The Key Question: What is Mental Health?

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The Key Question: What is Mental Health?

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) DEFINES MENTAL HEALTH AS A STATE OF WELL-BEING IN WHICH EVERY INDIVIDUAL REALIZES HIS OR HER OWN POTENTIAL, CAN COPE WITH THE NORMAL STRESSES OF LIFE, CAN WORK PRODUCTIVELY AND FRUITFULLY, AND IS ABLE TO MAKE A CONTRIBUTION TO HER OR HIS COMMUNITY.

WHO provides us with a definition, but do we really know what that means?
Mental health is a fundamental ingredient for a fulfilling life and as such it needs to be preserved as much as ones physical health. Mental health is so much more than merely the absence of mental disorders; it’s the result of the combination of different factors. These factors; socio-economic, biological and environmental shape the way we feel and impact our well being. Mental health diseases can mean a variety of things to different people but the most common symptoms are heightened stress and anxiety, a poor relationship with others and oneself, and a general inability to enjoy life.

How serious are mental health issues right now?

By 2020, WHO predicts that depression will be the second largest global disease. However, many countries still struggle to dedicate resources to the prevention of mental health diseases. Without vaccinations or medications as a cure it’s a hard battle for governments to tackle. The first step to winning this fight is raising awareness on the issue; followed by the provision of public services, which may include experts to talk to, appropriate medications and general support.

What many people don’t know is that our own individual mental health can be preserved on a daily basis. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are all beneficial ways to start taking care of our mind and bodies. These activities can provide tools to teach us how to cope with the challenges life throws at us and how to take time for ourselves.
The limitations faced by mental health challenges and the scary predictions for the future are a further incentive to bring the prevention and cure of mental health diseases to the forefront of global policies makers’ agendas.

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