The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of full physical, psychological and social wellbeing, not just a lack of illness. A healthy human realizes their own potential and is able to deal with normal stressful situations in life, works productively and beneficially and is able to contribute to their community.
The stigma and discrimination against patients and their families could deter people from seeking help for their mental health.
Misunderstanding mental health is not uncommon. Despite the existence of effective therapy for mental disorders, there is still a belief that they are incurable and people who suffer from them have low intelligence and are unable to make decisions by themselves. This stigma can lead to violence, rejection and isolation, which can get in the way of finding mental health care and support. In the healthcare system, people frequently get treated in institutions which look more like human warehouses than places for healing (2).
The fast tempo of everyday life often gives us challenges which, at a certain point, we may not be able to overcome. Many people who suffer from an overload of stress, anxiety, depression, phobias do not consider how damaging those states of mind can be on a personal, familial and professional level if they are not dealt with on time. It is important to note that this is NOT necessarily pathological and not all cases of depression end up with hospitalization. Discomfort is reason enough to see a psychologist when it interferes with our personal or social life.
Many social, psychological and biological factors determine the level of mental health of any person at any given time. For example, violence or constant socioeconomic pressure are risk factors. The strongest evidence is linked to sexual violence. Fragile mental health is also associated with rapid social changes, high stress levels in the workplace, gender discrimination, social isolation, an unhealthy lifestyle, physical illness and endangered human rights. Various individual characteristics also make people more likely to develop mental health issues. These psychological problems could also be linked to genetics (3). Some methods of improving mental health include:
Psychotherapy – a broad term encompassing psychological methods of healing;
Art therapy – focuses on the artistic process or analysis of expression during interaction between the client and the therapist;
Medicinal therapy – uses various medications;
Meditation – uses techniques like mindfulness, focusing on a specific object, thought or activity. Meditation trains attention and consciousness to achieve a psychologically clear, emotionally calm and stable state of being;
Physical exercise – influential to production of various hormones, some of which are responsible for mood changes (4).
Assigning therapy for more serious issues requires a specialist who keeps track of progress and amends the treatment when needed. It is also important to mention that dealing with these kinds of psychological problems can take a few weeks to a few months and requires the client’s full cooperation both for following the recommended tasks and maintaining mental heath after the therapy is over.
Since LGTBI+ people are under more stress, they are at a higher risk of developing psychological problems related to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and behavior. Part of the reason for that is rooted in discrimination, violence and rejection from a family and friend circle. Homosexuality is not a psychological illness and is not included in the diagnostic manuals – International Classification of Diseases 10 and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5. This section focuses on various unhealthy mental conditions, the reason behind them, why it is important to pay attention to them and who to turn to if we recognize them in ourselves. The articles aim to make us pay attention to specific issues and act as a guide. The smartest decision to make if we feel worried, depressed or under a lot of stress which gets in the way of normal everyday life is to consult a specialist, be it a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist.
This article is part of the project ‘Healthy, Brave and Proud: a Mental Health Support Program for LGBTI Youth’, which aims to provide support and raise awareness about mental health within the LGBTI community. The project is financed by the TELUS International Bulgaria Community Board.
Sources: World Health Organization. (2014). Mental health: a state of well-being. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/ [Accessed 10 May 2019]. World Health Organization. (n.d.). 10 FACTS ON MENTAL HEALTH. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/mental_health_facts/en/index5.html [Accessed 10 May 2019]. World Health Organization. (2018). Mental health: strengthening our response. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response [Accessed 10 May 2019]. En.wikipedia.org. (2019). Mental health. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mental_health [Accessed 15 May 2019].