Mental Health

Mental Health

Mental Illness
Mental Illness

Mental Health

Mental health affects all age groups and ethnic groups, however people respond differently to stressors. Diane Hales and Robert Hales (1995) defined mental health as:
the capacity to think rationally and logically, and to cope with the transitions, stresses, traumas, and losses that occur in all lives, in ways that allow emotional stability and growth. In general, mentally healthy individuals value themselves, perceive reality as it is, accept its limitations and possibilities, respond to its challenges, carry out their responsibilities, establish and maintain close relationship... (p. 34)
Mental illness are caused by various factors and affects every aspect of the patients’ daily living and with appropriate use of interventions they will be able to live normal lives.(Tigist)
Some causes of mental illnesses have a genetic origin; however, environmental, psychosocial, and economic factors play an important role too. The lack of social and intellectual stimulation has also been shown to cause mental disorder. Ortega and Larson (2001) noted that “members of the lower class experience more stressful life events and more chronic strains” (p.4). According to Bauer and Hill (2000), brain studies showed that mental illness may be associated with the amount of neurotransmitters available in the brain: decreased dopamine may cause depression; dopamine was found in excess in people with schizophrenia; norepinephrine and serotonin imbalance appear to be involved in anxiety (p.13). “Sociologists have commonly assumed that rates of mental disorders are higher in urban than in rural areas” (Ortega and Larson, 2001, p.7). (Christina)
Mental health problems affect many factors in patients’ lives. One of these factors is their personal relationships especially outside of their home as they are often stigmatized as violent. “A study conducted by the Ontario Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association in 1993-1994 found that the most prevalent misconception about mental illness is the belief that mental patients are dangerous and violent” (Arboleda-Florez, 2003). However, sometimes, violence is not caused by the person’s mental health, but rather, other external factors such as substance abuse. “Alcohol or drug use can serve as a means to avoid or minimize the impact of traumatic life events, while for others it can be a way to ‘self-medicate’, alleviating distress and symptoms associated with untreated illness” (Mental Health and Social Exclusion, 2003). This substance abuse often inevitably results in uncontrolled violent behaviour which causes society to think that mentally ill people are just naturally violent due to their illness. (Maureen)
Many patients with mental disorders struggle with poor coping, communication and socialization skills. This results in inappropriate behavioural, cognitive and emotional responses. Therapeutic interventions such as music, art, medications and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) offer different approaches to strengthen these skills and improve behaviour. According to James Harris (2007), music and art allow people to explore their feelings and make positive changes in their mood. Art helps people express hidden emotions, reduce stress, fear and anxiety, and provide a sense of freedom (Harris 399). Medications such as Zoloft and Zyprexa help enhance the person’s quality of life (Mosby’s Drug Guide, p.631, 781). In addition, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy allows individuals to alter their emotions and even improve their symptoms by re-evaluating their attitudes, thought patterns and interpretations of events. (Michelle)
In conclusion, mental health describes the way an individual reacts to their environment, and their internal well-being. Trauma, genetic factors, and chemical imbalances can induce problems with an individual’s mental health causing mental disorders. The life of an individual with a mental disorder can be tremendously impacted within relationships and the stigma. With continued research, many interventions have been found that help to eliminate symptoms that come with the disorders and in time will hopefully find a cure. (Tigist)

Look at me.
Look at me.

Arboleda-Florez, J.(2003). Considerations on the Stigma of Mental Illness. The Canadian
Journal of Psychiatry. 48(10): 645-650.
Bauer, B. & Hill, S. (2000). Mental health nursing: an introductory text. Philadelphia, PA, USA:
Hales, D., and Hales, R. E. (1995). Caring for the Mind: The Comprehensive Guide to Mental
Health. New York: Bantam Books.
Harris, J. C. (2007). The Art Critic. Archieve of General Psychiatry. 64:398-399
Holmes, E.A., Arntz, A., Smucker, M.R. (2007). Imagery rescripting in cognitive behaviour therapy: Images, treatment techniques and outcomes. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 38(4), p297-305.
Mental Health and Social Exclusion: Crisis’s response to a consultation request from the Social Exclusion Unit. (2003).
Retrieved from
Mosby's (2005). Drug Guide for Nurses (6th ed.). St. Louis: Missouri USA.
Ortega, S. & Larson, S. (2001). Mental illness and mental disorders (2nd ed.). Encyclopaedia of
Sociology. New York: Macmillan Reference USA.

Mental Health Websites:


Project Manager: Maureen
Editor: Christina
Multimedia Lead: Michelle
Design Lead: Tigist
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