Mental Health: what are the most common problems and how to care?

According to the Paraná Department of Health, having mental health means being well with yourself and other people, accepting the demands of life, knowing how to deal with the emotions that are part of it and understanding your personal limits, to know when help is needed.

In the course of life, anyone can be affected by mental health problems of greater or lesser severity.

We will talk a little more about mental health in order to clarify some doubts on the subject.


What is mental health?

The World Health Organization states that there is no exact definition of what mental health is. The term aims to measure the level of cognitive (psychological function that acts in the acquisition of knowledge) and emotional quality of life. The absence of mental disorders does not necessarily mean the balance of mental health.

For the Paraná Department of Health, mental (or psychic) ​​health is the emotional balance between the person’s interior and the exterior that surrounds them. It is the ability to control one’s own life and emotions.

It is being able to appreciate life and try to live it to the full, respecting yourself and others.

The Secretariat of Health also identifies some mental health criteria such as positive attitudes, personal development and fulfillment, autonomy, determination, perception of reality and capacity for social adaptation.

Who takes care of mental health?

Those who take care of mental health are professionals in the areas of psychology and psychiatry. These specialties are indicated for specific therapies and orientations, but mental health involves all areas of health.

These professionals investigate the reasons linked to mental disorders or disorders in patients and can diagnose possible diseases, as well as initiate the appropriate treatment for each situation.

One specialty does not replace the other, and they often work together.

While professionals in psychology work with psychoanalytic, cognitive behavioral or other areas, psychiatric specialists work with medications.

In other words, psychologists cannot prescribe drugs, but psychiatrists – because they have a medical background – can.

In general, these are options used when the person is already in need of clinical intervention. However, it is worth remembering that taking care of mental health involves family and professional well-being, good nutrition and the practice of regular activities.

What are the most frequent mental health problems?

It is estimated that for every 100 people, 30 go through some intense mental suffering at some point in life. In addition, approximately 12 have some serious mental illness.

Depression and anxiety are among the most common, in addition to conditions of intense and prolonged stress , panic syndrome and Burnout syndrome.

Still quite common, there are other problems such as:

  • Psychological malaise: discomfort, disturbance and indisposition without specific cause;
  • Continued stress : constant situations of emotional overload that destabilize the person and can cause psychosomatic problems that are also reflected in the body;
  • Chemical and alcohol dependence : chronic disease that develops after repeated use of a substance;
  • Psychotic disorders : such as schizophrenia, which is a disorder that affects the ability to think, feel and behave clearly;
  • Mental retardation: intellectual performance below average;
  • Dementia: group of symptoms characterized by abnormal functioning of at least two brain functions, such as memory and the ability to understand and reason.

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What is the difference between disorder and mental disorder?

Mental disorder is characterized by a psychological and behavioral disorder, causing suffering and psychological malaise. The mental disorder is a dysfunction in the central nervous system of the brain, which leads to an imbalance and change in behavior.

We can understand, then, the disorder as an abnormal health condition, but not necessarily linked to a disease.

It can result from a bad adaptation to certain situations, which ends up altering mental processes.

As for the disorder, it can be said that it is an irregularity in the functions of an organ or system, being, therefore, a kind of psychic disorder.

What are the causes of mental problems?

Mental problems can be caused by an interaction of several hereditary, biological, psychological, social and cultural factors.

Research shows that hereditary factors are quite relevant, as people with a genetic predisposition become more vulnerable to mental problems. In addition, factors such as work or family-related stress can trigger a disorder.

Experts believe that dysfunctions in neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that transport, stimulate and balance signals between neurons), can also contribute to mental health disorders.

This can be seen in imaging diagnostics, such as MRI and tomography, which usually show changes in the brain.

The conflicts and painful situations that we have to face during life cannot be classified as illnesses, unless they are prolonged and last for a long time or have a high intensity.

What can we do to improve mental health?

To improve mental health, it is necessary to understand that it is not just a diagnosis, but an ability to manage feelings and deal with everyday challenges. Therefore, the person can also help themselves and make some changes of habit in order to improve mental health, such as:

  • Avoid the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes and medications without a prescription;
  • Do not use drugs, as they alter the functioning of the central nervous system;
  • Set aside leisure time;
  • Having a hobby , an activity that is pleasurable;
  • Maintain friendships and coexistence with family members;
  • Maintain good eating habits;
  • Sleep well;
  • Practice physical activities regularly;
  • Do not isolate yourself;
  • Stimulate cognitive functions such as perception, memory, language and reasoning;
  • Seek medical advice in case of changes in behavior or health.

How to have mental health at work or school?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Brazil is the most depressive country in Latin America. In 2016 alone, 75 million workers with depression were removed from their jobs around the world.

Maintaining mental health in the workplace is not always easy.

A hostile environment, with a lack of transparency, unnecessary pressure, situations of harassment or humiliation are factors that can happen in the corporate environment and affect team members.

It is important, in cases of discomfort in the corporate environment, to communicate the company’s human resources sector. Providing well-being in the work environment is mainly a role of leadership.

At school, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), around 130 million students, between 13 and 15 years old, are regularly bullied around the world.

This is just one of the problems that can happen in the school environment that impact the mental health of students.

In these cases, the family and the school must interfere, and the first step is to promote conversations on the subject, aiming to help children and adolescents to deal with adverse situations in the school environment.

According to experts in the field of psychology, the process of talking about the problems experienced, helps to understand the feelings involved and organize them in the best way.