By: Brooke Faulkner
Courtesy of Image of Flickr
As doctors, physicians, and researchers try to address the problems surrounding mental health issues, it’s important for us to remember that in order to really help individuals, we need to tackle the problem head-on. That way, they’ll get better treatment and support along the way. The urgency of these issues over the years has grown significantly. The problem, however, is that mental health isn’t always taken as seriously as it should be.
Regardless of how it’s viewed in the eyes of others, our mental health system affects countless lives on a daily basis. Fortunately, with the right treatment, recovery is possible for most people. This means that if we continue to invest our time and energy into treatment options, patients can live a full, satisfying life and contribute to their communities in a positive way.
In order to establish a positive environment for patients suffering from mental illness, we must first do everything in our power to design a system that focuses on the individual. What does this mean? It means putting the patient at the center and building a support system around them. This will show them that they’re valued and taken seriously, which is important since every recovery case is different.
Understanding Mental Health
Although the exact cause of mental illness remains unknown, researchers do know that factors can affect the way we think. Things like genetics and biological, psychological, and environmental factors can all play a major role in one’s mental state. So, how does each factor affect us? Let’s take a look at some examples.
Genetics: A large percent of the population who suffer from mental illnesses were actually born with the genes already in their system, passed down from one relative to another. Remember, genes contain our DNA, and each cell found in the body is responsible for how we act, look, think, react, etc. However, just because our parents might have had a condition, doesn’t mean their child will. Instead, it just means that their children will be more susceptible to mental illnesses that can affect family members around them.
The illness itself occurs when the gene interacts with other factors that cause stress to the body. In most cases, this can either cause, influence, or trigger the illness in someone who has already inherited from their parents. This means that if the chemical found in the brain are out of balance or not working the way they should be, messages won’t be transmitted the way they should be, leading to more problems later on down the road.
Environmental Trauma: One of the main causes of mental health problems can be connected to environmental trauma. Things like emotional, physical, or verbal abuse can put individuals in a state of mind that limits their ability to think and prevents them from interacting with others. What makes environmental trauma different from other experiences is that it’s rooted deep within the brain. This makes it harder for individuals to overlook and sometimes forces them into isolation.
Many use prescription drugs to treat their mental health troubles. But the substance abuse crisis has gotten out of control, which is why it’s important for individuals to get the right kind of help and avoid the use of drugs for recreational use to cope with their illness.
Stress From the Chaotic Events: Certain events –– like death, divorce, witnessing disasters, or being involved in a car accident — can leave people with severe injuries and have major consequences on a person’s health. This can lead to passengers feeling anxious, depressed, or fearful, or they may experience mood swings. Regardless of the emotions they display after the accident, each has the ability to affect the individual’s mental health and can severely interrupt the person’s life.
This will impact how they work, interact with others, and could even change affect how they sleep at night or get up in the morning. Remember, mental illness comes in many forms, which means if an individual has the trait in them already and experiences a traumatic event, they’re much more likely to suffer from mental illness later on. While stress from chaotic events can be relatively short-lived for some people, these guilty feelings can last a lifetime for others — especially if someone was severely hurt in the accident.
Truthfully, mental health concerns take on many forms, and like chronic illness, it requires the individual to receive ongoing treatment. The only problem, however, is that most individuals don’t get the help they need because they don’t have the money or receive the same treatment. In order to really help these individuals, progress has to be made in the way they’re treated. By changing the way individuals with mental illness are treated, they’ll be able to function and do tasks on their own while working on improvements every day.