Mental health refers to our state of mind; it includes social, emotional, psychological well-being. It affects how we handle stress, the choices we make, and relate to others. It plays a massive role in how we feel, think, and act. As we grow from childhood, adolescence through adulthood, the importance of mental health becomes predominant.

If you experience mental health problems throughout your life, your thoughts, behaviour, and mood could be affected.  Many factors play considerable roles in psychiatric help problems; some of which are:

  • Life experiences: trauma or abuse are the two elements that trigger mental health deterioration.
  • Biological factors: these factors include brain chemistry or genes.
  • Family history: if you have it engraved in your family history, chances are it won’t stop anytime soon.

It affects our daily life, physical health, and relationships. Looking after your health will help preserve your ability to see the beauty of the world and enjoy it. Having a healthy mentality is about being able to balance your life activities, one’sone’s efforts to achieve psychological resilience, and the depth of our responsibilities.

Later on, we will discuss some mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and stress – all of which are capable of disrupting our daily lives.

You didn’t stumble on this piece, and you are not hearing the term “mental health” for the first time. The term “mental health” is commonly used, conditions which are recognized as psychological disorders by doctors. It is believed that these disorders can be traced to their physical roots.

In this piece, we explain what mental health and mental illness are. We also discuss the common types of mental disorders and some of the early signs and treatments.

What is mental health?

Taking excerpts from a published piece on the World Health Organization’s website:

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to contribute to his or her community.

The organization also emphasized the importance of preserving and restoring mental health on an individual basis. WHO also shines a spotlight on mental health on a global stage.

Why is mental health important?

Mental health is vital because it helps you to

  • Manage the stresses of life.
  • Work effectively.
  • Realize your full potential.
  • Become physically healthy.
  • Have quality relationships.
  • Make meaningful contributions to your community and the world at large.

Side Note:

In a published piece on Aljazeera back in 2019, stats showed that one in four Nigerians suffers from mental illness. Nigeria’s suicide rate place it15th in the world – this is according to recent data. Meanwhile, it is ranked seventh, with Lesotho having the highest suicidal rate. Unfortunately, while we rank seventh on the suicidal scale, we (Nigeria) have the highest caseload of depression. WHO estimates that there are less than 150 psychiatrists in this country with a population of 200 million.

In America, the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that at least 1 in 5 adults experiences mental health problems yearly.

Three years ago (2017), an estimated 11.2 million adults in the U.S, or about 4.5 of adults, had a severe psychological condition – this is according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Mental Health Disorder.

Health conditions involving slight or considerable changes in human thoughts, emotion, or behavior (or the combination of the three). These illnesses are associated with distress and issues functioning in work, family, or social activities. The good news is, mental illness is treatable. Some examples of mental illnesses are bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, or anxiety. These conditions may be occasional or chronic and will affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function daily.

Common mental health disorders.

Reiteratively, the most common types of mental illness are:

–         Phobias.

We refer to fear triggers are termed ”phobia”. But there are three types of phobias recognized by APA (American Psychiatric Association)

Doctors don’t know the different types of phobias. They are deeply personal, and there could be thousands of phobias right now. What might seem strange and unusual to one person may be a severe problem for another. These phobias include:

      1. Social Phobias.

Social phobias are also referred to as social anxiety. It is the fear of being subject to the judgment of others. People with this type of phobia often avoid social gatherings and restrict their exposure to social environments. The thoughts of large social groups are trembling. It shouldn’t be confused with shyness – they aren’t the same.

      2. Simple Phobias.

This includes the fear of scenarios, animals, or specific objects. A typical example of a simple phobia is the fear of spiders.

      3. Agoraphobia.

Agoraphobia is a fear of situations in which the chances of getting away are slim, such as airplanes, moving trains, or an elevator. This is not the same as the fear of being outside.

–         Mood disorders.

People with a mood disorder have significant changes in mood. This is a period of depression or high energy. Examples of mood disorders are bipolar disorders, seasonal affective disorder, major depression.

–         Psychosis.

People with this condition will find it difficult to recognize what is real and what is not. It disrupts human thoughts and perceptions.

–         Schizoaffective Disorder.

This condition involves symptoms of schizophrenia, such as delusions and hallucinations, combined with mood disorder symptoms, such as having manic or depressive episodes.

–         OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder).

People with the obsessive-compulsive disorder) have obsessions and compulsions. In simple terms, they experience constant thoughts and a strong urge to perform repetitive acts, such as plate washing.

–         Panic disorders.

The term is self-explanatory. People with this condition experience panic attacks on a regular basis. The attacks include sudden, overwhelming terror. It could also be a sense of imminent disaster and death.

–         Schizophrenia Disorders.

Whether or not schizophrenia is a single disorder or a group of closely related illnesses is still baffling to all mental health authorities. Its complexity is not in doubt. The signs of schizophrenia usually develop between the ages of 16 and 30; this is, according to NIMH.

