IS MENTAL HEALTH AS IMPORTANT AS OUR PHYSICAL HEALTH?

“The mind and body are not separate, what affects one, affects the other.”

Our physical health is always prioritized and considered important. Hundreds of articles and books have been written on physical health but what about our mental health? It is high time that we regard our mental health equally important as our physical health.

Mental illness is something that affects a person’s emotional well-being. It has a great impact on the thinking of a particular individual. It is estimated that at least 10% of the world’s population is affected and 20% of children as well as adolescents suffer from some type of mental disorder. Depression is one of the main contributors to the increasing suicide rates, especially among teenagers. According to WHO, around 300 million people, worldwide suffer from depression. Suicide is considered responsible for more deaths than the combination of cancer, anemia, respiratory disease, influenza and liver disease. Most mental illnesses can be treated effectively to reduce the symptoms and to allow a person to work efficiently. The mental health of a person should not be neglected at all. However, our society thinks of it as something less essential. Mental disorders are one of the most neglected health problems. It is very easy to capture physical diseases but it is not necessary for mental illnesses to be obvious. Poor mental health can have negative impacts on our physical health and vice versa.

Mental health and physical health work as one. The World Health Organization has described health as a state of physical, mental and social well-being. Depression is not the only mental illness. Examples of mental disorders are:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar depression
  • Addictive behaviors

Poor mental health can worsen our physical health as it affects our ability to make healthy decisions and to fight off diseases. Ignoring our mental health can lead to serious health problems such as heart diseases, weak immune system and, asthma.

Depression itself is enough to cause fatigue and abnormal functions of neurotransmitters in our brain.

Childhood is a time to prevent mental illnesses. Emotional and physical abuse can affect a child in the most negative ways. The promotion of mental health should first start from schools. Every day, approximately 160,000 teenagers don’t go to school to avoid being bullied. It is important for all schools to have a bullying prevention policy and to take the mental health of the students into consideration.

Physical and mental health are heavily linked to our lifestyle choices. The healthier our lifestyle is, the better can be our emotional and physical well-being. Physical activities can help in reducing the risk of depression. Ways in which we can take care of our mental health are:

  • Value yourself: We must treat ourselves with respect and try our best to avoid self-criticism.

 

  • Surround yourself with good people: A supporting network can be essential for a person to be happy. Surrounding ourselves with anyone who is supportive can have a positive impact on our well-being.

 

  • Avoid alcohol: Alcohol and other drugs only cause problems. Keeping alcohol consumption to a very less amount can benefit us physically and mentally.

 

  • Get help if you need it: Asking for help might look like a hard task to do but we need to understand that people who get adequate care can recover from any mental illness and it can also save lives.

 

Mental and physical health are very essential for people to lead a rewarding life. Neither of them is less or more important than the other. It is important to talk about mental illnesses to raise awareness. Promoting positive mental health is not an option but a necessity. Health is hope, and hope is everything.

–  CATHERINE JABOY [9A]