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Mental Health Impacts on Social Life

Human beings are born in diverse state of communities and live their entire lives as a part of a society that instills values on them. The societies individuals are born into shape their lives and personality traits. Throughout their lives, multiple individual, social and structural determinants may combine to protect or undermine their mental health and shift position on their livelihood. Exposure to unfavorable social, economic, geopolitical and environmental circumstances including poverty, violence, inequality and environmental deprivation also increases people’s risk of experiencing mental health conditions.

Risks can manifest themselves at all stages of life, but those that occur during early childhood stages are more detrimental. Harsh parenting, physical abuse really undermines child health and bullying is a leading risk factor for mental health conditions that instills fear in a child and makes them unable to grow open-mindedly. Mental health plays a vital role on impacting how people relate with each other, make decisions and handle certain dynamics that may arise in life. This calls for care of others and oneself without any form of discrimination.

Protective factors occur throughout our lives and serve to strengthen resilience. This includes individual social and emotional skills and attributes as well as positive social interactions, quality education, decent work, safe neighborhoods and social cohesion. It is never an individual’s fault to share their shortcomings or pain to any unpaid therapist. At times someone may be in a verge of committing heinous acts but because they have the courage of opening up and seeking help, you need to offer that support to make them feel cared for and needed in the society.

There is a lot of learning and unlearning in this life cycle especially by having daily conversations with people from diverse areas or locations. Individuals are facing so much tension at home, workplaces and at schools with very limited knowledge on the basic approaches to mitigate the issues they are facing. However, there is limited backed up data to showcase some of these mental issues that affect people because very few have come out of their comfort zone to seek help. The community needs to be more open-minded and not reluctant on people who have decided to be speak out because this will be helpful in nurturing appropriate mental wellbeing for all.

It is important to make services accessible and more friendly so that people can get the help they need. Experts need to break the silos and share accurate information on how to handle issues such as depression, stress and anxiety especially for the adolescents and youth so that people can find the best coping mechanisms to recover from these issues. They should also teach people how to handle the situations without sharing false information to avoid worsening the already existing problem.

As a collective action, communities need to collaborate meaningfully with both the Millennials and Generation Z to decompress mental health in all spheres starting with the family set up, religious institutions, local administration and schools. The community needs to push for policies that invest in training of peer educators who can further stretch service for mental health at the grassroot level where there may be limited access yet damage is massively felt. It is important to denote that marginalized people consistently experience worse mental health than other people from well-off backgrounds and therefore priorities need to shift from their end.

People who are chronically lacking in social contacts are more likely to experience elevated levels of stress inflammation. This can in turn undermine the wellbeing of the human system including the brain. Studies show that social relationships have short-and-long-term effects on health, for better and for worse, and that these effects emerge in childhood and cascade throughout life to foster cumulative pros and cons in health. According to (Smith and Christakis 2008) Social isolation is the relative absence of social relationships. Social ties can instill a sense of responsibility and concern for others that can deliberately lead individuals to engage in behaviors that protect the health of others, as well as their own. Social ties provide information and create norms that further influence health habits.

However, the prevalence of mental health disorders and their consequences to humanity are often under-appreciated by policy makers. There is a need to debunk on evidence by working closely with those affected because after treatment they can be able to share with others and influence certain decisions that may help any other individual from coping with the illness. The affected need support and care from family and caregivers because they are still vulnerable and still very much prone to suffer from the attack if neglected and left to die. Supportive interactions with others of sound mind is impactful to the recovering individual in terms of stress and depression response.

The vast gap for common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety therefore allude that countries need to adopt innovative ways to diversify and scale up care initiatives for these conditions through investing in affordable psychological counselling or even digital self-help. Promoting child and adolescent mental health is another priority and can be achieved by policies and laws that promote and protect mental health, supporting caregivers to provide nurturing care, integrating mental health clubs in school curriculum and improving the quality of community and online engagements. School-based social and emotional learning programs are rated the most effective promotion of mental wellbeing in states at all income levels.

It is fundamental to be deliberate on strengthening mental health care so that the full spectrum of mental health needs is met through a community-based network of accessible, affordable and quality services. As a disclaimer, for those seeking health-promoting lifestyle, it is not enough to focus on eating your veggies and getting regular exercise. Do not forget to connect meaningfully with other people. Social connectedness generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

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