Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It is all about how people think, feel, and behave. People sometimes use the term “mental health” to mean the absence of a mental disorder.
Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health.
However, this link also works in the other direction. Factors in people’s lives, interpersonal connections, and physical factors can all contribute to mental health disruptions.
Looking after mental health can preserve a person’s ability to enjoy life. Doing this involves reaching a balance between life activities, responsibilities, and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.
Conditions such as stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect mental health and disrupt a person’s routine.
Although the term mental health is in common use, many conditions that doctors recognize as psychological disorders have physical roots.
In this article, we explain what people mean by mental health and mental illness. We also describe the most common types of mental disorders, including their early signs and how to treat them
Risk factors for mental health conditions
Everyone has some risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter their age, sex, income, or ethnicity.
In the U.S. and much of the developed world, mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability.
Social and financial circumstances, biological factors, and lifestyle choices can all shape a person’s mental health.
A large proportion of people with a mental health disorder have more than one condition at a time.
It is important to note that good mental health depends on a delicate balance of factors and that several elements of life and the world at large can work together to contribute to disorders.
The following factors may contribute to mental health disruptions.
Continuous social and economic pressure
Having limited financial means or belonging to a marginalized or persecuted ethnic group can increase the risk of mental health disorders.
A 2015 studyTrusted Source of 903 families in Iran identified several socioeconomic causes of mental health conditions, including poverty and living on the outskirts of a large city.
The researchers also explained the difference in the availability and quality of mental health treatment for certain groups in terms of modifiable factors, which can change over time, and nonmodifiable factors, which are permanent.
Modifiable factors for mental health disorders include:
- socioeconomic conditions, such whether work is available in the local area
- a person’s level of social involvement
- housing quality
Nonmodifiable factors include:
The study lists gender as both a modifiable and nonmodifiable factor. The researchers found that being female increased the risk of low mental health status by 3.96 times.
People with a “weak economic status” also scored highest for mental health conditions in this study.