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The Importance of Mental Health

Updated February 15, 2021
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The Importance of Mental Health essay

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People think if they eat the right foods, exercise daily, and do good deeds than they’re exempt from mental illnesses, but that’s not the case. Mental health issues can happen to any and everyone and need to be focused on more than it is in this society. 51% of the U.S. population will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in their life (“7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness” 1).

Everyone can get a mental illness but not everyone knows how or why. Due to people not caring enough about their wellbeing, they pay no mind to their mental health and let it suffer. In a few cases, people just aren’t aware of the symptoms of mental illnesses and just brush it off, but it’s more serious than they’re taking it.

According to NAMI 1 in every 5 adults experience mental illnesses each year (1). Sadler says “in order for me to be successful and confident in life I need to make sure I am Mentally healthy” (5). With a healthy mind, people can do more than people with a mentally ill mind. “Making sure you are mentally healthy will also lead to you being happy” (Sadler 5).

“Mental illnesses can be caused by multiple different things but the illness itself is caused by the interaction of multiple genes as well as stress, abuse, or a traumatic event (Bhandari 3). Poor nutrition and exposure to toxins such as lead can play a role in the development of mental illnesses (Bhandari 4).

Some mental illnesses can also be caused when a person is still a fetus. Bhandari says “some evidence suggests that a disruption of early fetal brain development or trauma that occurs at the time of birth- for example, loss of oxygen to the brain- may be a factor in the development of certain conditions such as autism” (4). Autism can affect a child’s brain and it can cause the child to learn and process words at a slower rate than most children.

Other effects on the brain like a defect or an injury can be linked to some mental illnesses (Bhandari 4). Infections, abnormalities in genes, genetics, pathways that connect particular brain regions, and abnormal functioning of the nerve cells can also be linked to mental illnesses (Bhandari 3,4). Many of the conditions listed are caused by combinations of biological, psychological, and environmental factors (Bhandari 1).

Most people try to take care of their brain and only think positive thoughts but sometimes it’s hard to maintain a good thought process and their thoughts get lead to the gutter. In 2018 NAMI reports that only 43.3% of U.S. adults received treatment for their mental illness (3). That means that more than 50% of the U.S. population with a mental illness hasn’t gotten treatment. Sometimes solving your mental illness is cheaper than keeping it.

When people ignore their mental illness and don’t bother to get it fixed or treated they risk living with an imbalanced brain and it can add to the mental illness and most doctors can’t fix or diagnose it (“7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness” 1). Poor mental health can cause huge impacts on people’s outcomes in life (“How Does Mental Illness Impact Our Physical Body” 3). Some people who suffer from mental illnesses and don’t get it treated can become addicted more easily and will prioritize pills and alcohol more than their job and family leaving them to be homeless.

Sadler says “to be physically healthy you need to be mentally healthy” (4). When people have a positive goal to achieve something, like going on a run, than their more than likely going to be able to achieve that than someone who has a negative goal, like spending the whole day eating.

People can take their mental illnesses out in many different ways. Some people may be stress eaters or others could starve themselves (Sadler 4). Stress eating can take a toll on their physical health if they don’t exercise. It can cause people to become overweight and then it would be harder for them to get back to a normal weight.

However, starving themselves is an option but it can severely affect their health. Starving themselves can cause them to become underweight and can lead to being anorexic and making it hard for them to eat. People with mental illnesses can also be put at a higher risk for injuries. For example, people with schizophrenia have a low bone density and are more likely to experience a hip fracture than someone without schizophrenia (“How Does Mental Illness Impact Our Physical Body” 4).

People with two or more mental illnesses can suffer more than those with only one. People with both depression and diabetes tend to have more severe symptoms than people with only depression (“How Does Mental Illness Impact Our Physical Body” 4). Studies have also shown that people who suffer from both schizophrenia and osteoporosis are 85% more likely to have a heart attack (“How Does Mental Illness Impact Our Physical Health” 4).

