You and Your Mental Health

– Akeem Gbadamosi

Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. Some mental health problems are described using words that are in everyday use, for example depression or anxiety. This can make them seem easier to understand, but can also mean people underestimate how serious they can be.

There are also a lot of different ideas about the way mental health problems are diagnosed, what causes them and which treatments are most effective. However, despite these challenges, it is possible to recover from a mental health problem and live a productive and fulfilling life. It is important to remember that, if you have a mental health problem, it is not a sign of weakness.

A mental health problem feels just as bad, or worse, than any other illness only you cannot see it. Although mental health problems are very common affecting around one in four people there is still stigma and discrimination towards people with mental health problems, as well as many myths about what different diagnoses mean.

Then, what is Mental Health? The World Health Organization (WHO) has defined mental health as a state of well-being 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.

Mental health is the emotional and spiritual resilience that enables us to enjoy life and survive pain, disappointment, and sadness. It is a positive sense of wellbeing and an underlying belief in our own and others self-worth. (Health Education Authority, UK, 1997)

What causes mental health problems? According to Mind for Better Mental Health Journal (2014) : Understanding Mental Health Problem Journal , mental health problems can have a wide range of causes. In most cases, no one is sure precisely what the cause of a particular problem is. We can often point to things that trigger a period of poor mental health but some people tend to be more deeply affected by these things than others.

The following factors could potentially trigger a period of poor mental health:
childhood abuse, trauma, violence or neglect,
social isolation, loneliness or discrimination
the death of someone close to you
stress, homelessness or poor housing,
social disadvantage, poverty or debt
unemployment, caring for a family member or friend
a long-term physical health condition
significant trauma as an adult, such as military combat, being involved in a serious accident or being the victim of a violent crime physical causes for example, a head injury or a condition such as epilepsy can have an impact on behaviour and mood (it is important to rule out causes such as this before seeking further treatment for a mental health problem) genetic factors there are genes that cause physical illnesses, so there may be genes that play a role in the development of mental health problems.

This article was first published on Rotary District 9110 Governors Newsletter (January 2018 edition)
Rotn. TM Akeem Gbadamosi, M.Sc. Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management. Managing Partner, First-Goldmine Consulting (An Human Resource Management and Development Services Firm).

He is a member of Rotary Club of Ijebu-Ife Sunrise and also belong to Merit Toastmasters of Lagos. He blogs on Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management and Organizational Behaviour at For questions: Mobiles: 08056211153

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