5 things you might not know about mental health

5 October 2020 at 14:25 · 3 min read

A building in red and a poster saying how are you really feeling

Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being and these aspects contribute to how we function around others, tackle stress, and make our choices on an everyday basis.

Throughout our lives, many of us will experience mental health problems which can have an effect on our thoughts, behaviour, and mood. These problems are something that can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, or economic and social status. Here are a couple of things you might not be aware of in regards to your mental health:

1. Eco-Anxiety

Climate change is considered to be a huge threat to the world. The term Eco-Anxiety is used to describe how many people feel helpless and anxious in the face of the environment's ill-fated and irreversible condition. A common thought pattern within Eco-Anxiety is to fear for oneself, children, and later generations. A person might go to sleep thinking “How can I help turn around the state of the planet? There is only so much I can do, I feel so powerless about it all.”

2. Correlation between social status and the development of mental disorders

If a society is unequal, it is more likely that there are more widespread health challenges like chronic diseases, self-isolation, or increased levels of violence and lower life expectancy. Part of this can be explained down to the availability of mental health services. Availability is very dependent on a country's economic development. The number of untreated mental health disorders is typically far greater in low-income countries, compared to untreated mental disorders in high-income countries.

3. It is not a personality weakness or character flaw

The assumption that people who suffer from a mental health problem can just ‘snap out of it’ is false. Mental health problems have little correlation with being lazy or weak, many people actually need treatment or help for them to improve their health condition. Factors which can be linked to mental health problems are, for example:

  • Past experiences in life, like trauma, or a history of abuse.
  • Biological factors, including genetics, physical illness, injury and brain chemistry.
  • History of mental health problems in the family.
  • Certain thoughts and behaviour patterns.

4. Learning new skills

Setting oneself to the task of learning new skills is positive for mental health. Whether you try out a new responsibility at work through taking a new course or try learning a new language, it can have several positive effects. Some of them include:

  • Improving your connection with others.
  • Creating a sense of purpose.
  • Boosting self-confidence and increasing self-esteem.

5. Differences between genders

Gender is found to be a critical determinant of mental health and mental illness. The differences between genders are particularly visible in common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Unipolar depression is not only twice as common but also more persistent in women compared to men. Another common disorder, namely the prevalence of alcohol dependence, is twice as high for men. In developed countries, results show that 1 in 5 men and 1 in 12 women suffer from alcohol dependence throughout life.


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