The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a state of wellbeing whereby a person can cope with the normal stressors of life, he/she realizes where her strengths lie, is able to work with them towards being productive and thus contributes positively to the community.

Generally, people believe mental health to be the exact opposite of mental illness, that is, the absence of any form of mental illness such as anxiety or abnormal behavioural patterns, and this is true, though not so limited.

A number of times, a balance between performing expected responsibilities, taking rests, meeting set targets, could give peace in a way that you feel mentally healthy, however, in some cases, it transcends that. A number of factors have been thought to play roles in the mental health of individuals:

  • Genetic

The biological heritage of an individual could contribute to how mentally healthy they remain. It has been suggested that a family history of mental illness could contribute to the development of same traits by members of that family.

  • Pressure

The world is changing so quickly and it could sometimes look like you are being left behind, or that while some of your peers are catching up with the pace, you are barely breathing. This feeling could cause undue pressure which sometimes causes individuals to slip into depression.

  • And many other risk factors such as traumatic experiences, brain damage, alcohol or drug abuse

Mental illness is a broad umbrella for a lot of disorders, some of which are discussed below:

  • Anxiety Disorder: This is a case of constant worry and fear, worse still, they are usually overwhelming.

Other disorders that could be classified under Anxiety disorder are; panic disorder which is feeling terrified randomly without any known cause, it could be characterized by trembling, pounding heart, chest pain, chills or feelings of being stifled.

There is also phobia which is the fear of specific stuff, such as the fear of heights. There is the generalized anxiety disorder which is being unnecessarily under excessive tension.

Depression: Declared by the WHO as capable of stimulating suicide, depression is a mental illness that causes a continuous feeling of sadness and loss of interest.

It is usually characterized by anger, tiredness, slow thinking, weight loss or weight gain and suicidal thoughts. Some suggested risk factors are brain chemistry, hormonal imbalance and inherited traits.

Bipolar disorder: this is a mental disorder that causes unwarranted change in mood, concentration, energy or activity levels. It is usually a swing between energized behavior (manic episodes) and depressive or hopeless states (depressive episodes)

It is possible that a person experiences disorders different from the aforementioned and such diagnosis are often classified under ‘other specified and unspecified bipolar and related disorders.’ Genetics and brain structure & functioning are likely risk factors of bipolar disorders.

Other problems of mental illness may be inflicting self-harm, sleep problems, psychosis etc.

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