Explain the range of factors that may influence mental well-being and mental health problems across the life span, including:
- biological factors
- social factors
- psychological factors
- emotional factors
An individual’s mental health can change throughout their life time due to internal or external influences. Internal influences play a fairly large part towards our mental state such as our biological factors. One biological factor that changes our mental health is pubescent change, during this time hormonal levels fluctuate and hormones such as progestogen, oestrogen and testosterone have a huge impact on our mental health. In addition to this, woman’s menstrual cycles also have a big impact on fluctuating hormones. Another biological factor is specifically based on a hormone which enables us to have positive emotions coursed by the hormone serotonin. This is also a psychological factor, as serotonin is a hormone that is triggered by external influences such as a celebration or being with a loved one and helps us to feel happy about the situation. However, certain individuals may not be able to produce as much serotonin as others, which would then have the potential to greatly impact ones mental health for the worse.
External influences can play an even bigger part towards our mental health due to life experiences and social factors which inevitably then effect our emotions. Throughout an individuals life, ones social stability can change drastically. Furthermore, a common pattern shows people have a larger social network during there educational years (ages 5-25). Mark Molloy in April 2016 states in the telegraph- “our social networks shrink from the age of 25, the data reveals, with the pool of friends getting smaller and smaller as the years go by.” As a result, as individuals become older it maybe more difficult to communicate emotions and express life problems with others as there are fewer connections and friends around. This can relate to the theory of a stress bucket (an idea developed by Brandan and Turkington 2002). You imagine the stress in your life is stored in a bucket and labelled on the bucket is a relaxed level and a normal level. There are holes at the bottom of the bucket labelled as; good time management, doing something you enjoy and talking to trusted people. All of these factors are easily achieved with a good social network. Without a social network, there are no holes in the bucket and therefore the bucket then overflows which is then a metaphor for when the individuals mental wellbeing is effected negatively.
Explain how risk factors and protective factors influence levels of resilience in individuals and groups in relation to mental well-being and mental health.
- Taking it out on others
- Alcoholic/ drug abuse
- Protective factors:
- Family/ friends
- Resilience: Recovery from tough times
When mental health is poor within individuals, people tend to resort to protective or risk factors, these factors therefore have an effect on the overall mental health, wellbeing and ability to recover. Risk factors are by far from a positive coping mechanism but are a coping mechanism all the same. When someone has a poor mental health, people often then resort to isolation especially those who suffer with anxiety or depression. Isolation, being a risk factor, often results in further rapid deterioration in mental health as there is no stability in helping their resilience, and only provides a short term solution. Certain individuals, depending on there mental health, may resort to taking there anger or low moods on others, this then can be labelled such as domestic, social or even child abuse. People do this due to an increase in testosterone, adrenaline and serotonin which can help us to increase our moods however only for a short period of time and often then makes our mental health worse after the event.
Therefore this risk factor does not support our resilience as it firstly, has damaging effects to us and the people around us, it also does not provide long term help, and it does have the potential to worsen their mental health. Another risk factor, is the uptake of alcohol or drugs, this is also a short term resolution and often ends in an addiction.
Although if mental health is treated sufficiently individuals can take up protective factors in mental health which often provide positive resilience and stability towards ones wellbeing. One protective factor is the influence of friends and family. In most cases, friends and family help to support one another through communication, and expressing emotions, giving opinions and providing advice. All of which can positively assist one with their mental health.
Furthermore, support groups can also provide a positive reliance, just communicating problems with one another can provide a sense of relief and reassurance. Communities and support groups can sometimes provide a better level of support than friends and family, this is because within communities and support groups people are able to share experiences and be able to potentially verbalise experiences they may not feel comfortable conveying to friends and family. Finally, another form of protective factors is medication this involves anti-depressants, sedatives to even pain relief. Medication assists with our mental health because common mental health illnesses are coursed by a chemical imbalance within the brain, and medication (antidepressants) helps to balance it out. Other medication such as sedatives can help because some mental health illnesses can be from sleep deprivation, and having sedatives can assist with sleep. Overall medication can assist with our mental health and wellbeing because it provides a long term solution and supports our reliance. However, within the minority of cases medication can course some severe side effects which can make things worse.
Explain the steps that an individual may take to promote their mental well-being and mental health.
