Only healthy people can develop a nation. The mental well-being of citizens is especially important because it is the foundation of the wholesome well-being of an individual and the proper functioning of communities. There are a variety of mental health educational websites that give more information on mental health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a condition where an individual realizes their abilities, has healthy stress-coping mechanisms, and can involve themselves in productive work to make societal contributions.
Good mental health results in more educated people, high economic growth due to increased productivity, healthy relationships, low levels of drug and substance abuse, and minimal levels of crime.
The statistics by WHO
Over 450 million people have mental health conditions, most of whom suffer from depression. Depression will be the second-largest disease by the year 2020, causing a tremendous social and economic burden globally. There is, therefore, an urgent need to prevent and treat mental illnesses to safeguard the nation.
Why mental health is so important
Mental disorders can result in other complications which worsen a person’s condition. The state of one’s mind affects their physical health. Depression is a cause of cardiovascular diseases.
Also, a person who is mentally unwell will likely develop eating disorders, fail to exercise, be sleep deprived, engage in drug abuse, engage in reckless sexual behavior, and fail to adhere to medical therapies; all which worsen their physical condition. Mental disorders cause the immune system to be less effective, so victims heal slowly or easily contract opportune diseases.
Social problems are also a result of poor mental health. Effects include unemployment, poverty, crime, and broken families.
National mental health policies should address all mental issues by including mental health promotions into government policies and programs, the health sector, and other business sectors such as labor, education, justice, transport, environment, and welfare sectors.
WHO Initiatives to address mental health
The World Health Organization is also working with the government to integrate mental health promotion into plans and policies. The approach of the organization considers all the possible causatives of psychiatric disorders; including neuro transmitters, genetics, infections, and brain defects. Some of the WHO initiatives include early childhood interventions through pre-school psycho-social activities even for the disadvantaged people and pregnant women home visits. Another initiative is the empowerment of women through education and access to finance.
Moreover, WHO has programs for helping vulnerable populations such as minorities and migrants who are victims of disaster. There are also work-related mental health interventions which involve creating and implementing stress prevention and management programs.
Violence prevention also plays a major role in the preservation of mental health. Domestic violence has especially become prevalent in this age. Affected spouses are at risk of depression and other psychiatric conditions if they do not receive the help they need in time. Programs such as ‘Communities that Care’ and community development and policing initiatives can help solve the problem of violence.
When the nation is more knowledgeable about mental health, discrimination ceases, and more people can access the help they need. Prevention of mental health disorders also becomes the norm.