The Importance of Mental Health

“Maybe we all have darkness inside of us and some of us are better at dealing with it than others.” Said Jasmine Warga in her book “My Heart and Other Black Holes”. 

Now imagine how many people around you suffer from mental health issues and deal with it on their own. You never thought about that, did you? But even if you did, have you ever tried to help or change anything about it? One of the reasons this article has been written to help raise awareness and elucidate to people what mental health is, its importance, how to take care of it, and how it affects our everyday life

Some people might not know the meticulous meaning of mental health, so to briefly explain its concept to you, mental health is, as defined by the WHO (World Health Organization), “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stress of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” To sum up the definition, it is a “state of complete mental, physical, and social well-being, and not only the absence of disease.” Typically when the word health comes to our minds, we think about fevers, headaches, or other physical diseases. However, our physical health doesn’t matter if we don’t have good mental health. For example, a friend of mine didn’t suffer from any physical illnesses but had depression, which is a mental disorder, and couldn’t live his life like an ordinary person. Hence, the secret to a well-lived life is learning about health, and whether it’s mental or physical.

Health diverges into two parts which are physical health and mental health. Nevertheless, people often tend to overlook mental health’s importance and forget about its impact on their well-being. Mental health is so understated, in fact, according to a study made in 2017, it estimates that 792 million people lived with a mental health disorder. This is slightly more than one in ten people globally (10.7%), and not many people talk about it. To tell you something you might not have known before, physical acts such as eating healthy food, exercising enough, or sleeping well actually have a decent impact on your mental health and can improve it. Moreover, most people put more effort to secure the wellness of their physical health than their mental, which is somewhat wrong and should be avoided. Dumping your physical health for the sake of taking care of your mental health isn’t the right thing to do, you should try to stabilize both parts of health by taking care of them equally.

The following map demonstrates the percentages of people that suffer from mental disorders in the world in 2016.

There are a lot of reasons why people are mentally indisposed. On one hand, some people inherit it or are born with it. On the other hand, some people gain it within their life span because of the following reasons according to theories. To start off with, problems with family or friends can affect a person’s mental health badly. Talking from experience I suffered from depression for a short stretch of time, had suicidal thoughts. And I thought that life isn’t worth living anymore after I had to go through a break up from a person I stayed with for a year and a half, also the pressure from my parents to focus on my marks and school was hard to deal with. Moving on, addiction to drugs or alcohol is a factor that influences mental disorders, if truth be told it’s also a common one. Globally, just over 2% (156 million people) in the world were dependent on alcohol and illicit drugs. To add to what has been said before, in the USA and several countries in Eastern Europe 1 in 20 people were depending on illegitimate drug use. Whereas in Russia and other Eastern European countries alcoholism was more habitual.

The percentages of people that do drugs in the world is illustrated in the map shown above on the left. The number of alcohol liters drank in the USA, Russia, and Eastern Europe is exhibited in the graph above on the right.

As aforementioned, the secret to a well lived life is taking care of your mental health. There are a lot of things you can do to achieve that and get the most out of life. Let’s start with the first reason of many, which is talking about your feelings. This can help you feel better instantly, like getting a rock off your chest. However, numerous people think that it would look like they’re a weak person and for that reason, they keep things to themselves. It’s not an easy task to do but by trying it multiple times and giving it time, it can become your coping mechanism and might encourage others to do the same. Moreover, a quintessential step is taking a break, and by that, I mean changing your daily routine and verbatim taking a break. A slight change in your life such as exercising, going on a walk, relaxing more than usual all can alter your mental health positively. Taking a deep breath, trying new stuff such as yoga or meditation, and sleeping enough can also help. In fact, if you don’t get enough sleep you tolerate your mental health and you’ll lose your concentration. 

At last, mental health cannot stay trivialized like it is now and should be considered way more often. You should always check on the people around you and try your best to help them. 

As Mary-Frances Makichen said:

“You never know what someone is going through, so be kind.”

Source of Graphs and Data visualisations:

  • https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-with-mental-health-or-development-disorder
  • https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/share-with-drug-use-disorders
  • https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/total-alcohol-consumption-per-capita-litres-of-pure-alcohol

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