Based on an individual with no mental health illness, ways to encourage and promote positive mental health and wellbeing maybe found in such things as; sport as this helps to increase serotonin, adrenaline and endorphins all of which promote a healthy body and a healthy mind. Certain individuals may pick up a healthy diet as specific food can help promote positive mood, make us feel healthy and assists with our fitness. On the other hand, certain food (when eaten too much of) can cause us to feel low in moods and genuinely unwell. A investigation was taken of individuals between the ages of 24-26 as to whether gluten has an effect on someone’s mental health, they split the group into two, half was on a gluten diet and the other was on a gluten free diet. In January 2018 Kathleen Jade posted on the university health news Daily – “Results showed that gluten ingestion was associated with significantly higher depression symptoms.” In addition, another way an individual can promote mental health is through socialising, this can be through going out and spending time with friends or joining social groups and classes. In June 2016 Angela K. Troyer posted on Psychology today-“Socialising can provide a number of benefits to your physical and mental health… connecting with friends may also boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia… interacting with others boosts feelings of wellbeing and decreases feelings of depression. Research has shown that one sure way of improving your mood is to work on building social connections.” This therefore demonstrates the importance of having a positive social network in order to maintain a healthy wellbeing. In addition to this, it’s not only good maintaining a social network, but for those social connections to be positive. Same goes for relationships, it’s incredibly important to keep up a healthy and positive relationship with friends and spouses as negative ones can drastically effect our mental health for the worst. Negative relationships can help to fuel poor mental health due to any forms of abuse whether it’s given or received. Not only this but poor relationships generally can have a negative on any individual and can make us feel bad about ourselves as well as our partners. Finally, having the ability and time for rest and relaxation, this is not only good for our mental health but also for our physical health as well. Rest and relaxation, provides us the time to mentally recover from stress or distressing life occurrences. This can include having a small glass of wine at the end of the day, dedicating a day to watch movies or even going outside for a walk, it allows us to calm and regain our strength both physically and mentally.
However, not all of these steps may assist every individual to have a healthy mental health, especially if an individual suffers from a mental health illness. Steps to assist an individual to promote positive mental health, can be through talk therapy. Especially within therapy talk groups and counselling therapy it gives individuals the opportunity to speak out about there issues and feel reassured and comforted about there emotions. Furthermore another potential to assist with mental health is through natural mood lifters such as fish oils, CBT oil, aromatherapy, as the majority of mental health illnesses are coursed through a chemical imbalance in the brain, these natural remedies helps to rectify that chemical imbalance and make us feel more positive.
Explain how to support an individual in promoting their mental well-being and mental health.
When individuals go through an imbalance of mental health or may suffer with a mental illness, certain behaviours and language may be shown such as; laziness, potential aggression, antisocial, dismissive, wavered mood swings, talking slower or faster, talking less, jumpy etc. When an individual portrays these behaviours it can be very important to intervene and help. People can assist via; invite them to a social gathering- especially within a working environment, being invited to social events helps people to feel better in themselves and encourages social interaction, which in itself largely promotes positive mental health. Another way to support someone and promote their mental health can just be through talking and listening to them, this allows individuals to communicate and express there emotions in a safe environment. It also allows that individual to seek trust and support in you which will then make them feel more comfortable. Another way to support someone’s mental wellbeing can be through inviting them to classes, such as; exercise classes, hobby classes or even young/ talk groups. Exercise classes are especially helpful in assisting with ones mental health as not only it gives an individual inclusion it can also allow someone to become fitter and therefore promote a healthy wellbeing. Finally, another way of supporting an individual can be shown through supporting there need for rest and relaxation. A way of doing this especially around the work place can be through allowing them small tea breaks where they’re allowed to take the time to have a moment to calm.
Explain the effects mental ill health may have on an individual.
Individuals who suffer with a mental health illness often have a lot of things on there minds, this can then have a negative effect on there work ethic as it can make them appear lazy and dismissive. This then has a detrimental effect as it then enables colleagues to genuinely believe that they are lazy, and then through that judgement that individual will feel worse in themselves. Mental health sufferers may feel emotionally hypersensitive due to paranoia or anxiety this would then result in potential forms of aggression, furthermore may make people feel unwelcome by them and uncomfortable. When being invited to social events, someone with a mental health illness may decline this could be because they feel; unwelcome, paranoid of potential happenings, social anxiety etc all of which makes them become anti sociable. Due to emotional hypersensitivity mental illness sufferers may have wavered mood swings, which can make them appear as unpredictable which can make others uncomfortable. An example of this could be that a mental illness sufferer starting the day off with an overall very positive mood, and after a small negative happenings like forgetting to do a set of observations, or meeting an aggressive patient, for the rest of the day they may appear aggressive, lazy or agitated.
Another way a mental health illness may effect an individual is through there finances. Mainly found in individuals with variant signs of anxiety or depression, they could also suffer from hyperactive/ wavered mood swings such as bipolar or a personality disorder. These individuals may find it difficult either letting go of money or over expending which in extreme cases can result debt. Some examples that this may happen is through, paranoia towards judgement of others, maintaining expressive habits (smoking, alcohol or drug abuse) or using money like a safety net- when their money is low they feel out of control, when they have a new income of money they feel more positive.
Another way mental illness is effected is towards an individuals family and friends, mental illness can course individuals to separate from friends and family especially when they try to help/ get involved in helping their illness. Reasons for this could be through; a lack of trust, fear of limited understanding, fear of judgment or could make them feel vulnerable. Another way individuals may separate from close ones is because of overall paranoia- they may feel that their relations no longer wish to be close or are judging them.
Finally, another way and in individual may be effected by their mental health through being in public situations such as; shopping, eating out in a restaurant or going out for leisure activities/ socialising. This mainly focuses on people whom suffer with anxiety or paranoia, as going out in public can be very uncomfortable for them as they’re constantly scared or feel anxious due to false pretences and judgment from others.