When you think of mental health, you likely picture your overall emotional and psychological wellbeing. In a broad sense, mental health encompasses all aspects of your life, from your mood and attitude to your ability to function and interact in the world. The state of your mind influences every aspect of your life, from how you perceive the world around you to how you deal with stressful situations and other relationships. Ultimately, it influences how you make decisions, handle stress, and interact with others.
The WHO supports governments’ efforts to promote mental health by evaluating evidence, developing and disseminating evidence, and working with governments to incorporate proven strategies. For example, in 2013, WHO approved the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan (CMHAP), which commits all WHO Member States to improve mental health and contribute to the achievement of global targets. In order to make these goals a reality, governments must focus on promoting mental health, not just treating symptoms of mental disorders.
The state of mental health refers to an individual’s ability to cope with everyday challenges, realize their full potential, and contribute to their community. The goal of mental health is to promote emotional and psychological well-being, as these factors affect the way an individual thinks, emotes, and makes decisions. It’s a critical issue for individuals, families, and societies around the world. And improving one’s mental state does not have to be a lifelong struggle.
People with a mental illness often struggle with social stigma, based on stereotypes. But they can be anyone – family, neighbors, teachers, and friends. Even famous people have suffered from mental health challenges. In short, mental health is a part of who we are, not the whole of us. Regardless of your age, gender, or physical characteristics, mental health can affect your life. So, it’s important to seek treatment as early as possible.
While it’s important to see a mental health professional as soon as you notice a problem, many symptoms of mental illness are not obvious to the untrained eye. Depending on the severity of your condition, your mental health professional can tell you if you have a mental illness based on how often you experience certain symptoms. If so, you’ll be diagnosed with a mental illness. Once a diagnosis is given, treatment can begin.
Mental illness is a disorder that affects your thoughts, mood, and behavior. Often characterized by symptoms, mental illnesses are a lifelong challenge. They can affect your ability to function and live your life to its fullest. Unlike physical illnesses, mental illnesses are not caused by character flaws. They have nothing to do with being weak or unappealing. One in every 24 people will suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives. In many cases, treatment is relatively simple.
In some countries, treatment for mental illnesses is not available to all. In the Region of the Americas, for example, 67% of adults with serious mental illnesses weren’t receiving treatment. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the gap is even larger, at 77.9%. And in many areas, treatment for mental illness is less than half of the health budget. However, the gap has widened over the last decade. If this trend continues, it is important that we address the gaps and improve mental health care for all.