to how well all of us can lead our lives. The human body is very much dependent on mental health to ensure all-round wellness. Mental health is not only a significant component of life but also a very sensitive one.
What We’ll Discuss On This Article:
- Mental Health
- A Healthy Mind
- Social Issues
- Trauma and Injury
- Human Behavior
- Seeking Help
- Mitigating Mental Illness
A Healthy Mind
Mental health is a huge part of health and wellness. As a way to be healthy, the body needs to have a healthy mind and one that can integrate, direct all bodily functions. The mind is very much the core of physiology for human beings and is very much the nerve center of the human operation. As living organisms, we respond to stimuli, and as a result, the stimuli that affect us or our surroundings are very crucial. Our brains are like electromagnets that need an electrical field to function and to produce energy. It means that particular conditions need to be there to allow the human brain to function and develop as is expected. Mental development starts in childhood, and the brain reaches full development around twenty-five years of age.
In more ways than we are aware, we can be likened to computers. We are information processors in that we take in information, process it, and arrange it into knowledge and then produce reactions to the information processed. Reactions can also be as a result of interpretations of the gathered or processed information. Mental health disorders are, in this light, an error in the functionality of the brain ‘computer’ due to incorrect or unwanted information, the propagation of numerous messages at once or confusion, interference, or hardware problems, which would translate to a problem with physiology. The technology of our brains is very dependent on how well we protect our physical and mental health and the natural and man-made environment. We should also always ensure that our minds interact with technology in a healthy manner and in a way that enriches our lives and mental wellbeing. It could include ensuring that we interact healthily with social media as a way to prevent social media effects.
Mental health has continually become stigmatized, and mental illness is frowned upon often without an intricate understanding of what its causes are, how it can get prevented, and how it can get treated. Mental problems and disorders are very much illnesses like all other illnesses. They need to be dealt with objectively and without making the situation even more strenuous by stigmatizing those who are mentally ill. As we saw in defeating addiction, mental illness is also something that can be overcome and defeated. A lot of mental illnesses emanate from drug abuse and physical harm or abuse and can get prevented by preventing such abuse. Similar to computers, when there is unwarranted or unwanted interference, the brain is unable to function as should be, and the individual can be said to be mentally ill.
Mental illness remains a huge problem worldwide. The various ways that it has become dealt with have led to increased stigmatization and ineffective interventions. It is especially the case here in Africa as mental health is somewhat taboo. When an individual becomes mentally ill, they get quickly submitted to a mental health institution where they will be locked up for an indefinite period and medicated. You can imagine if one broke a leg, for instance, and they had to be taken to a facility and locked up. It is preposterous. We have often heard that we only use a percentage of the potential of our minds. It means that the brain is a very complex organ, and above everything should get protected effectively. Such protection entails understanding and ensuring that those who are mentally ill get treated as should be, with consideration and facilitation of their human rights and dignity.
Social problems also cause mental illness, and these can be anything from physical or emotional abuse, a rough childhood, occurrences such as incidents, accidents, a loss of a limb or disability, and even the loss of a loved one. Mental illness in this light is very much a negative reaction of the human psyche to a negative occurrence. You can imagine the magnitude and effect an event could have on an individual to lead them to suffer a mental disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. For those in the army, for instance, the experience can be very tough and would probably scar the individual for life. On the other hand, when a mental disorder is a reaction to an event in life, the individual can overcome mental illness when they acquire the needed help from a professional. Such assistance may include counseling and psychotherapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, CBT. There is an argument for conscription into the military or at least a youth service, such as the National Youth Service, NYS, as it would ensure that individuals get trained to maintain and increase their mental acuity, strength, and perseverance.
Expectations of oneself or others and disappointment may also lead an individual into a slippery slope when it comes to mental illness. To mitigate such an occurrence, it is upon the individual to fortify their psyche. A lot of what we expect of others becomes inflated, and when it comes to issues love and relationships, there is nothing that is guaranteed. As such, one should be their own strength and should first and foremost rely on themselves. Self-care should always come first, and anything else should be extraneous. An individual’s mental constitution is their own, and the mind is very much a personal thing. It means that everyone should ensure that they have their own power for themselves and not allow others to interfere with the various ways one understands or appreciates themselves.
People can say and do very hurtful things, and it is upon the individual to disregard any negative utterances or actions that do not build on their self-esteem, self-love, or confidence. Everyone should ensure they protect themselves, be situationally aware, and ensure personal security. A lot of the issues with mental illness emanate from people allowing others to get too close or by expecting too much of others. Despite relationships, one should always have the physical and psychological freedom to be by themselves without relying on others, as part of their independence. As a result, when life deals the individual a broken relationship or loss, then they can effectively overcome and move on with their lives.
The mind is also like a computer in that its output is always a result of the input. As such, the principle of GIGO, garbage in, garbage out, applies. In this sense, partaking in drugs or alcohol irresponsibly is almost a definite path to mental illness and disorders. There is also a visual dimension to mental input, and it means that one should always stay away from any visually harmful material. Such material may interfere with the individual’s interpretations of what is right or wrong. Those in the military, for instance, see things that they cannot unsee, and this reflects in the various mental disorders and illnesses that servicemen and women face. The brain should also be physically protected, and those who play sports have suffered numerous mental disorders due to physical brain trauma.
A good example is traumatic brain injury, where brain function can be affected by physical injury to the head or the brain. It can be anything from hitting the head, especially when playing a sport, or being hit by an explosion as in the army, or falling and suffering physical head trauma. In this light, everyone should always ensure that they protect their head and body to ensure safety. Head protection can be done using helmets for those in the army or playing sports and even for those who cycle or ride motorcycles. Head protection could be the difference between suffering a small concussion and going down with traumatic brain injury, TBI.
