Since October is the Mental Health Awareness month I would like to join the cause and spread the word about problems related to mental health. But first things first. What is it all about and why it is important for everyone to maintain good mental health? When people are in a condition of good mental health they are capable to work, study, and engage in various activities without any difficulty in particular. However when they have a mental disorder it becomes reflected in their behaviour, emotions and ability to perform well in different task related to work, school or at home.
Many are the reasons for a mental disorder to occur. Unlike most diseases it is not something you “catch”, like catching the flu or something else. Rather, mental disorders are a complex result of combination of factors - genes, environment, emotional state, and other outside factors such as stress, grief or loss, abuse, etc. This, however doesn’t mean that the majority of disorders cannot be cured. Quite the opposite - when a mental disorder is identified, the sooner that happens, the easier it becomes to "heal" the mind.
The problem with the majority of disorders is that, they are difficult to identify. It all happens in a person’s mind. Not always the emotions and the feelings are enough to tell and sometimes people inhibit them so well, that it becomes impossible to tell if their condition is harmful to themselves or not. One such condition is depression.
For years, there was a common belief that depressed individuals are weak and responsible for their condition. Like they have brought it on themselves and they are to blame. When in fact, research shows that this is not the case. Everyone can have an episode of major depression throughout their life and statistics show that depression affects more than 121 million people globally. Depression and anxiety are considered as some of the most serious disorders for one simple reason - because they are quite often misunderstood by the general population. Many people don’t even know they have depression, not to mention that they don’t do anything to treat it.
A huge amount of the population wakes up everyday feeling down already and goes on to complete their daily tasks and chores not even knowing why they feel so unhappy and unproductive. This is extremely serious as a huge amount of the people suffering from depression go on to committing suicide. Actually 1 million lives are lost EVERY YEAR to suicide globally. For this reason the purpose of the Mental Health Awareness Month is to eliminate the stigma and all the myths around depression and to promote good mental health habits.
Unfortunately, the literature on depression is so broad, that it is very difficult to summarize in one article. In the second part I will give some tips on how to maintain positive mental health habits and to avoid depressive episodes, so stay tuned.