What You Know About Mental Health
If you have a psychiatric illness, or someone you love does, you know it’s awkward to talk about. Mental and physical health are two vital strands of life that are closely interwoven and deeply interdependent. Advances in neuroscience and behavioural medicine have shown that, like many physical illnesses, mental and behavioural disorders are the result of a complex interaction between biological, psychological and social factors. Scientific evidence from the field of behavioural medicine has demonstrated a fundamental connection between mental and physical health – for instance, that depression predicts the occurrence of heart disease.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Approximately 7.3% of the global burden of disease has been attributed to mental and behavioural disorders. Most of this burden is related to unipolar depressive disorders and other mental health conditions including anxiety, psychosis and substance use. Currently, approximately 450 million people suffer from such conditions, and it is projected that one in four individuals in the world will be affected by mental health conditions, at some point in their lifetimes.Mental health conditions are amongst the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide . Globally, approximately 20% of the adults have mental health conditions and low and middle-income countries have only one psychiatrist for every 1 to 4 million people. Individuals with major depressive disorders and schizophrenia had 40 to 60% greater chance of dying prematurely than the general population.
The importance of health literacy on physical health is widely acknowledged in the world. However, literacy about mental Health conditions has been neglected in both developed and developing countries. The common myths in developing and developed countries are that the mental health conditions are not curable, caused by personal weakness, and that people with mental health conditions are usually violent or unstable.
There are plenty of recommendations that we apply to overcome mental health conditions e,g. Provide treatment in primary care, make psychotropic drugs available, involve communities, families and consumers, establish national policies, programmes and legislation and so on. But here I elaborate two main policies which are:-
1. EDUCATE THE PUBLIC. Public education and awareness campaigns on mental health should be launched in all countries. The main goal is to reduce barriers to treatment and care by increasing awareness of the frequency of mental disorders, their treatability, the recovery process and the human rights of people with mental disorders. The care choices available and their benefits should be widely disseminated so that responses from the general population, professionals, media, policy-makers and politicians reflect the best available knowledge. This is already a priority for a number of countries, and national and international organizations.
2. DEVELOP HUMAN RESOURCES. Most developing countries need to increase and improve training of mental health professionals, who will provide specialized care as well as support the primary health care programmes. Most developing countries lack an adequate number of such specialists to staff mental health services. Once trained, these professionals should be encouraged to remain in their country in positions that make the best use of their skills. This human resource development is especially necessary for countries with few resources at present.