The brain is a learning organ, and our attitudes or approaches in life can affect how and what we teach our minds. By ensuring positivity and a positive attitude, we allow the brain to learn this and to express said positivity in everything we do, and one can behave positively. A negative outlook, on the other hand, could lead to negative behaviors and negative thinking. Inhibitions are a considerable part of brain control and the various lines we draw between good and evil. As such, protecting one’s inhibitions is vital. It means that partaking in drugs or alcohol or anything that reduces inhibitions could distort how well- behaved the individual is. That is why drunk individuals will behave carelessly and why drug abuse has become correlated to crime and malicious behavior.
The brain is also an organic organ and should only interact with the chemicals it produces, such as dopamine, naturally and without any interference. When one partakes in substances that trigger such chemicals unnaturally, then there are disorders such as addiction and substance dependence. Again, the brain is an organ that learns and one that is very much an organ of habit. The brain learns what it perceives as good and enjoyable and what it perceives as bad and undesirable. Its processes should only happen naturally, and when these get interfered with, certain things or behaviors can become wrongly tied to pleasure or undesirability. For instance, one could become addicted to something that they would need to take to trigger a good feeling. It means that without it, they would have a hard time feeling good.
Maturity is a matter of perspective, and mature individuals are those who have either reached maturity age or exude it. Maturity is a component of experience and living and learning. Values and principles, on the other hand, should be learned from childhood and throughout one’s life and living. Religion and religiosity are perfect ways to learn values and principles and also to ensure spirituality. The body and the mind coalesce with spirituality to ensure the individual is whole and to ensure their wellbeing. Prayer is a huge part of spirituality, and everyone should pray and do it often. It is food for the soul, and no one should be walking around, not having the peace and contentment that comes with prayer.
Seeking help is crucial to how well one can deal with or cope with events or occurrences that may threaten their mental wellbeing. The good thing is that there are mental health helplines that are free and accessible. It increases the accessibility of counseling services and helps ensure that anyone with access to a phone can get the help they need. Seeking help is very, very important, and is very helpful in preventing occurrences such as suicide. Suicide is not the solution, and everyone should always have the assurance that God is with them. God is always with us and will always be there for us. God is the giver of life and is the only one who can take it. Anyone at risk of suicide should get assisted to seek help and to regain hope for life. Life is good and will only get better with time. It is also good to not only look at a short period, i.e., just the current situation.
We should always look at life from a broader perspective, such as in a decade or several decades. It means that one may be facing a difficult situation currently, but that does not mean that things will not get better. There is always hope, and we should always be our brother’s or sister’s keeper. For instance, the current pandemic may feel untenable, but when you look at it from a broader perspective, you realize that it is an exception and not the norm. COVID-19 was preceded by the HIV/AIDS pandemic that began in 1984, which is 34 years ago. You can imagine that it has been more than thirty years before another pandemic. As such, a global pandemic is not something that will likely happen more than several times in one’s lifetime. There is hope, therefore, that the situation will get better and will remain better.
Specialists in psychiatry will attest that one’s childhood is crucial and can affect their entire life. It means that we should always ensure that we care for our young and provide a positive and nurturing environment. As such, they can grow with a positive attitude and while treating each other with respect and love. A good and positive environment would also ensure that a child does well in school and even succeeds in life. On the other hand, a hostile environment and one of abuse or drug use can lead a child into crime, and also translate into them mistreating or abusing others. As such, developmental child care and developmental psychology are essential in ensuring that children grow into positive, happy, and good human beings. It also ensures that they also raise their children well and in a way that allows and encourages principles, values, a sense of community, and cohesion.
When children get raised in an abusive and traumatic environment, they are adversely affected and may end up having a lot of trust issues or becoming mentally ill. It may also lead to drug abuse and a life where their childhood is always weighing them down. Children should also be prepared and taught on the realities of life, such as loss, broken relationships, unexpected occurrences, and the like. They should also get taught on personal security, situational awareness, and mental, physical, ideological, and spiritual independence. A lot of the protests we see today against the strongman syndrome are an indication of a generation that is very independent and concerned with the plight of the whole community. There are better ways of conflict resolution, including peaceful protests, and violence is never the answer. It is very disheartening to see gun violence in American streets when the nation is seeking social justice.
Mental illness can get mitigated and prevented even before it occurs. Ensuring that one educates themselves and others on mental illness is crucial as a way of ensuring that, as a society, we take care of our own. We are all part of the human family, and it is our collective responsibility to care for those who are mentally ill. Mental illness treatment and interventions should also not be very concerned with institutionalization and overly medicating the patient. Interventions should touch on understanding mentally-ill individuals and how their lives can be impacted positively by therapy. Everyone should give therapy a chance even if they are mentally healthy, as it doesn’t hurt to talk about one’s issues. One should also have a support system and someone to talk to whenever they feel they are facing a problem that they may be unable to solve or deal with on theirown.
Seeking help is a sign of strength and is in no way an indication of weakness. We are all strong in our own ways. Those who have suffered mental illness can also be supported to regain their mental wellness, as mental illness is, in numerous instances, reversible. Even when it cannot get undone, the individual can get supported to lead a healthy life and one where their mental illness does not overly impact daily living and their work or relationships. Understanding cognitive disorders and cognition is also vital to how well we can be there for ourselves and others, as part of mental health. Our brains are our engines, and as in all cars, even classic cars, the engine is the most vital component. Take care of your mental health and assist others in whatever way possible to ensure and preserve their mental health. When we are all beacons of hope, the world will become mental illness free.