World Mental health day is observed on 10th October – What is mental health and why is it important?

Mental health today is a very important part of an individual’s existence. When an individual realises his or her own strength and ability to handle the stress and challenges posed in their day to day life to generate a productive output that can be attributed to their degree of well-being or mental health.

According to WHO (World Health Organisation) mental health is not just the absence of disabilities or mental disorders but goes much beyond that. A person with good mental health experiences an on-going state of happiness, well-being, personal and professional productivity. The preservation and restoration of mental health is crucial to an individual’s existence.

With the on-going global pandemic, mental health has assumed a very deep significance since the lives of people are impacted tremendously by various factors that heighten the stress and challenges in their lives.

A recent study reveals that nearly one billion people globally have a mental disorder, ranging from low to severe. Those with severe mental disorders die an early death, nearly 10 – 20 years earlier than the rest of the population. An alarming 800000 people every year die due to death by suicide. This is seen to be common in young people in the age group of 15 – 29 years and reveals a rate of nearly 1 person every 40 seconds.

There are various factors that affect the mental health of an individual ranging from social, biological and economic. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to mental health right from childhood, to understand the way in which an individual thinks feels and acts. Conditions related to anxiety, stress and poor physical health can lead to deteriorating mental health of an individual.

Treatment and coping with mental health issues may vary from person to person depending on the severity of the cause and the stage. It broadly covers the following:  consultations with psychiatrists, psychotherapy sessions, specific medication, and so on. Other effective ways include implementing lifestyle changes, practicing yoga and meditation, taking the help of support groups which include – peer groups, friends and family.

Mental health is a very important part of an individual’s daily existence and one must pay good attention to it to lead a healthy and productive life.

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