Mental Health: What is it?
The world health organization defines mental health as a " state of well being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community". It is clear from the very definition of mental health why society can benefit greatly from effective diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. The world health organization estimates that one third of the population from most countries suffer from some form of mental illness.
Mental health disorders can present in different ways. Probably the most common forms of mental illness include depression and anxiety. Less common forms include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Substance abuse disorders often are the result of underlying, untreated anxiety and/ or depression and are a substantial cost to our health care system.
There is ample research to support the benefits of having access to treatment of mental illness. Unfortunately in our cash strapped healthcare system timely access can be a challenge but most recently there has been increased funding to improve access for diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Despite our best efforts there still remains a social stigma to being afflicted with mental illness therefore resulting in a significant number of people unwilling to seek professional help. Education is one of our best defenses to this problem so that we can be better equipped to recognize signs of illness in our loved ones. Below are some links to help provide education regarding common forms of mental illness. This information is a resource to help you determine if you or a loved one should seek professional help.