Mental health is a wide range of emotions, thoughts, behaviours and feelings that may occur in an individual. It is an important aspect of our wellbeing and is often linked with the ability to enjoy life.
A person’s mental health is influenced by many factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices and environmental factors such as stress or family relationships. It also has an impact on how a person views their own self-esteem and their ability to cope with challenges.
Treatment for mental disorders varies. You and your healthcare provider will work on a treatment plan that is right for you. This can include psychotherapy, medicines and social support. You can also go to a psychiatric hospital if you have severe symptoms or are at risk of hurting yourself or others.
Psychotherapy (talk therapy) helps you understand your illness and change your thinking patterns. It can help you learn to manage your condition and stop harmful thoughts from getting in the way of living a healthy, happy life. Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists and some primary care physicians are experts in this form of treatment.
Cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy are examples of this type of therapy. Psychiatrists and psychologists use these types of therapy to help you understand the roots of your mental health and learn new ways of thinking about problems and situations.
Counselling and other types of talking therapies are used to help you deal with your feelings. You can meet with a therapist in a private room or in a group setting. These can help you talk about things that are bothering you, share your hopes and dreams and find coping strategies for difficult situations.
Other forms of therapy are sometimes used in combination with other types of treatment, such as psychoanalysis or systemic therapy. These can be especially helpful for people with complex or long-term conditions that have caused a lot of pain and distress in their lives.
Using prescribed medication can be useful in some cases, but they are not a cure and can have side effects. It is important to speak with your therapist about the benefits and risks of medications before you start taking them.
Physical well-being and self-care are also essential to mental health. You should have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. You should also have a good relationship with friends and family, have enough sleep, and avoid excessive drinking or drugs.
In some countries, legislation is in place that makes it easier for people to get treatment and receive care if they become mentally unwell. This includes the right to consent to treatment, as well as having a proxy consent, where someone else (such as a family member or legal guardian) can make decisions for you in the event that you become mentally incapacitated.
A lack of mental health services in the United States is a major problem and is one of the main reasons why many Americans do not seek help when they need it. In his first State of the Union address, President Biden outlined an ambitious plan to increase mental health services and make sure everyone has access to them.