Relationship between mental ill-health and mental health
Features of Mental Health
Mental Health receives the least priority in India. This may be due to a lack of awareness. Data
shows that despite the rising figures in India, only about one in 10 people with mental health
disorders are thought to receive evidence-based treatment. Much has been written in recent
years about the large global burden of mental illness and the neglect by all sectors in the
global, national, and local health systems to respond appropriately to the needs and rights
of people affected by mental illness
Concept and Meaning of Mental Health
Mind collectively refers to the aspects of intellect and consciousness manifested as
combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination; the mind is the
stream of consciousness. It includes all of the brain's conscious processes. This denotation sometimes includes, in certain contexts, the working of the human unconscious or the
conscious thoughts of animals. "Mind" is often used to refer especially to the thought
processes of reason.
Mental health is a positive concept related to the social and emotional well-being of
individuals and communities. The concept is culturally defined, but it relates generally to the
enjoying of life, ability to cope with stresses and adverse life events, fulfillment of goals,
achieving the highest potential, and the ability to connect to others. The term ‘mental health’ is
often misunderstood and interpreted as referring to mental ill health. This can be confusing,
especially since our ‘mental health services have been mostly concerned with the treatment
of mental illness, rather than promoting mental health. Mental health is a desirable quality
and is more than the absence of mental ill‐health or illness.
Astate of well-being. Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal
stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her
or his community.(WHO 2014)
A mental health problem interferes with a person's cognitive, emotional, or social abilities
but may not meet the criteria to be diagnosed as a mental illness. Mental health problems
often occur as a result of life stressors(Eg: Death, Job, Marriage, Child Birth, Migration, etc)
and are usually less severe and of shorter duration than mental illnesses. These will often
resolve with time or when the life stressor changes. However, if mental health problems
persist or increase in severity they may develop into a mental illness.
The term ‘mental ill-health is used when referring to a spectrum of problems that interfere
with an individual’s cognitive, social and emotional abilities. This term encompasses both
mental health problems and mental illnesses.
Mental illness or mental disorder is a clinically diagnosable illness that significantly
interferes with an individual's cognitive, emotional, or social abilities. The diagnosis of
mental illness is generally made according to the classification system of the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or the International Classification of Diseases
(ICD). There are different types of mental illnesses and each of these can occur with a
varying degree of severity
Relationship between mental health and mental ill‐health.
Mental health and mental ill‐health are influenced by one another but are not opposites. That
means, the absence of mental health does not necessarily mean the presence of mental
ill‐health and vice versa. While it does not reflect the interplay between mental health and
mental ill‐health, the Dual Continua Model of Mental Health(outlined in Figure 1 below)
shows how mental health and mental ill‐health belong to two interconnected but a separate
continuums. According to this view, a person may still have good mental health and wellbeing
while living with a diagnosed mental illness. In the same way, a person may have significant
problems with their mental health but not meet the criteria for a diagnosed mental illness.
This approach is yet to gain ground in India.
What is Mental Illness?
Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions disorders that
affect mood, thinking and behavior. (Mayo Clinic 2016)
Psychiatry is the field that studies mental illness, its treatment, rehabilitation and prevention.
A mental Illness is a change in an individual’s way of thinking and feeling that impedes his
ability to perform his day-to-day activities. It affects the brain which processes all
information. There are several forms of mental disorders of which anxiety and depression are
the most common in the population. A person is said to have mental illness whenever
thoughts and feelings increasingly interfere in one’s normal functioning or pleasure.
Mental illness otherwise known as mental disorders are a very common illnesses. About one in
four people have this diagnosis, but there is a great deal of controversy about what it is, what
causes it, and how people can be helped to recover. Mental illnesses are some of the least
understood conditions in society. Because of this, many people face prejudice and
discrimination in their everyday lives. However, unlike the images often found in books, on
television and in films, most people can lead productive and fulfilling lives with appropriate
treatment and support. For some people, drugs and other medical treatments are helpful, but
for others they are not. Medical treatment may only be a part of what helps recovery, and not
necessarily the main part. Psychotherapies and Counselling also help people to recover.
Features of Mental Illness
Physiological Changes (Functions of the body):Sleep, Appetite, Bowel and Bladder
movements and Sexual desire & activity.
Psychological Changes ( Functions of the mind): Speech, Behavior, Emotions,
Perception, Memory, Intelligence and decision making and Level of Consciousness.
Changes in the Individual and Social Activities: ADL –(Activities of daily living-Eg;
brushing, toileting, bathing, eating, dressing, movement etc ) and withdrawal from
friends and family.