Mental Health Report
Despite pockets of progress, the world remains in a mental health crisis. A staggering one billion people, one in every eight adults and adolescents worldwide, have a mental disorder.
This year, WHO published the World Mental Health Report to call for action and remind all of the huge personal and societal impact of mental illnesses. It lays out the priorities that governments, academics and other stakeholders must take to support our mental health and allow populations to thrive.
What is mental health?
Mental health is a state of emotional and social well-being that involves the ability to cope with everyday stressors and challenges. It is influenced by genetics, how your brain works, how you grew up, your environment and your social group.
Studies suggest that negative childhood experiences such as child abuse, parental loss or separation, and adverse medical conditions in the family can increase your risk for developing a mental illness. Other factors include environmental exposures before birth such as toxins, alcohol or drugs that can affect brain chemistry and lead to depression and other mental disorders.
Many people with mental health issues find that they can get better with help from primary care clinicians or mental health professionals. Treatment may involve psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication, and other therapies. Self-help and support groups can also be helpful for some people. The goal is to reduce symptoms and promote recovery and well-being. These treatments can be effective for mild to severe mental illnesses.
What are the signs of mental health problems?
There are many signs that a person is suffering from mental health problems. Some are subtle, while others can be more obvious.
Changes in eating habits, sleeping patterns or withdrawing from social activities could all be warning signs that someone is struggling with their mental health.
Mood changes can include sadness, anxiety and depression. They can be sudden and extreme, or they can last for a long time.
These feelings and moods are natural, but when they persist and interfere with everyday life, they could be a sign of a mental health problem.
People with mental illnesses often feel ashamed or afraid of their condition, so they may hide it until it gets worse. But you can help them get the help they need by talking with them about their concerns and supporting them through it.
What are the symptoms of mental health problems?
When someone develops a mental health problem, they may experience changes in their emotions, thoughts and behavior. These changes can be mild or severe, and they often get worse over time.
A person may also feel irritable or angry and have difficulty sleeping, concentrating or feeling relaxed. If you or a loved one has these feelings and behaviors on a regular basis, it could be a sign of a mental health problem.
People who have mental health problems can also experience physical symptoms, such as weight loss and fatigue. Depression is a common disorder that causes periods of lowered mood and reduced energy.
Bipolar disorder is another type of mood disorder that involves cycles of high and low feelings accompanied by a lack of interest in life and periods of lethargy. It can also include periods of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions.
What are the treatments for mental health problems?
Mental health conditions and disorders can be very debilitating. They can also have a big impact on a person’s quality of life, family and social relationships.
The good news is that there are effective treatments available to help people with mental illness. They may involve medications, psychotherapy or a combination of both.
Some people need to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital, where they receive intensive care and counseling, group discussions, and activities with other patients. This can be for severe mental illness or because they are in danger of hurting themselves or others.
Medications are used for mental disorders like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. They include antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.