Mental health is as important as physical health. Still, millions of Americans suffer with various types of mental illness and mental health problems, such as social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction to drugs and alcohol, and personality disorders. Mental illness and psychological disorders have good treatment options with medications, psychotherapy, or other treatments.
Mental health concerns everyone. It affects our ability to cope with
and manage change, life events and transitions such as bereavement or
retirement. All human beings have mental health needs, no matter what
the state of their psyche. This book is written specifically for those
who want to have an introduction to mental health, mental illness and
mental health problems. It is written in simple language from a person
that is curious about the subject and wants to share with you his
My curiosity about what makes certain people successful, drove me into
the road of mental health. I am not an expert in the subject of mental
illness ad treatments, thus before any actions to self-treat or
self-diagnose your mental health status you should consult with a
qualified physician who can properly diagnose and treat any potential
mental illnesses. What became clear to me is that there is more to good
health than just a physically healthy body: a healthy person should
also have a healthy mind. A person with a healthy mind should be able
to think clearly, should be able to solve the various problems faced in
life, should enjoy good relations with friends, colleagues at work and
family, and should feel spiritually at ease and bring happiness to
others in the community.
Why should you be
concerned about mental illness?
As mentioned earlier, our mental health affect how we perceive many
aspects of our lives. It is an integral part of our whole health. There
are many reasons why you need to be concerned about mental illnesses.:
• Because they affect us all. It is estimated that one in five of all
adults will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.
• Because they are a major public health burden. Studies from nearly
every corner of the world show that as much as 40% of all adults
attending general health care services are suffering from some kind of
• Because they are very disabling. Even though the popular belief is
that mental illnesses are less serious than physical illness, they do
in fact produce severe disability. They can also cause death, as a
result of suicide and accidents.
The World Health Report from the World Health Organization in 2001
found that four out of the ten most disabling conditions in the world
were mental illnesses. Depression was the most disabling disorder,
ahead of anemia, malaria and all other health problems.
• Because mental health services are very inadequate. Specialists spend
most of their time caring for people who suffer from “severe mental
disorders” (‘psychoses’). These are quite rare, but are also the very
diseases that the community associates with mental illness. Most people
with the much commoner types of mental health problems, such as
depression or alcohol problems, would not consult a mental health
• Because mental illness leads to stigma. Most people with a mental
health problem would never admit to it. Those with a mental illness are
often discriminated against by the community and even their own family.
• Because mental illness can be treated with simple, relatively
inexpensive methods. This is the good news! It is true that many mental
illnesses cannot be ‘cured’. However, many physical illnesses, such as
cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure and rheumatoid arthritis, are
also not curable. Yet, much can be done to improve the quality of life
of those who suffer these conditions and the same applies to mental
It is important to understand mental health so we can help ourselves
and our loved ones. The stigma often associated with the many forms of
mental illnesses is very real. For example, many people with bipolar
disorder or other mental illnesses are afraid to share their condition
with other people for fear of ridicule or judgment. The stigma is so
real in fact many will avoid telling friends or family of their mental
condition. Many people with bipolar disorder face stigma and discomfort
from well-meaning friends and family members that don’t really
understand bipolar disorder. It is common for patients with bipolar
disorder to feel misunderstood. Unfortunately even many health care
providers carry with them a biased attitude toward bipolar patients.
Many have a difficult time focusing on the real reason a person is in
their office. Instead they focus on the mental health issue.
Here are some small steps
patients and family members can take to help overcome the stigma
associated with mental illness:
* Always accept your condition for what it is.
* Never attempt to hide your condition for fear that others will be
un-accepting or misunderstand you.
* Educate friends and family. Direct them to a number of sites that
help explain bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. Great
reference sites include the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
* Confidently explain that one if five people suffers from some form of
mental illness or another.
* Remember that you are more an insider than you realize.
* One out of every five of your friends, acquaintances or associates
likely suffers from some form of mental illness. -Use support groups to
help bolster your self-confidence and promote your inner peace and