Mental Health Problems and how we can Prevent them in our Lives and Society

Mental health challenges are known issues globally. What have you heard about mental health? Do you know the statistics on mental health issues in your country? Do you know people suffering from any mental health problems?

Well, mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being; and it controls how we think, feel and behave. Also, how we relate to others, handle stress, and make choices is determined by our mental health.

Mental health problems

Mental problems or mental health disorders include a wide range of health conditions that affect our thinking, mood, and behavior. Many people in the world have mental health issues from time to time. For instance, it has been estimated that approximately 26% of Americans aged 18 and above representing 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health problems each year (1). Also, about 1 million people live with mental health disorders and 75% in low-income countries do not receive needed care and treatment. Committing suicide is common among people with severe mental health disorders (2).

Common Symptoms of Mental Health Problems

The signs and symptoms of mental health problems vary depending on the disorder, and the circumstances, among other factors.  Some of the signs and symptoms are:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Problems sleeping
  • Confused thinking
  • Excessive fears or worries
  • Sex drive changes
  • Problems understanding
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Excessive anger, hostility, or violence
  • Suicidal thinking


What are the factors responsible for mental health issues?

The same way the signs and symptoms of mental health problems could vary, the canker has a wide range of causes. Most people may suffer from a complicated combination of factors. In fact, everyone is at risk of being affected by these factors at one stage of their lives. The following factors could lead to mental health problems.

  • Loneliness
  • Child abuse
  • Experiencing discrimination and stigma
  •  Severe or long-term stress
  • Having long-term or poor physical health
  • Domestic violence
  • Bullying or other abuse as an adult
  • Homelessness
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Unemployment or loss of one's job
  • Losing a loved one
  • Physical causes such as head injury
  • Inherited traits

How to take care of your Mental Health

Since everyone is at risk of getting a mental health problem, it is important to try and prevent it before it starts. As the saying goes ’Prevention is better than cure.’ We all have mental health problems that change depending on the events happening in our lives each day. You can take care of your mental health by doing the following:

Expressing your feelings

When you talk about your feelings to relatives or friends, they can help you get rid of negative feelings. Having someone listening to you can help you feel supported, loved, and less alone with any problems.

Take adequate sleep at night

 Sleep and mental health go hand in hand. Constant poor sleep can affect your mental well-being and mental health problems can result in poor sleep. To avoid this, you must ensure that you get a good sleep for at least 8 hours each night.

Be physically active

Constantly engaging in physical activity would not only help your body but your mind as well. Be involved in different exercises at least three times a week. You can perform basic exercises such as walking or dancing for at least thirty minutes.

Stay connected with friends and family

Keeping in touch with friends and family members could help you deal with everyday stress. You should also be mindful of the type of friends you allow into your lives because the quality of friendship is more crucial than the number.

Care for others

 Letting go of grudges or volunteering can also help relieve issues lingering in your mind and as well avoid mental health problems.

The Societal inputs to help prevent Mental health Problems

Society can play a very crucial role in ensuring people maintain good mental health. To ensure this, these are some steps to take.

  1. Educating people to understand and manage their emotions. This public awareness can be done through the media either on radio or television by designing special programs for this course.
  2. Protecting children from trauma. Children identified as being abused or traumatized should be appropriately protected from their abusers through special laws.
  3. Caring for people with suicidal thoughts. Society can establish counseling bodies so that people with suicidal thoughts can visit for help. Also, people should volunteer to help care for those with such thoughts or better still send them to appropriate places for counseling.
  4. Helping people to recover and look after themselves.  Victims of mental health disorders should be given special attention as they recover fully. They should not be stigmatized.
  5. Reducing loneliness for older people. Older people always need people to be around to talk with. It is essential that people, especially the younger ones in society always find some little time to talk to them and give them the support that they need.
  6. Helping parents nurture their children. Society must create an environment that makes children feel a sense of belonging.

Written by: Joel Awinzure Agumah