What Is Mental Health?

Mental health is the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another and the environment, in ways that promote subjective well-being and optimal development with the use of cognitive, affective and relational abilities.

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Furthermore, mental health plays a crucial role in the well being of the Australian community, with one in five Australian’s directly suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lives.

Mental illness will have a direct effect on the quality of the individuals life with varying effects on family members, friends and the community.

  • Psycho
  • Mental
  • Mad
  • Crazy
  • Bananas
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Delusional
  • Depressed
  • Bipolar
  • Lunatic
  • Insane
  • Paranoid
  • Psychotic

are just a few terms that are used in a negative way by the greater community to describe mental illness; however mental illness can be understood as: “any illness experienced by a person that affects their emotions, thoughts or behaviour; is out of keeping with their cultural beliefs and personality; and produces a negative effect on their lives or the lives of their families”.(World Health Organisation)

Mental illness is generally misunderstood, and has a negative social stigma attached to it. Having to live with a social odium can be more debilitating than the illness itself and forces the individual further into the margins of society, resulting in increased hardships and isolation. Furthermore, whilst the treatment and medicine for mental illness has improved, the stigma attached to it continues to grow.

Whist this website offers many fantastic self-help resources, there may a point in time where you need to seek professional help. Here are a few professional titles that you may be aware of:

  • Psychiatrist, is a medically trained practitioner who specialises in mental health.
  • Psychologist, is a mental health professional that takes a scientific approach to psychological knowledge, theory and practice.
  • Psychoanalyst, specialises in the deeper personality structures and the role the unconscious mind plays with in the mental health field.
  • Social worker, focus their skills and knowledge on the interaction between the individual and their environment.
  • Registered nurse, helps the individual with home care, hospital stay, and consultancy.

Multidisciplinary teams of health professional with specialised fields, are assembled to work together to detect, asses, diagnose and treat mental illness. Once an initial assessment has been made, the information can then be formulated into a diagnosis, which will then be constructed into a treatment plan that will ultimately aid and assist the individual in creating a better quality of life.

Diagnostic classification enhances clear communication, which supports the understanding of treatment options, predictable prognosis and stimulates analytical research. Furthermore diagnosis aids in the treatment planning and medical management. In addition to this, diagnosis aids in patient education and is fundamental in medical record keeping. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and related Health Problems (ICD-10) are two of the leading diagnostic systems currently used to classify and diagnose mental health illnesses. Mental health professionals are essential in the assessment of a mental disorder or illness.

Factors that must be consider during the initial interview are;

  • Psychological
  • Biological
  • Social.

A good clinician is like a detective, gathering information, and asking questions like, who, what, when,how and why. The clinician will allow the client to tell their story without cultural or sexual prejudices, bias of opinion or judgement; and one who will keep counter transference to a minimal.

So if you think that you may need help, visit www.followyourdreamlife.com for an international list of agencies that specialise in mental health.