The Importance of Mental Health

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Written by Navi Arri

Just as we are urged to take care of our bodies, we should be taking care of our minds as well. Preserving our physical bodies is a genuine effort. The inherent need to take care of oneself protects individuals after injury and maintains healthy habits such as eating well and exercising. However, the need to protect oneself applies to mental health as well. The health of one's mind is just as important as their body and should be treated as such.

What Is Mental Health?

Identifying when one's mental health needs attention is much more complicated than their physical health. We can quickly recognize when our body needs to be taken care of because our mind alerts us with physical pain. But how can we identify when it is time to take care of the mind when such a warning is not given? Understanding mental health allows one to do this. Mental health is a person's psychological, emotional, and social well-being. It affects various aspects of life, including how one relates and interacts with others, handles stress, makes choices, and functions throughout the day.

Why Should You Care About Your Mental Health?

Every human has a brain, so regardless of age or background, they should care for their minds. Caring for one's mental health allows them to cope with life's stresses, work productively, make meaningful connections and contributions to society, and work to their full potential. However, if one does not regularly practice self-care to look after one's mental health, it can open gateways to various mental illnesses, disorders, or bodily damage.

What Happens When You Don’t Care For Your Mental Health?

As one goes through life, they face many experiences and life events that negatively affect their mental health. To get through such, many use various coping mechanisms, which may include humor, physical activity, relaxation, support systems, and more. However, when one does not properly cope with these unexpected life events, it can lead to mental health disorders and illnesses. These disorders and illnesses can be caused by genetics, emotional trauma, or one’s overall brain chemistry.

What Exactly Is A Mental Illness/Disorder?

Mental illnesses or disorders are conditions that may negatively affect one's mood, feelings, thinking, and behavior. They may only last for a bit or be life-long. There are many types of illnesses and disorders, including anxiety, mood, eating, personality, and psychotic disorders. Examples of anxiety disorders are anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and panic disorder. Mood disorders may include depression, bipolar disorder, and dysthymia. Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. As we look at personality disorders, we see borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, schizoid disorder, and schizotypal disorder. Lastly, psychotic disorders include schizophrenia and psychosis.

How Can I Know If I Have A Mental Illness/Disorder?