Mental Illness Awareness Week: What Is Mental Health?

what is mental health

Mental Illness Awareness Week serves as a poignant reminder of the invisible battles many people face daily. At Amend Wellness, we work to foster understanding and reduce the stigma around mental health. To commemorate this week, let’s unravel the complexities of mental health, highlighting the distinctions between mental wellness and mental health challenges, and shedding light on the most prevalent conditions.

Mental Health Definition

At its core, mental health refers to your emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, playing a crucial role in determining how you handle stress, relate to others and make decisions.

Mental wellness does not merely imply the absence of mood or personality disorders. A mentally healthy person exhibits emotional resilience, can cope with life’s challenges, works productively and contributes to their community. They maintain relationships, set boundaries and seek help when needed. Mental wellness is an ongoing process, often nurtured by a supportive environment, self-awareness and coping strategies.

In contrast, experiencing a mental health challenge doesn’t equate to a perpetual state of dysfunction. However, conditions like depression, anxiety or PTSD can interfere with your daily life, relationships or physical health. It’s essential to understand that these conditions often stem from complex interplays of biological, environmental and psychological factors.

Prevalent Mental Health Conditions in the U.S.

To understand the complexities of mental health, it’s essential to recognize the most common conditions impacting countless Americans today.

  1. Depression: Characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities, fatigue and feelings of worthlessness, depression is more than a fleeting blue mood – it’s a profound struggle that can affect every facet of life.
  2. Anxiety disorders: This group includes generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder. Symptoms range from excessive worrying to heart palpitations, sweating, trembling or feelings of impending doom.
  3. Post-traumatic stress disorder: Often associated with military veterans, PTSD can affect anyone who has undergone a traumatic event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety and unwelcome thoughts.
  4. Bipolar disorder: This condition’s characteristics include mood episodes that range from periods of extreme highs (mania) to lows (depression).
  5. Schizophrenia: This chronic and severe mental disorder affects thoughts, feelings and behavior. It may result in hallucinations, delusions and thought disorders.
  6. Obsessive-compulsive disorder: OCD consists of two components: distressing ideas, followed by specific actions taken to neutralize them. These behaviors only provide temporary relief, which traps people in an ongoing cycle of having unpleasant thoughts and trying to control them.

Mental Health Treatment for Optimal Well-Being

Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and acceptance is the first step to recovery. Mental Illness Awareness Week is a reminder of how many people live with these conditions and why they deserve empathy and compassion. At Amend Wellness, we stand alongside those living with mental health conditions, ensuring guidance, support and healing are always accessible. Our mission is to provide comprehensive support, allowing every client to regain their optimal state of well-being and thrive in their daily lives. Reach out to us when you’re ready to learn more.