The SOUTHERN CROSS Again Highlights MENTAL HEALTH

In the June edition of The Southern Cross, Deacon Ed Shoener speaks of his personal experiences of mental illness in his own family,  saying that God can turn even great pain and tragedy into help for others.   

UNDERSTANDING MENTAL HEALTH

What is Mental Health?

Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”

Who gets affected by mental health disorders?

Mental disorders can affect both men and women, and can affect people from different age groups including the young and the elderly. Mental disorders are common – about one in five adults experience a mental disorder at some stage in their life.

What are some of the factors affecting mental health?

There is rarely one single cause of a mental disorder. Most mental disorders are caused by a combination of factors including:

  • Stressful life events
  • Biological factors
  • Individual psychological factors e.g. poor self-esteem, negative thinking
  • Adverse life experiences during childhood e.g. abuse, neglect, death of parents or other traumatic experiences.

What are the types of mental health disorders?

Mental disorders can be divided into two main categories:

  • Common Mental Disorders: which include symptoms that we all experience from time to time, for example, feelings of fear, worry or sadness.
  • Severe Mental Disorders: which are often difficult for the general community to understand, for example, hearing voices or expressing strange or unusual beliefs.

What are the main Common Mental Disorders are:

  • Unusually sad mood that does not go away – this is called depression
  • Excessive fear, nervousness and worry – this is called anxiety
  • Excessive use of alcohol or other substances– this is sometimes called substance abuse

What are the main types of Severe Mental Disorders? 

  1. Psychotic episode
  2. Schizophrenia
  3. Bipolar disorder