Why Mental Health Matters
Mental health is a cornerstone of our overall well-being and ability to live satisfying and fulfilling lives. It profoundly influences how we think, feel, and act, shaping our ability to handle stress, form relationships, and make decisions. Additionally, it serves as the foundation upon which we build resilience, navigate life's challenges, and foster meaningful connections.
Mental health also influences physical health outcomes, impacting the immune system, cardiovascular health, and even longevity. Chronic stress, often rooted in mental health challenges, can contribute to a range of physical ailments. Recognizing and addressing mental health needs is not just an investment in emotional stability but a vital commitment to fostering a healthier, more resilient body.
According to global health organisations, one in four people worldwide will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. These conditions not only affect individuals but reverberate through families, communities, and economies. Here we can see how mental health is not only an individual issue, but how taking care of your mental health means you are taking care of the health of so many others.
Mental Health vs Mental Wellbeing
Being mentally ill is not quite the same thing as having positive mental health. Mental illness refers to the absence, or presence, of a diagnosable psychiatric disease. Mental health or mental wellbeing refers to a person’s skills and overall state of emotional wellbeing.
A person may have a mental illness, but due to long-term therapy and developing the skills needed to cope with their symptoms, they may have good mental health. In comparison, a person may have never received a diagnosis, but they have not undergone a lot of emotional growth nor development of the tools they need to cope with life’s challenges. They may therefore have poor mental health.
If you’d like to learn more about Mental Wellbeing, please read more on our website here.
Common Mental Health Conditions
Some of the most common mental health conditions, or mental illnesses, include but are not limited to:
- Depression: Depression is a mood disorder characterised by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in daily activities.
- Anxiety Disorders:This category includes various disorders like generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders involve excessive worry, fear, or nervousness that can interfere with daily functioning.
- Eating Disorders: Eating disorders involve extreme attitudes, behaviours, and emotions related to food and weight.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):PTSD can develop after experiencing a traumatic event, or through chronic exposure to traumatising circumstances. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, impacting daily life.
- Burnout: While burnout shares some symptoms with depression, it is typically associated with work-related stress. Symptoms may include chronic fatigue, reduced performance, and feelings of cynicism.
- Personality Disorders: A group of mental health conditions characterised by enduring patterns of cognition, emotion, and behaviour that deviate significantly from cultural expectations. These patterns often lead to impaired functioning in various aspects of life, including relationships, work, and self-identity.
- Substance Use Disorder: Substance use disorder involves problematic use of substances, leading to significant impairment or distress. It includes disorders related to alcohol, drugs, and other addictive substances.
Signs and Symptoms
Recognising the signs and symptoms of good or poor mental health can help you to engage in early prevention strategies to protect your overall wellbeing. It also enables you to seek professional help and support if someone you love or care about seems to be struggling with their mental health.
There is an incredibly wide range of mental illnesses, and each person will exhibit different signs and symptoms. The experience of mental health is also so unique and personalised, that it can be difficult to identify a short list of symptoms.
When keeping an eye out for this sign, remember that the key is looking for significant changes. Some people may naturally be more energetic, and in this case a drop in energy would be a warning sign, instead of ongoing restlessness.
Changes in Mood
Subtle, or significant, changes in mood may indicate a change in mental state. This includes persistent sadness, irritability, or frequent mood swings. There may also be unexplained changes in energy levels; people may suddenly be excessively restless or incredibly lethargic.
Altered Thought Patterns
Someone may be experiencing persistent negative thoughts, excessive worry, or racing thoughts that interfere with daily functioning. These fears or stresses may cause difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or experiencing memory issues.
These intense feelings of fear, anxiety, or guilt, without apparent cause, can also be an indicator of emotional changes. A person suffering from poor mental health may experience either heightened emotional sensitivity or emotional numbness.
Changes in someone’s behaviour are some of the easiest signs to identify in others when it comes to staying vigilant about mental health. Keep an eye out for noticeable changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or oversleeping. Eating patterns are also important to monitor, so look out for alterations in appetite, leading to significant weight loss or gain.
People may withdraw from their social circles when they start to feel unwell psychologically. This typically presents as increased isolation from friends, family, or social activities as well as avoidance of once-enjoyed activities or hobbies.
Sometimes people experience ‘psychosomatic’ symptoms, meaning that their mental ‘unwellness’ manifests as physical symptoms in their body. Some examples include unexplained aches and pains, digestive issues, or changes in libido.
People struggling with their mental health often find it difficult to maintain the same level of performance in their life. This could present as a decline in performance at work, school, or daily responsibilities or perhaps struggles in maintaining relationships or fulfilling social obligations.
Factors Influencing Mental Health
There are many factors that influence positive or negative mental health, as well as factors that contribute to the development and exacerbation of mental illness. The primary factor that we cannot control is genetic influences. Research consistently demonstrates that individuals with a family history of mental illness are far more susceptible to mental health conditions.
The environment of your childhood, another factor we cannot control, influences our mental health, such as early childhood experiences of trauma, or exposure to chronic stress. Not only do we often mimic our role models in childhood, but social influences indicate to us what behaviours are acceptable and desirable, or not.
These cultural and societal influences also indicate to us what is ‘normal’ and acceptable when it comes to mental health, including whether or not we can talk about mental health at all. Social stigmas can prevent help-seeking behaviours and stop the creation of social support groups.
Close social connections and strong support networks also promote positive mental health and aid in combating negative symptoms of mental illness. People who are able to cultivate healthy relationships and meaningful connections can find these a significant protective factor. Conversely, people who do not have those connections are more at risk.
Clinic Les Alpes Approach To Mental Health
Our Philosophy And Values
At Clinic Les Alpes, we work to take the stigma out of seeking help for mental health concerns. Providing cutting-edge treatments and world-class care with the utmost compassion, respect, and discretion, we aim to ensure that all patients feel empowered and heard.
Not only are our staff all individually licensed to deliver this excellent care, but our clinic is also licensed as a medical facility through the Swiss Health Board. This ensures that you and your loved ones can rest assured knowing that they are receiving the best care in one of the most strictly regulated private rehabilitation centres in Switzerland.
Finally, we believe that every person is unique, and therefore every person deserves and needs their own personalised treatment care plan. Created in collaboration with your multidisciplinary team, you will receive a wide variety of therapeutic interventions designed with you specific needs, goals, and objectives in mind. With all of these services delivered in our secure facility, you can be sure that your road to ultimate wellbeing will take place in safety and calm.
Reach Out For Confidential Assistance
Clinic Les Alpes are here to answer any of your questions or concerns in full care and confidentiality. We are here to help, so please do not hesitate to reach out to us.