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Mental health: Starting afresh

My name is Davina. I am 19 years of age and a student at ZYQ university. For me, school is a haven. It is a place where I escape from the trauma and hubbub at home caused by my parent's continuous yelling at each other.

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH
JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

My name is Davina. I am 19 years of age and a student at ZYQ university. For me, school is a haven. It is a place where I escape from the trauma and hubbub at home caused by my parent's continuous yelling at each other. However, in school, I find it difficult to even concentrate. I always feel sad. I worry about my siblings at home who are enduring my parent's presence. I used to be a bright kid, one of the best but now I'm bruised, wounded and sometimes, strange thoughts come into mind. Am I mentally fit? If not, does that mean, I have to be admitted at a psychological institution? I don't want that for myself but what do I do?‌‌

This is just one of the many challenges people face but are helpless about how to find solutions to it. That is why this article seeks to educate and provide guidelines to all who may or may not be suffering from mental health.‌‌

Mental health

Mental health as defined by WHO is a state of well-being(being comfortable, healthy or happy) in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community. Simply put, Mental health refers to the ability of an individual to think, act, feel and relate well to others in his environment.‌‌

Mental illness is the conditions that affect a person's thinking, feeling, mood, behaviour and relation to others and function each day.

Mental health and Mental illness are different.

A person can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with mental illness. Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, social and mental well-being.

The previous year, 2020, has been tough. It is likely for most people to become mentally ill or have poor mental health.‌‌

Types of mental illness‌‌.

There are over 200 classified types of mental illness and Disorders but these are the main types :

  1. Anxiety Disorders‌‌ : People with anxiety disorders react to situations with fear and terror. Such persons become extremely anxious around people, they panic easily and tend to have a lot of phobias.
  2. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders‌‌ : This is common among children. Such individuals tend to have trouble paying attention, may act without thinking about what the result will be and are overly active.‌‌
  3. Depression and other mood disorders‌‌ :Life is not a straight line. Some days one becomes sad and it is okay. However, when this does not pass after a short period and begins to interfere with your lives, then it becomes a problem. People suffering from depression experience continuous low mood or sadness, feeling hopeless and helpless plus having low self-esteem.

4. Posttraumatic Stress Disorders(PTSD) : ‌‌A person can get PTSD after going through a traumatic event such as war, disaster, physical abuse or a serious accident. People with PTSD experience symptoms like reliving the event over and over, sleep problems, become very upset if something reminds them of their bad experience. They are constantly looking for possible threats around them.

‌‌5. Schizophrenia and other Psychotic Disorders : ‌‌Patients having this disorder hear, see and believe things that aren't real or true. They may show signs of disorganized thinking, confused speech or abnormal motor behaviour. Because of the characteristics of this disorder, individuals tend to have low motivation, low self-esteem. It can cause individuals to seem distant and emotionless, rarely engaging in social situations or pursuing relationships with other people.

‌‌Sometimes, one disorder can lead to or can make the other worse.‌‌What do you think is David's situation? Write your opinion in the comment section.

‌‌What causes mental illness and Disorders

‌‌There is no main cause for mental illness as several factors can contribute to the risk for mental illness. Below are a few:‌‌

Biological factors :

‌‌Factors such as genes(one can inherit a gene that causes mental illness from a relative) or chemical imbalances in the brain resulting from an infection can cause mental illness and disorders and lastly, damage during pregnancy(loss of oxygen to the brain -- may be a factor in the development of certain conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder).‌‌

Environmental factors‌‌

The experiences we have in life can trigger mental illness such as a pandemic (Covid-19), divorce, being away from home, ongoing medical conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.‌‌

Psychological factors‌‌These may include, the loss of a loved one, emotional and physical abuse.

Treatment‌‌

Regarding mental health, a few can be done to improve upon one's well-being. Do not be caught up in the pressure when someone asks you what you have achieved so far. Last year, the pandemic swept the lives of many. Being alive is the greatest accomplishment, I would say.‌‌

Focus on all the good things that happened irrespective of the casualties.

Try to find good in bad situations. The pandemic made you lose your job, start your own business or improve on your education.‌‌

Relate well with others and whenever you feel sad, just know that, that too, shall pass so put on your happy armour.‌‌

Plan your life and make room for unexpectancies.

‌‌However, with mental illness. If you realize that a friend or you are experiencing such signs,the best thing to do is to see a doctor. If you cannot go straight to a doctor,confide in a friend or close relative. Allow yourself to be helped.‌‌

Treatment includes

‌‌Medications‌‌ : For some disorders, you will be given anti-anxiety, anti-depressants medications to lift your mood and help you in stressful situations.‌‌

Psychotherapy‌‌ : This is also called Talk therapy. There are different types and one will be chosen for you depending on your condition. You have to be comfortable with your therapist. Learning about your problem can help you overcome stressful situations and learn how to avoid difficult situations.‌‌

Hospital care : ‌‌Many a time, this is recommended when you put yourself in situations to harm yourself or others. Sometimes, when you have severe reactions, you may be admitted for 24 hours to monitor you.‌‌

Family and friends support‌‌ : Having such condition in some cultures is an abomination. The stigma associated with it can worsen your condition. Having support from those around you can accelerate the healing process.Sometimes, one may be advised to join groups with individuals in similar condition.

Be kind to someone having such conditions. Most often, all they need is love, care and attention. However, if you cannot do that, then do not make them feel bad about themselves.

The earlier you seek treatment, the better. Treatment may vary depending on your condition, most often, you wouldn't have to be admitted at a psychological institution. Do not resort to alcohol, drugs and others. These can make you forget your pain temporarily but they will not erase the problem from there.

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

A young lady who is excited to influence the society and world with the little knowledge she has acquired.