Breaking the Stigma: Understanding Mental Health

Understanding Mental Health

Mental health refers to a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It encompasses how individuals think, feel, and act, and it plays a significant role in their ability to handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Good mental health is essential for personal relationships, productivity, and overall life satisfaction.

However, despite the fact that we do wish for good mental health, in today’s world, it is a very dynamic and sensitive topic to discuss. And after my conversation with Mr. Michael Prosserman on Young Eye International about his story growing up with a mother that was schizophrenic and how he navigated through this, I decided to piece this together for all those who might not understand the depth of “mental health. Understanding that mental health exists on a spectrum, ranging from good to poor, is crucial to breaking down the stigma often associated with mental health issues.

Common Misconceptions


Thera are a few misconceptions I have heard, but the three main ones I have come across about mental health are:

  1. “People with mental health issues are weak.” This misconception is both harmful to the person suffering from the issue and is untrue. Mental health challenges are not a sign of weakness. In fact, seeking help and support takes immense strength and courage. We need to acknowledge that these issues happen and are real.
  2. “Mental health issues are all in the mind.” Mental health issues are real and have physical, emotional, and social implications on both the individual and people around them. They often manifest in a person’s behavior, mood, and physical health.
  3. “You can ‘snap out of it’ if you try hard enough.” It’s not that simple. Mental health issues are very complex, and recovery often requires professional help, support from loved ones, time and most importantly patience.

Examples of Mental Health Challenges


There are multiple examples of different mental health challenges that different people suffer from, but the few prevalent ones that I have come across are:

  1. Depression: Depression is more than just feeling sad or feeling low. It is often a prolonged and intense feeling of sadness or hopelessness that can impact a person’s life in genera;. Some of the symptoms include loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite and sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating – these can often either be short-term or long-term that eventually has detrimental effects.
  2. Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety disorders, like anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, are all about excessive worry and fear. These disorders often lead to physical symptoms like racing heart, sweating, and trembling.
  3. Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is when an individual have intense and extreme mood swings, cycling between periods of mania and depression. Often during manic episodes, individuals may feel overly energetic, while depressive episodes bring deep sand prolonged sadness.
  4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD develops after a person experiences a traumatic event. It can often lead to flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and avoidance of triggers of that specific event.
  5. Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder that can affect thinking, emotions, and behavior. Research has shown that it involves hallucinations, delusions, and difficulty in sustaining relationships.

What is the Way forward?


If according to the world health organization, that one in eight people in the world live with a mental disorder, there is a lot of understanding and work we need to do to create an environment where this doesn’t grow.

Mental health is often overlooked, with the focus primarily on physical health. However, it is just as crucial, as the two are interconnected. A healthy mind is essential for a healthy body, and vice versa. Good mental health is linked to improved cognitive function, better decision-making, and a stronger capacity to cope with the different challenges life brings.

Nurturing and maintaining good mental health is a lifelong journey. It involves understanding the factors that influence mental well-being and implementing strategies for self-care, support, and coping. By taking proactive steps, seeking help when needed, and fostering a supportive environment, we can work towards a happier and mentally healthier life for ourselves and those around us.

I do not know what the best solution is, or how best to navigate this, but I believe in supporting each other through the different things we go through: Why we should support each other?

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Darren Harry Baine

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