What is meant by ‘Mental Health’?
There are no official terms in regards to the definition “what is mental health, however, mental health is different levels of psychological well-being within an individual. It reflects on different factors including how people think, feel, and behave in general and achieve their own individual targets and goals.
Examples of good mental health could be:
- Healthy thinking
- Cope with ordinary moments in life
- Healthy perception
- Ability to function everyday
What are the components of mental well-being?
Components of mental well-being would mean you can with no problem: Think positive and have high self-esteem. Feel and discuss emotions and work productively.
With this in mind there here are 7 components of mental well-being
1 A good up bringing as a child
2 Employment has many positive benefits
3 Financially stable
4 Genetic inheritance
5 Individual ability to cope with pressure
6 Social support
7 Access to healthcare upon request
What are the risk factors associated with developing mental health problems
Risk factors within mental health may have certain factors that can increase the risk of developing a mental illness, or anything that could increase the development of mental health problems
Not been able to deal with everyday life, being isolated, a family or relationship breakdown or losing a loved one. unemployment or general poor quality of life can all be risk factors.
Mental health problems could stem from many different ways, such as individual’s vulnerability, lack of self-esteem, family, social factors, financial problems, prejudice and community factors. They come in the form of serious mental health and mid mental health
Examples of mental health problems
Here is some examples of common mental health illness and the severity
- A history of mental illness in the family – this is hereditary, either from parents or siblings
- Stressful life situations, such as death to a family member, financial issues, death or divorce.
- Medical condition, such as diabetes maybe caused by obesity or the opposite could be having an eating disorder
Anxiety or Depression.
Anxiety is a feeling of discomfort and sadness. People can worry about many different situations whether in personal life or work. An example could be one individual may feel anxious about sitting an exam, another individual could be feeling anxious about a medical condition.
This is a case where an individual will have different mood swings, such as high self-esteem one day and low self-esteem the next. This could also lead into depression or personality disorder.
This could be a relapsing episode of psychosis. Symptoms include often hearing voices, delusions or disorganised thinking and confusion. Other symptoms could include war PTDS or witnessing serious accident or incidences
How mental health care has changed.
Mental health has significantly changed over the last seventy years. Since the closure of the old asylums allowing care into the community and not having to go to hospital, and the increase to use of talk therapies to reduce entrenchment of psychological problems
During the early 20th century, asylums were isolated particularly in rural areas and treatment was drugs and baths as a method calming mental illness.
The use of community care in mental health was introduced in the 1950’s / 60”s and the mental health act 1959 abolished the distinction between psychiatric hospitals and other types of hospitals in order to develop community based care.
During the 1970’s psychiatric hospitals was slowly discredited and by the 1980’s saw the mental health act 1983 set out new legislations to allow people to appeal against committal.
In the 1990’s till present, the national health service and community care act 1990 states it’s the legal duty for local authorities to assess individuals for social care and offer the appropriate support.
Since this time society has become more accepting of mental health and more supportive of people with any mental health issues.
What are the impact of the changes in mental health care?
As previously mentioned, the biggest and most successful change is that people are more and more accepting mental health problems and becoming more supportive of individuals that have mental health issues. People are also more aware of common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression and are more forward in talking to health professionals to help seek treatment.
examples of professional health care roles that have an impact on the delivery of mental health care in the community include but not subject to;
Your community / local GP
In the first instance contact your GP immediately if you’re concerned about any mental health problems you may be accruing.
Community mental health nurses and psychiatric nurses
A team of full y trained nurses working in the community. The main objective is to help people with mental health and offer the appropriate medication support. This could be on a day-to-day or weekly basis
Social workers are key for vital information in regards to information advice and guidance – this could be, what support there is in the local community, day centres, homing issues or welfare help.
Psychiatric social workers
Will offer a further level of support to people and families who are in long term crises
Health visitors are fully training and qualified nurses that work in the community. They help people with a mental illness to continue to live in their home or supported accommodation.
Occupational therapists work in specialist mental health units or day hospitals / community centres and offer support through the therapeutic use of day activities. This can help individuals to either develop, recover or improve mental health issues.
What are difficulties individuals with mental health problems may face in day to day living?
Individuals suffering with more severe forms of mental illness generally have smaller social involvement than others and have larger social involvement such as family members, friends
Individuals suffering with mental health problems often anticipate rejection from other people because of the stigma associated with mental health.
