Mental health is about wellness. A person with good mental health is considered to be in a state of wellbeing. They feel good, function well and are positive. These people are emotionally mature and can cope with the normal stresses of life, they’re resilient, realise their potential, contribute to the community and work productively.
What can cause mental illness?
Genetics – There are biological factors that can be passed down through the genes from one generation to the next. Mental illness can be inherited genetically from our parents. Hormones can also be responsible for changes in moods affecting mental health.
Trauma in Early Life – events like abuse or neglect can strongly influence mental health in later life.
Recent Events – things that have just happened or that we undergo in life can affect a person’s mental health like; stress at work, study or experiencing a traumatic event can affect our emotions.
Social Factors – financial problems, constant negative thoughts, family violence, breakdowns in the family or isolation.
Thought Life – mental illnesses can also be influenced by cognitive patterns, our thoughts, including how we perceive ourselves and our self-esteem.
Drug Use – taking recreational drugs or drinking excessive alcohol or other substances for prolonged periods of time.
Detecting mental illness – Some common signs
Some common signs of mental illness are listed below. If a person is experiencing any of these symptoms, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are mentally ill as many situations can cause us to feel one or two of these at any given time. If a person experiences many of the symptoms for prolonged periods of time talking to a GP to discuss the matter is recommended.
• Substance abuse – self-medicating
• Excessive worrying
• Mood swings and mood changes
• Excessive sadness and crying for no reason
• Eating habits drastically change
• Having trouble coping with usual activities – feeling overwhelmed
• Trouble with concentration
• Feeling depressed or down
• Not interested in doing what they usually do
• Having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than usual
• Lack of motivation
• Decline in performance levels at work or at school
How can we Improve our mental health?
This list contains the most practical and necessary things we can do to help improve our own mental health.
• Exercise regularly
• Get enough sleep
• Develop new skills, keep learning
• Set realistic goals for yourself
• Talk about your feelings and express them clearly
• Eat healthy
• Spend time with family and friends
• Take up a hobby
• Talk to your doctor or mental health professional
Health Direct – Mental Health Disorders
Reach Out – What is Mental Health?
Mind Health Connect Mental Illness and Health
Where to get help
Talk to your GP if you’re concerned about your mental health.
Men’s Line Australia – Talk it over with someone who understands – 1300 78 99 78
Lifeline – A free 24 hour Crisis Counselling service – 13 11 14
Kids Help Line – 1800 55 1800