Importance of maintaining Mental Health

  • Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Mental Health is an essential component of maintaining health.
  • Mental Health refers to emotional, psychological and social well-being. An individual’s mental health impacts the way they think, feel and act, and affects one in every aspect of their life.
  • A compromised mental health can significantly impact a person’s mood, relationships and professional career. Recognition of a mental health problem must be followed by seeking appropriate help to enable the individual to recover completely.
  • Mental disorders comprise a broad range of problems, with different symptoms. However, they are generally characterized by some combination of abnormal thoughts, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Examples are schizophrenia, depression, intellectual disabilities and disorders due to drug abuse. Most of these disorders can be successfully treated.


Warning signs and symptoms for Mental Health problems

  • While individuals are often able to recognize something different in their mental and physical health, certain symptoms are noticeable even to outsiders or family members.
  • If you or your loved ones are reflecting the following symptoms, it is important to consult a psychiatrist and seek appropriate help.  



Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a mood disorder caused by persistent feelings of sadness and a loss of interest.

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Frequent anger outburst, increased irritability or frustration
  • Loss of interest in most normal or pleasurable activities and a persistent feeling of boredom
  • Sleep disturbances of either insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy even for small tasks
  • Changes in appetite- either a reduced appetite and weight loss, or an increased appetite and weight gain
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Lack of efficiency in work and professional career

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is marked by persistent feelings of anxiety that interfere with the day to day activities of an individual.

  • Persistent worrying or obsession over small things and inability to let go of a worry
  • Persistent restlessness and inability to relax
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive worrying and distressing over decision
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty or indecisiveness
  • Fatigue, muscle tension or muscle aches
  • Experiencing trembles or twitches Excessive sweating, nausea and headaches
  • Disturbed sleep

Symptoms of Body-Image and Eating Disorders

  • Anorexia Nervosa an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body weight. People with anorexia place extreme importance on their body weight.
  • Physical symptoms include extreme weight loss, thinner built, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness, hair thinning, and absence of menstruation, constipation, low blood pressure and dehydration. Other red flags to look out for include restricting food intake, denial of hunger, fear of gaining weight, lying about how much food has been eaten, eating foods low in calories, repeated weighing or measuring, not wanting to eat in public etc.
  • Bulimia Nervosa is a potentially life threatening disorder, characterized by binging- eating excessive food at once, and purging- inducing forced vomiting to free oneself of the guilt of eating. Non-purge bulimia might include excessive exercise, fasting or strict dieting.
  • Symptoms and signs often include preoccupation with body shape and weight, fear of gaining weight, skewed perception of one’s body, using laxatives or diuretics after eating, eating excessive food until the point of discomfort.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Schizophrenia results in an abnormal interpretation of reality. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.
  • It is marked by delusions or false beliefs, like thinking one has excessive power or fame. Hallucination include seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling things that do not exist, like feeling a snake crawl on your skin, smelling something burning, hearing ‘voices’.
  • It is also marked by disorganized thinking where speech and communication is severely impaired or doesn’t make sense. People with schizophrenia might also depict bizarre postures or a complete lack of response.

How to get help for mental health problems

  • At an individual level, the recognition of a persisting problem plays a major role in overcoming it. Upon recognizing or identifying symptoms within oneself, it’s important for an individual to communicate them to their family and seek out help from a licensed psychiatrist.
  • Upon the beginning of the treatment, it is important for one to see the treatment through the end and attempt lifestyle changes to improve mental health.
  • At the level of the family, it’s important to maintain a check on one’s kids’ or spouse’s habits and behavior during stressful life circumstances.
  • Recognition of a mental disorder might not always come from the patient and the people around him or her need to proactive in determining whether something is ‘off’.

Prevention of suicide

Suicide, or taking one’s own life, is a tragic result of stressful life conditions. Suicide is becoming more and more common today, especially among teenagers. History of mental disorders, physical or emotional abuse, childhood neglect, failure, conflict with family or problem with drugs and alcohol might lead to suicidal behaviour.


Signs and symptoms of suicidal behaviour

  • Talking of suicide or getting means through which one can kill themselves
  • Loss of interest in activities, school or work
  • Feeling trapped or hopeless about one’s situation
  • Engaging in activities like excessive alcohol and drug consumption
  • Being preoccupied with death, dying and violence

Helping someone with suicidal tendencies

  • While dealing with one’s kids, spouses or family members reflecting suicidal tendencies, it is essential to talk to them about it. Suicidal comments need to be taken very seriously.
  • When talking to someone who is displaying suicidal behavior, one needs to be comforting and use words of encouragement. It is important not to show the person that you are distressed or shocked, but you must show them concern. A person exhibiting suicidal behaviour must not be left alone.
  • After the person has received help and is no longer appearing to be on the edge of suicide, the parents or caregivers must approach a mental health professional, counselor, psychotherapist or psychiatrist to enable the individual to recover from their suicidal tendencies.
  • This must be followed up by regular interaction with the individual to understand how he or she is coping and whether they start exhibiting those tendencies again.