Certain individuals will face more difficulties than others with mental health problems and may face some of the following on a day to day basis, and individual may also isolate themselves to avoid socialising.
A person deliberately physically harms themselves. This might include this such as head banging on floors, walls or other surfaces, hand or arm biting, hair pulling, eye gouging, face or head slapping, skin picking, scratching or pinching, forceful head shaking or cutting.
People feel suicidal for a variety of reasons and people who suffer with schizophrenia or bipolar are more common to attempt suicide that others with mental health problems.
People who suffer from things such as depression or anxiety may not be able to work and not generate an income and then it becomes harder to find employment and employers seem to be less reluctant to consider anyone with mental health problems for employment. This them becomes a stigma and mental health suffers more
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a diagnosis given to people who develop a certain set of symptoms following a traumatic event, such as a war veteran or witness a serious accident.
With suicide evidence has shown that people who suffer with Schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder illness are more likely to try and commit suicide when they are feeling at a low point of depression. More evidence is showing that suicide is on the rise with ex armed forces personal who are suffering from PTSD.
Food and obesity
People who suffer from overweight tend to have increase of blood pressure and possible diabetes and can lead to depression. On the flip side, Anorexia is an eating disorder where you feel you need to keep your weight down, generally in young females who follow celebrities and they could be in danger of becoming Schizophrenia.
Different individuals suffer from different types of personality disorder. Some people with a personality disorder may appear remote and some will be emotional, and some odd or unusual. The one thing they have in common is that their symptoms are severe enough to affect many different areas of life and without community treatment can lead to further mental health problems such as depression or anxiety.
Drug and alcohol
Drugs abuse can affect the lives of those caught up in it and also loved ones. It will affect health, relationships, and employment. Recognising there is a problem with drugs is an important first step in seeking help and treatment. Regular use of drugs can lead to a drug addiction and give further mental health problems and even homeless.
Alcohol consumption on a regular basis will affect the brain which is vital for good mental health. in the long run alcohol has an impact on mental health and can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, and make stress harder to deal with.
What are the social and cultural attitudes to mental illness regrading discrimination and stereotyping?
The social stigma attached to mental health and the discrimination some people receive can make their mental health worse or make it harder to recover. People suffering with mental health often come from deprived backgrounds or disadvantage areas and are often judged with discrimination and stereotyping.
Many people still have prejudice to people suffering mental health illnesses such as bipolar, schizophrenia and drug and alcohol users. Society feels people who suffer with depression and anxiety are difficult to communicate with, and this just shows that society still make judgement where mental health is concerned.
With this said, with the move to community-based care and the social understanding in today’s world of mental health is leading to a more positive attitude and many people within society know someone with a mental health problem.
The Equality Act 2010 explains what discrimination is and if someone has been treated unfairly because of a mental illness that could be discrimination. Anyone suffering with any mental health problems may have more harmful effects of mental health if been discriminated. Many people with the illness may also isolated and even a victim of bullying.
Research from “mind for better mental health” shows from their recent survey done in UK to measure the number of people who have different types of mental health problems reported these figures:
- Generalised anxiety disorder5.9 in 100 people
- Depression 3.3 in 100 people
- Phobias 2.4 in 100 people
- OCD 1.3 in 100 people
- Panic disorder 0.6in 100 people
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 4.4 in 100 people
Many people suffering from mental health may also suffer from been stereotype. Stereotype is a mistaken concept by many people about someone or something or based on how they look on the outside. “never judge a book by its cover” to Stereotype someone with mental health is a type of prejudice.
How is mental illness portrayed by the media?
Many of the public actually rely on the media for their own perceptions of those who suffer with mental health problems.
Mental health is most often wrongly portrayed by the media this includes films, magazines, and news programs. So often they stereotype people with mental health mentally as being violent or unpredictable or even suicidal. In particular films such as;
- One that few of the cockoo nest
- Mad to be normal
- And many more
Mental Health Awareness | First Aid
Sadly, at many times the media portrays people suffering with mental health as they only have themselves to blame for their condition, which is misrepresentations of reality and completely not true. Theses give the image of mental health and decides the public’s perception that all people with mental health are stereotype.