Scientists have found a link between high levels of mental distress and an increased risk of dying from cancer (“How Does Mental Illness Impact Our Physical Body” 4). Serious mental illnesses are something people shouldn’t joke about, in fact, people suffering from severe mental illness can reduce their life expectancy by 10 to 20 years (“How Does Mental Illness Impact Our Physical Body” 4). In the article “7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness it says “know that you’re a person, not a diagnosis” (2).

There are many ways to calm mental illness. For example, meditation, therapy, or getting treatment from a doctor. Bhandari states that “tweaking these chemicals- through medicines, psychology, or other medical procedures can help brain circuits run more efficiently” (2). When people get their mental illness fixed it’s not just for fun, it’s for the benefit of their health.

Group meetings with people who currently suffer or were suffering from mental illnesses other people have are also a great way to talk about the illness (“7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness” 2). Group discussions are also great for reassurance and reinforcement in areas that you feel weak due to your mental illness ( “7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness” 2). When thinking of ways to solve your mental illness the last thing you want to think of is closing yourself off from the world. When people close themselves off it can aggravate the symptoms of the mental illness more and bring more distress to the person.

Opening up about someone’s struggles can be difficult and takes time, but when people taunt and jeer at them, it takes them longer to speak up about it. People getting bullied and suffering from depression are more likely to commit suicide than someone who just getting bullied. However, with bullying the person getting bullied could fall into depression ( “25 Ways You Can Impact Mental Health Awareness in Your Community” 3).

Ways to avoid falling deeper into a person’s mental illness can be making sure there in a healthy friendship (Sadler 5). Nothing is worse than having someone who they think they can trust and having them turn their back on them. When a person does that, especially a close friend then it’s hard to recover their trust and it can lead to them not being able to trust other people (Sadler 5). Many people with mental health problems feel discrimination from their families, friends, employers, and society (“7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness” 1). Discrimination isn’t right especially to a mentally ill person. With discrimination the symptoms of the person’s mental illness can get worse and delay their recovery process ( “7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness” 1).

There are multiple ways to spread awareness about mental illnesses about a community. Some ways are to talk about it, share their story if they’ve suffered from a mental illness themselves, inform their children about mental health, a volunteer with mental health organizations, write a blog post, be a supportive friend if you know someone who has a mental illness, organize group workouts to improve their mental health and write to the local government to support the mental health legislation ( “25 Ways You Can Impact Mental Health Awareness in Your Community” 2,3).

When people think about it, it’s not that hard to teach more about mental health in this society. People who oppose the idea of focusing more on mental health are considered selfish and don’t want to spend their time doing something that isn’t meant for them.

Sadler says “if we lived in a world where mental illnesses were effectively treated and one day even prevented it could have a huge impact on not just our emotions but also our physical well being” (5). If everyone were to put their heads together and come up with an idea to almost cure mental illnesses than the world would be a much better place. With only one person a day paying attention to the mentally ill, it can still make a difference.

Works Cited:

  1. Sadler, Jennifer. “10 Reasons Everyone Needs To Respect Their Mental Health.” The Odyssey Online, The Odyssey Online, 15 Oct. 2019, https://www.theodysseyonline.com/reasons-why-mental-health-is-important. Accessed: 31 October 2019
  2. “How Does Mental Illness Impact Our Physical Body?” MQ, https://www.mqmentalhealth.org/posts/4-ways-our-physical-health-could-be-impacted-by-our-mental-health. Accessed: 31 October 2019
  3. “7 Ways to Calm Mental Illness.” Amen Clinics, 27 Aug. 2018, http://www.amenclinics.com/blog/overcoming-stigma-mental-illness/. Accessed: 31 October 2019
  4. “25 Ways You Can Impact Mental Health Awareness in Your Community.” Screening for Mental Health, https://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/blog/25-ways-you-can-impact-mental-health-awareness-in-your-community. Accessed: 31 October 2019
  5. Bhandari, Smitha. “Causes of Mental Illness.” WebMD, WebMD, 20 May 2018, https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-causes-mental-illness#1. Accessed: 31 October 2019
  6. “NAMI.” NAMI, https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers. Accessed: 17 November 2019
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