Maintaining mental health is a crucial part of achieving a good wellness, as it affects your mood, behaviors, ability to cope with stress and ability to make good decisions in your life. Mental health sufferers can sometimes feel crippled by their illness and many issues can lead to the decline in physical health.
Fortunately, treatment is available and most people who experience a mental health issue in their life can make a full recovery. However, it is important to understand what mental health is and the importance it plays in your quality of life, medical costs, relationships and employment. Recognizing why mental health maintenance is so important can help you to ensure your own mental health and overall wellness. If you are experiencing any symptoms of a mental health illness, then it is important that you take steps towards treatment right away. To learn more about the importance of mental health maintenance, review the information that has been provided in the sections below.
What is mental health?
Mental health refers to our psychological, emotional and social wellbeing. Therefore, your mental health will affect the way you feel, think and act. Certain coping skills, your decision-making capabilities, your general mood, your behavior, how well you can handle stress as well as how well you relate and empathize with others are all linked to your mental health. Mental health maintenance is just as important as maintaining your physical health, if not more so.
There are a number of factors that may contribute to mental health problems, including the likelihood and intensity of your mental health, including the following:
- Genetic factors
- Brain chemistry
- Life experiences, especially in the presence of trauma or abuse
- Your family’s history of mental health problems
While mental health problems may be common, there are a number of treatment options available for a number of mental health disorders. In fact, most people who experience a mental health issue can recover completely through a number of treatment options.
Maintaining Mental Health Improves Your Quality of Life
Your mental health has a direct impact on your quality of life, as well maintained mental health will help you to live free of anxiety, stress, worry, depression and psychological problems. Having a well-maintained mental health can support your ability to:
- Obtain and keep healthy relationships.
- Make good choices in life.
- Maintain your physical health and general wellbeing.
- Handle stressors and the turmoil that may come with them.
There are many misconceptions about mental health and mental illness. Having a poor mental health can impair your physical health, as many mental health issues can lead to other chronic problems. Additionally, mental health problems such as depression can reduce a person’s ability to take care of themselves. Some mental health issues can also impair sleep, which can have a number of ill effects on your body. Mental health can also cause a sufferer to distance themselves from friends and family, engaging in social isolation. Therefore, it is imperative that you maintain your mental health in order to live life to the fullest.
Poor Mental Health Can Impinge on Relationships
Recent studies show that more than 80 percent of mental health sufferers have reported that their condition has had a detrimental effect on their families. Family life can become unpredictable, stressful and many who are afflicted with a mental illness may withdraw from their families entirely. Individuals who reported having withdrawn from their families admitted that they found it difficult to open up to their family about the problems that they were facing. Families of the afflicted individual may be affected too, feeling guilty for their relative’s decline in mental health. However, social isolation will likely worsen many different mental illnesses. In fact, it is widely believed that having close family ties can play a huge role in a person’s recovery from a mental illness.
Children of those with mental health illness can also be deeply affected by the mental illness of close relatives, such as parents. Young children cannot often associate why a parent may be behaving differently or seems ill, and there are many children that will blame themselves and become distressed. Furthermore, children begin to have a greater risk of neglect and abuse. They may isolate themselves from friends and family, failing to receive the social support that they need.
Mental Health Treatment Actually Reduces Medical Costs
There have been numerous studies done regarding mental health and medical costs. These studies show that untreated mental health patients generally visit their medical doctor twice as often as those receiving mental health care. Research shows that when a person receives adequate mental health care, his or her use of medical services declines overall. Medical visits can decrease as much as 90 percent with laboratory costs decreasing by up to 50 percent. Many health insurance plans include some sort of mental health coverage.
Mental health illnesses can inflict a variety of physical health problems and symptoms, including the following:
- Heart disease
- A weakened immune system
In fact, an immune system can be so weakened by an untreated mental health illness, that an individual can become more susceptible to anything from the common cold to cancer. Additionally, these untreated illnesses could contribute to poor decision making, including reckless behavior, drug use, excessive alcohol and smoking. Left unchecked, these behaviors can result in severe physical problems that will call for further medical services.
Mental Health is Good for Employers
Engaging in good mental health maintenance is also great for business, as having a good mental health is associated with better work performance, consistent work attendance, higher productivity and fewer workplace incidents and accidents. In fact, it is estimated that 200 million workdays are lost each year due to depression alone. Individuals suffering from mental illness are also far more likely to take sick leave repeatedly or for long periods of times. Often times, mental health is so important to an employer that they will select an employee health plan that offers strong mental health benefits. By doing so, a business can often prevent productivity loss, improve the quality of goods and service and optimize productivity.