Mental health is a critical aspect of our wellbeing, influencing how we think, feel and interact with the world. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental illnesses are conditions that have a prolonged negative impact on a person's mood, often disrupting their cognition and emotion regulation. From anxiety and mood disorders to trauma–related conditions and personality disorders, the list is quite long.
Various factors contribute to mental health problems. For many individuals, it is a combination of these factors. Childhood abuse, trauma, discrimination, social isolation, or experiencing significant life stressors can contribute to a period of poor mental health. It is crucial to recognise that different people may be affected by these factors to varying degrees.
If left untreated, mental health conditions can lead to severe consequences for individuals and society at large, including disability, substance abuse, unemployment, homelessness, and even suicide. Mental and physical health go hand in hand. Conditions like depression increase the risk of long-lasting physical health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
But here’s the good news, there are simple things you can do to take care of your mental health. Talk to someone about how you feel, get a good night's sleep, eat healthy, move your body, and stay connected with family and friends. Doing nice things for others and volunteering can help too. And don’t forget, praying and having a strong connection with God can bring comfort and peace.