What are the early signs of a mental health disorder?

woman crying

Though its hard to physically test or scan for symptoms of mental illness, you should learn to look out for early signs. Look out for the following symbols – when a person experiences one or more of these signs regularly, it may be classified as early signs of mental health disorder.

  • Not having enough rest or sleeping too much.
  • Not eating enough food or overeating.
  • Losing every ounce of care – like nothing matters or simply feeling numb.
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless.
  • Picking up unnecessary fights with family and friends.
  • Drinking, taking drugs, or smoking – overly doing these things.
  • Having fluctuating energy flows (low or high energy).
  • Having strange aches and pains.
  • Inability to perform the daily task efficiently.
  • Having warped thoughts of inflicting pain on one’s self.
  • Experiencing several mood swings which tends to cause problems in relationships.
  • Delusions
  • Taking mood-altering substances, including nicotine.
  • Regularly being in a state of confusion.

The Risk Factors for Mental health Conditions.

We are all at risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter your age, ethnicity, income, or sex.

In Nigeria, the U.S, and much of the developed world, mental disorders account for one of the leading causes of disability.

Your mental health is defined by social and financial circumstances, lifestyle choices, and biological factors. Most people with mental health disorders have at least two conditions at a time. It is vital to note that good mental health requires the right balance of factors, and several elements of life can contribute immensely to disorders.


These conditions are treatable, and improvement is possible. Having a mental disorder doesn’t spell doom for anyone, and the chances of a full recovery are high. Some mental health disorders are preventable.

Some mental illnesses are capable of mimicking medical conditions. For instance, depressive symptoms are similar to a thyroid condition. That’sThat’s why mental health diagnosis involves complete evaluation, including undergoing physical exams.

The underlying factor to people hiding their illnesses and avoid treatment is the stigma that stems from society. Some people with this condition would rather keep fighting on their own and bottle it up till it becomes chronic and untreatable. This is why the stigma needs to stop.

Some effects of mental illness.

a woman thinking

While mental illness is a leading cause of disability. Left untreated, it can cause severe behavioral, emotional, and physical health problems. Some of the complications linked to these conditions are:

  • Having financial and legal issues.
  • Medical conditions, such as heart disease.
  • Poverty.
  •  Homelessness.
  •  Family and friendship conflict.
  •  Low enthusiasm for living.
  •  Social isolation.
  • Substance abuse, such as drug addiction.
  • Having a weakened immune system.

How to prevent Mental health disorders.

Remember, there is no perfect way to prevent mental health disorders. But, if you are struggling with this disease, there are specific steps you can take to make sure it doesn’t get to the chronic stage. To keep it under control, consider the following steps:

–         Pay close attention to the early signs.

Paying attention to the early signs is vital to nipping it in the board. To do this, work with a medical professional or see a therapist learn more about your conditions. These professionals will show you the triggers of the symptoms. Contact your therapist or doctor as soon as you notice a change in symptoms.

–         Get regular medical care.

Still on getting medical help, do not neglect checkups. It is not the time to skip visits to your care provider. You have a medical condition that needs to be treated; neglecting checkups will only make matters worse. Whether it’s a reaction to medication or a change in symptoms, you should get routine medical care.

–         Take good care of yourself.

Nobody will take care of you as you would. Get enough rest, eat healthily, and make sure you are performing regular exercise, and while at it, maintain a regular schedule. See your primary care provider and discuss your health issues. And when you have questions concerning your diet and physical activity, ask the right questions.

Read Also: 10 Best Workouts for losing weight 

Proper Mental Health Hygiene.

To have proper mental health, you need to start taking conscious actions. Your well-being is significantly impacted by individual decisions, including your social relationships, level of productivity, ability to access necessities, and physical health. Our mental health differs; we all can benefit from performing activities that will positively affect our daily lives.

a woman meditating

  • 20 ways to improve your mental health

  1. Eat Well. (Read: 30 Foods that are super healthy)
  2. Regular exercise.
  3. Express your feelings.
  4. Avoid drinking too much. Never depend on alcohol to help you change your mood.
  5. Give yourself a break.
  6. Do what you enjoy.
  7. Self – love.
  8. Be kind to people.
  9. Go outside.
  10. Get enough sleep.
  11. Meditate.
  12. Use social media wisely. But unless your social media account is a business medium, we strongly recommend taking a break from your social media networks.
  13. It’s ok to worry.
  14. Stop sweating the small stuff.
  15. Keep records of what you are grateful for.
  16. Track your achievement with a journal.
  17. Don’tDon’t be scared to share.
  18. Paint.
  19. Laugh.
  20. Dance.


Can my mental health change over time?

Yes! over time, your mental health can change. For example, having a financial problem may be why you are down mentally, taking care of a sick relative, or managing a chronic disease. The situation may be overwhelming for you. Unless you see a therapist, this might spiral down into something worse. On the other hand, getting therapy will help you reduce the pain and heal you.

What should I do if I think I have a mental problem?

Get help, if you don’t know how to go about it, contact a medical professional.


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