The Mental Health Continuum
Mental health is beyond the absence of mental illness. It is "a state of emotional and social well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community '" , as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mental health includes having the necessary life aptitude, social skills as well as having a balance in different aspects of life. It contributes to building resilience and improves individual learning potential.
Below are the descriptions of each stage of the mental health continuum:
Mental wellness or mental health support is about increasing proficiency, resilience, emotional and social well-being, as well as creating supportive atmospheres for all. It seeks to develop social and emotional competencies and life skills, and incorporate children and youth protective factors against mental illness.
Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems occur when someone is in a susceptible position of entering into the mental illness continuum. They do not have adequate resources and capacity to manage with the challenges they are facing and need better support from others to help them through the hard times. Some people with unsettled mental health problems might go to develop a mental illness.
This stage is a more serious or ongoing medical problem, which needs medical treatment, support and diagnosis.
Mental illnesses can be put into two types – neuroses and psychoses.
Neuroses: Symptoms are typically of less severity than psychoses although they are distressing for those involved. The person is still in touch with reality. They are aware of the fact they are ill and have some worries over their illness.
Psychoses: Symptoms are generally severe so much so that the person really looses touch with the real world. People are usually not alert to the fact that they are ill or their actions are abnormal.
Mental illness can either be Chronic (lasts for a long time) or starts slowly Acute (short in duration, severe and unexpected).
Here are some examples of mental illness:
– Social anxiety disorder
– Rett Syndrome
– Post-traumatic stress disorder
– Parkinson's Disease
– Panic Disorder
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
– Huntington disease
– Generalized anxiety disorder
– Bulimia nervosa
– Borderline Personality Disorder
– Bipolar disorder
– Alzheimer's disease
– Antisocial Personality Disorder
– Anorexia nervosa