Mental illness is among the most common illnesses in the united states, and in most cases, mental disorders are known to cause disability, and according to recent research, one in four adults in the united states has in the past dealt with mental illness. The most common of the mental illnesses are anxiety, stress, or depression, and one in every seventeen adults has had a serious mental disease. Mental illnesses also affect children and young adults, and the current trend is rising at a high rate because, in 2010, research showed that one in every five children in the United States has a mental disorder, and the most common was the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
It is a normal thing for both adults and children to have more than one mental health disease. Mental health is very important for the well being of a human, for their health, their family and their interpersonal relationships, and the ability to live a full and productive life. children, adolescents, and adults who are not treated for mental illnesses are at a higher risk of acquiring even more mental illnesses, unsafe and unhealthy behaviors, like indulging in the abuse of alcohol, drugs, violence, self-destructive behaviors and some may even try to commit suicide (World Health Organization. 2014). Suicide is ranked the eleventh most common cause of deaths in the United States in all age groups and it mostly results from mental disorders like anxiety or depression.
Mental health illnesses have negative effects on the physical health of a person, and they are at times associated with progression, prevalence and the results of the present day’s chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Mental illnesses are associated with long lasting negative effects like economic and psychological costs, and this is not only for the people who are living with the disorder, but also for the people who are around the victim in the workplace, in school, the family, and in the community.
Both mental and physical health is linked together in that if a person has mental problems, they end up affecting their physical health. A mental disorder like depression is strongly related to risks, occurrences, the progress and the result of serious chronic illnesses and health conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and stroke. This association that is evident in mental and physical health brings about symptoms of mental illnesses, and as a result, they create a cycle of poor health. The cycle decreases the ability of a person to take part in the treatment and recovery of mental and chronic diseases.
Mental disorders can affect people of all ages, from young children to adults and old people. Twenty percent of all the children and adolescents in the United States suffer from mental disorders in their lifetime, and the symptoms of anxiety were known to start showing at the age of six, and behavior disorders at eleven years while mood disorders start showing at thirteen years. Mental illnesses in both children and adolescents can cause failure in school, abuse of drugs and alcohol, violence, family discord and above all suicide.
In adults, it has been estimated that seventeen percent of the entire population in the United States are fighting with mental disorders, while in older adults, Alzheimer’s disease is a leading cause of death ranked the tenth (Corrigan, Druss, & Perlick, 2014). In nursing homes, nineteen percent of the older adults have been diagnosed with mental illnesses, while twenty-six percent of the adults older than eighteen years are also nursing mental illnesses, and forty-six percent have reported a mental illness at least once in their lifetime.
There are many factors that have been linked with mental health, and these include ethnicity, gender, income level, age, race, geographical location, sexual orientation, and education level. Other social conditions are housing quality, employment opportunities, community dynamics, school conditions, social support, and family. For instance, the safe places where people interact with others like in churches, parks can all support a positive mental state, and a better understanding of these factors and how they interact and the effects that they have on the environment and its people is key to improving and maintaining the mental health of all the people in America.
Some actions and initiatives that are designed to improve mental health disorders are the creation of living conditions and an environment that supports mental health and allows people to follow and maintain a healthy lifestyle. They include actions that increase the chances of more people experiencing a better mental health. Environments that respect and protect the basic civil and cultural rights are important in the promotion of mental health. The promotion of mental health is largely dependant on intersectoral strategies, and some of the ways are early intervention with people during childhood.
Another way of promoting mental health is by supporting children in programs that build up their skills and other development programs for the youth. Empowering women is also a way of promoting mental health, and this can be achieved by improving their access to education and micro-editing schemes (Clement, Schauman, Graham, Maggioni, Evans-Lacko, Bezborodovs, & Thornicroft, 2015). The elderly can also be supported by embracing their initiatives and coming up with day centers for them, and these programs are targeted to the vulnerable groups like minorities, migrants, indigenous people and the ones who have been affected by disasters. In school, mental health promotion activities are characterized by programs that support ecological changes in the schools and are child-friendly. Violence reduction programs include the reduction of the availability of alcohol and the availability of dangerous weapons.
A more robust approach to healthcare education might support a paradigm shift in population in that it will save the young population from dying as a result of mental illness at less than twenty-five years. These deaths are caused by physical health conditions that can be prevented, determinants like housing, education and community inclusion. To help in promoting a paradigm shift in mental health care people have to start new nonpartisan public awareness campaigns, that are mainly aimed at educating people about the kind of services and policies that promote a real recovery and good health for people who have been affected by mental health conditions.
One recommendation that would support further progress in mental health care is that the government should strengthen and promote mental health because it is a strategy that has proved to work in other parts of the world with the same problem. The government should be committed to all the people who may have mental problems and they should take specific actions in improving the mental health of patients and also contribute to the attainment of the goals that they may have set (Hoge, Auchterlonie, & Milliken, 2006). This plan is aimed at promoting a mental well being and preventing more disorders in the future, and to also implement the strategies that help in promoting and preventing mental health.
Christianity plays a major role in health issues and especially in mental health, especially in places where there is huge religious diversity. Christianity constitutes to healthcare systems, and some people believe in spiritual healing whereby leaders of the church have to pray for a person who is believed to have a long-term illness, and at the end of it all, they get well. Spiritual healing also promotes personal wellness and prevents further illnesses. The leaders who hold prayers for victims also give them information on how to promote their personal health, the things that the victims should avoid so that the illness will not worsen and the theories that may be related to such a disorder.
In African countries, the natives also believe in God, and they believe that God protects all the people who are devoted to him and can also curse people who do not wish well for others. Illnesses are in most cases in the bible associated with a punishment for something wrong that a person did, while in other instances it is a way that God uses to see the people who truly believe in him (G. Koenig, & Larson, 2001). Leaders of the church, therefore, make things clear for the victim, and it is upon them to determine whether it is a punishment or a test from God.
- Clement, S., Schauman, O., Graham, T., Maggioni, F., Evans-Lacko, S., Bezborodovs, N., … & Thornicroft, G. (2015). What is the impact of mental health-related stigma on help-seeking? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies. Psychological medicine, 45(1), 11-27.
- Corrigan, P. W., Druss, B. G., & Perlick, D. A. (2014). The impact of mental illness stigma on seeking and participating in mental health care. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 15(2), 37-70.
- Koenig, H., & Larson, D. B. (2001). Religion and mental health: Evidence for an association. International review of psychiatry, 13(2), 67-78.
- Hoge, C. W., Auchterlonie, J. L., & Milliken, C. S. (2006). Mental health problems, use of mental health services, and attrition from military service after returning from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. Jama, 295(9), 1023-1032.
- World Health Organization. (2014). Social determinants of mental health. World Health Organization.