The World Health Organisation states that there is No health without mental health and gives mental health great importance in promoting our health and wellbeing. Mental health actually means our ability to create self-awareness, positive thinking, our ability to recognise stress and strain in our daily lives, and our ability to manage it well. In everyday life many people talk about coping with the stress and strain. Good mental health is about effective and good management of our positive and negative thoughts, emotions and our actions or behaviour.
Good mental health helps us to overcome and manage stress, anxiety, our anger and aggression, our sadness and feeling of depression and a whole lot of negative thinking and emotions that affect our everyday life. Good mental health helps us to create that inner strength and capacity in ourselves to create that self-awareness, understanding and developing our abilities to withstand the stress and stress and all the negativity that affect our thoughts, feelings and behaviour, not just in our personal lives, but in our family, work and social life as well.
When we talk about our mental health, we are talking about our mental wellbeing: our emotions, our thoughts and our feelings, our ability to solve problems happening in our everyday life. Mental wellbeing also means how we overcome difficulties, how we deal with our social connections and our understanding of the family, friends and the world around us. People from all sections of the society including people from rural and urban communities, and people minority communities such as transgender or LGBQ have the ability to create this mental wellbeing.
Due the lack of awareness and understanding of the needs of people with mental illness, they experience severe obstacles and abuses in their life. This include: (1) high levels of physical and sexual abuse, which occurs in hospitals and prisons; (2) their political and civil rights are restricted due the assumption that people with mental health conditions are not able to carry out their responsibilities, manage their own affairs and make decisions about their lives; (3) due the lack of understanding of mental illness, they are not able to participate fully in their communities; (4) inability to access the right kind of help and treatment not just for their mental illness, but also for their general health problems or conditions; (5) lack of access to emergency services if it is required at any time in their life.
Good mental health is not about feeling happy and confident 100% at all times and ignoring all the problems and difficulties in our daily lives. It is about living well and having the ability to manage these problems and difficulties. Mental health interventions are still typically dominated by deficit-based models of theory and practice; supporting literacy and awareness requires a shift away from these deficit-based models to more a positive and ability-centred approaches.
Our culture shapes the way we think and it plays a major influence on how we think about mental health and mental illness and also influence our help seeking. India is a country with rich and diverse culture, traditions, belief and faiths. Culture and society influence the understanding of mental health, and mental illness, and thus the availability and acceptability of mental health services. Culture also plays a significant role in what types of help people seek, what coping styles and social supports they have, and how much stigma they attach to mental illness. The attitudes and behaviour concerning mental illness often differ markedly in urban and rural communities.
Mental Health Literacy (MHL) is proposed as a means of enhancing tolerance, self-care, care for others and to reduce stigma. MHL is defined as ‘knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders which aid their recognition, management or prevention’ (Jorm et al, 1997). Jorm and colleagues (2000) identify six components of MHL, including: (1) the ability to recognise specific disorders or different types of psychological distress; (2) knowledge about risk factors and causes; (3) knowledge about self-help interventions; (4) knowledge about professional help available; (5) attitudes which facilitate recognition, and (6) knowledge of how to seek mental health information
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