Mental Health

What Is Mental Health ?

Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental illness comprises two categories—those with any mental illness (AMI) and those with serious mental illness (SMI), though these are not mutually exclusive.

AMI is defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) as having any mental, emotional, or behavioral health disorder that met the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) criteria. A person with an AMI is defined as having an SMI by SAMHSA if their disorder substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

Some mental health conditions include:

  • Anxiety : Anxiety disorders are characterized by persistent worry, fear, and stress that interferes with one’s everyday life.
  • Depression : Persistent low mood, fatigue, and profound sadness are prominent symptoms of major depression.
  • Substance use disorders : The frequent use of alcohol and/or drugs that interferes with a person’s behavior in day-to-day life.
  • Bipolar disorder : Bipolar disorder consists of radical shifts in depressive or “low” moods and manic “high” moods that can last weeks long.
  • Schizophrenia : Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Eating disorders : Eating disorders are illnesses that affect a person’s relationship with food and body image.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) : OCD is a chronic, long-lasting anxiety disorder where a person experiences unreasonable, uncontrollable, recurring thoughts followed by a behavioral response.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) : PTSD is a disorder that develops in some who have experienced a shocking or dangerous event and have difficulty recovering from the trauma the event caused.
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