Today 10th October every year is celebrated as World Mental Health Day. The theme of this year 2017 is titled of this post: Mental Health in the Workplace
Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. Some mental health problems are described using words that are in everyday use, for example ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’. This can make them seem easier to understand, but can also mean people underestimate how serious they can be.
However, despite these challenges, it is possible to recover from a mental health problem and live a productive and fulfilling life. It is important to remember that, if you have a mental health problem, it is not a sign of weakness.
A mental health problem feels just as bad, or worse, than any other illness – only you cannot see it. Although mental health problems are very common – affecting around one in four people in Britain – there is still stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems, as well as many myths about what different diagnoses mean.
There are also a lot of different ideas about the way mental health problems are diagnosed, what causes them and which treatments are most effective.
Then, what is Mental Health? The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined mental health as a “state of well-being in which e very 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.”
“Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience that enables us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment, and sadness. It is a positive sense of well-being and an underlying belief in our own and other’s self-worth.” (Health Education Authority, UK, 1997)
What causes mental health problems? According to Mind for Better Mental Health Journal (2014) : Understanding Mental Health Problem Journal , mental health problems can have a wide range of causes. In most cases, no one is sure precisely what the cause of a particular problem is. We can often point to things that trigger a period of poor mental health but some people tend to be more deeply affected by these things than others.
The following factors could potentially trigger a period of poor mental health:
- childhood abuse, trauma, violence or neglect
- social isolation, loneliness or discrimination
- the death of someone close to you • stress
- homelessness or poor housing • social disadvantage, poverty or debt • unemployment
- caring for a family member or friend • a long-term physical health condition
- significant trauma as an adult, such as military combat, being involved in a serious accident or being the victim of a violent crime
- physical causes – for example, a head injury or a condition such as epilepsy can have an impact on behaviour and mood (it is important to rule out causes such as this before seeking further treatment for a mental health problem)
- genetic factors – there are genes that cause physical illnesses, so there may be genes that play a role in the development of mental health problems.
Mental health problems refer to the more common struggles and adjustment difficulties that affect everybody from time to time. These problems tend to happen when people are going through difficult times in life, such as a relationship ending, the death of some- one close, conflict in relations with family or friends, or stresses at home, school or work. Feeling stressed or having the blues is a normal response to the psychological or social challenges most people encounter at some time or another. Mental health problems are usually short-term reactions to a particular stressor, such as a loss, painful event, or illness. (Mental Illness Foundation, 2003).
To be continue…
Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management