Studies consistently show that the news and media provide distorted images of mental health that emphasise people as either dangerousness, criminals or instability.
This has had a huge roll on effect in the belief in the general public that people suffering with mental health problems are out of control and should be feared and avoided.
Research has shown that negative views of individuals with mental illness are directly proportional to the time spent in watching television. Regular viewers hold more negative views compared to those who watch television for very short period.
Within the general public this can encourage discrimination, stereotyping, and cause people to be scared and cause prejudice. Many soap operas are now raising awareness in a supportive way based on real life scenarios and give advice at the end of the program on how to contact support and help. Also, local media uses posters on buses, taxi etc, television and the radio raise awareness.
What is the impact that social and cultural attitudes to mental illness can have on individuals?
Regardless of gender, age or ethnicity, our culture influences our own beliefs about mental health and our attitudes towards people who suffer with mental health. Much negatively in the public’s eyes can cause either physical or psychological effects to those suffering with mental health.
For example, if you live in a community area that disapproves certain aspects of your culture like identity or sexual orientation this will have a negative impact on a person’s mental health.
People with mental health conditions may feel they will be stigmatised, excluded or discriminated against, because of this they may not wish to reach out to anyone in order to seek help. This would then make the situation worse as their maybe no support network, and the problem cannot be lessened. It could also lead to social services or care providers reducing the care required which would in turn cause further issues.
As previously mentioned in an earlier unit, many people suffering with mental health illness come from deprived backgrounds therefore stigma and discrimination can also worsen someone’s mental health problems, the impact of social isolation, poor housing hygiene and unemployment are all linked to mental health problems. So, stigma and discrimination can trap people in a cycle of illness.
What are the legislation in relation to mental health illness?
The Mental Health Act 1983:
At the time of this unit the government is making changes to the law to manage Covid-19 and its been reported to be up to date with all changes known to be in force on or before 29 May 2020.
This act dealt with the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health condition and their compulsory admission to hospital.
The Data Protection Act 1998:
This act is in place to provide safeguarding and confidential information about individuals either stored as hard copies or electronic.
The Human Rights Act 1998:
This act protects a range of human rights and ensures people are treated equal under the European Convention on human rights
The Equality Act 2010:
This act consolidated all previous anti-discrimination laws under one act, making it easier for people comply with the law. This includes age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
Care Act 2014:
This act introduced new responsibilities and duties for local authorities, the impacted-on service users, care providers, carers and employees within the care sector.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005:
It protects people who don’t have the capacity to make decisions for themselves due to mental health illnesses.
What legal provisions are in place for individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves due to mental health problems?
The introduction of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 give protection to people who lost their capacity in making their own decisions.
The Act produced five principles which are:
- Assume Capacity
- Support with Decision Making
- Unwise Decisions
- Best Interests
- Limit Restrictions
The Act also allows people to plan ahead for the future if they lack the capacity to make their own decisions they can choose someone to do this for them such as a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
In relation to individuals with mental health problems, what are the legal issues?
The NHS has guidelines and policies relating to confidentiality of health information, this will be included in the NHS code of practice.
This will be based on legal requirements and best practice set out by the required standards of practice concerning confidentiality in relation to patients consenting to use their mental health records.
The Caldicott Report 1997 was carried out as an investigation into the handling of patient information with the health service. This was commissioned following concerns about patient confidentiality, six principles were identified:
- Workers must be able to justify the purpose of shading patient information
- Patient information should only be used if there is no alternative
- Workers should only record the minimum patient information
- Access to patient information should be restricted to a need to know basis
- Everyone who has access to patient information must be aware of their responsibilities relating to confidentiality
- Everyone who has access to patient information must understand and comply with the law
The Data Protection Act controls how your personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government.
Everyone responsible for using data has to follow strict rules called ‘data protection principles’. They must make sure the information is:
- used fairly and lawfully
- used for limited, specifically stated purposes
- used in a way that is adequate, relevant and not excessive accurate
- kept for no longer than is absolutely necessary
- handled according to people’s data protection rights
- kept safe and secure
- not transferred outside the European Economic Area without adequate protection
This also applies to anyone who has a mental health condition, it safeguards the individual and gives them the right to know what information is held on them.
For any further questions on mental health or you like to book a mental health first aid course please contact us here and see our free risk assessments for mental health here
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