Mental health is an integral part of any individual’s overall health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) mental health is “the state of well being in which the individual realize his/her own abilities and can cope with the normal stresses of life, and can work productively and fruitfully, and to make a contribution to his/her community?. It can also be defined as the absence of any mental disease or problem.

Being a mentally healthy person does not necessarily mean the same thing to everybody. Normal and abnormal are relative. The American Psychiatric Association published the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to put clear guidelines for mental disease diagnosis and treatment strategies. This manual is used by insurance companies to determine health coverage.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also produced a mental disorders guide as a part of its International Classification of Disease. A different guide than the DSM and the WHO classifications is used in China.

Mental disorders can be classified into mental retardation like Down syndrome, learning disabilities like dyslexia, and neurological disorder like epilepsy and sleep disorders.

Facts

The WHO statistics reported that half of the world population is affected by mental illness that affects relationships, self-confidence, and everyday life. Anxiety and Depression are the most common mental disorders in the world. Neuropsychiatric disorders like eating disorders and depression are the leading cause for disability worldwide, according to the WHO. These diseases affect individuals’ ability to function. They account for 37% of the lost healthy years of people worldwide. Mental health has been linked with socioeconomic status. Individuals of a higher education and financial state are less likely to develop mental problems.

In the United States, 64% of the population qualified for mental illness at one point of their life. Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States affecting 18% of Americans. Depression was the leading cause of disability is 2004 for people of ages 15-44 in the United States, according to the WHO. It costs the United States $31 billion every year. Thirty thousand Americans commit suicide every year, and hundreds of thousands make suicide attempts according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This puts suicide at 13th place in death causes for Americans in 2004 and at the 3rd place in deaths for Americans of ages 15-24, according to CDC.

Causes

Mental illness can result from multiple causes. These causes can be either surrounding (resulting from the outside factors) or individual (stemming from the own person). Environmental and genetic factors are the most effective elements in a person’s mental condition. The effect of environmental factors