Understanding Mental Health Problems Essay

The nature of mental wellbeing and mental health is perceived in many different ways in turn causing conflict. Peoples views on the origin of mental health and the reasoning towards the conditioning of the illness creates many negative but yet also positive views. Negativity towards mental health is largely part of a lack of understanding and education towards the condition. It is believed that this may be due to the fact that mental illness is not a condition that an individual can see with the naked eye. It is a hidden condition and for some people, is hard to comprehend. Unfortunately, in some cases, there is an unnecessary stigma attached to individuals with mental health issues. However, these negative views do not help the suffering individual to deal with, recover, or grasp their own issues.

Pessimistic views towards mental health can in some ways be perceived as discrimination. This in turn can have a negative effect on their recovery or management of their condition making the usual hurdles of life difficult to overcome. For example; difficulty with finding work, relationship issues, managing day to day life and social inclusion is only naming a few. Offering help and support to sufferers of mental health issues can be the key to their recovery and/or management. Negativity towards the condition can more often than not cause an individual to succumb to the illness.

On the flip side, the majority of individuals approach mental health positively and it is perceived by most with understanding and comprehension. Undertaking positive mental health strategies by the suffering individual can have a huge effect on the management of their illness. But also having positive individuals surrounding them and understanding their issues can produce an even bigger response in their recovery. Offering that support no matter how little can assist an individual in their own positive thinking and their journey to mange any hurdles to may have to cross.


It is reported that 1 in 4 people suffer with some form of mental illness within the UK. The definition of the exact cause of mental illness is unknown. However, due to extensive research undertaken in this area, it largely became apparent that biological, social, and psychological factors contribute to an individual’s mental wellbeing and mental health problems. In order to identify with the illness, knowledge of the causes of such is of importance.

Biological factors

Neurotransmitters are chemicals within the body that convey messages from one brain cell to another. In definition; they assist the nerve cells within the brain to communicate with each other. A dysfunction or lack of communication with the brains nerve cells may cause abnormal functioning with in the brain. This means that it may not work in the way in which it is designed to. The consequences of this can therefore origin symptoms of mental illness. Mental illness can in some cases also be hereditary. It is believed that this is due to a defect in the genes passed through family generations. It is not just one gene that defines mental illness; it would concern a combination of genes.

However, it must be noted that in the case of these genes having been passed down, it does not mean that the individual with develop the illness. This could be triggered by a range of factors for example; the way in which the genes combine and react and factors concerning biological, social, and psychological interactions. These are not the only biological factors that may influence mental health; defect to the brain, injury, pre natal damage, substance abuse, poor nutrition and infection may all have effect in the development of mental illness.

Social factors

Social factors can play a large part in the development of mental illness. This includes reasoning such as educational levels, social interactions, work pressures, the communities in which the individual lives, their emotional support, relationships, their upbringing and even poverty. It is believed that this could be due to the level of the individual’s comprehension of circumstance. Social factors can present individuals with a level of vulnerability with regards to mental health issues.

Psychological factors

Psychology relates to the mind and emotions and includes concern to the emotional wellbeing of an individual. The emotional state of an individual can, in some cases, cause imbalance and trigger the causes of mental health issues. Factors of which may include; psychological trauma, the loss of a loved one, neglect, and the ability to relate. Most of which is believed to have effect on mental health when occurrence happens at a young age.


As with all illness and general day to day life issues, mental health and wellness comes with each individual having varied levels of resilience. There are many types of risk factors and protective factors that can influence this level of resilience. This can affect the individual’s tendency to manage. Understanding each individual’s barriers can be a way forward in the assistance to overcome their issues. Risk factors increase the probability of issues occurring; they can create vulnerability in an individual and can heed their management and/or recovery. Risk factors can also worsen their mental wellbeing or mental health issues. Such factors can arise in many forms and can be biological or psychological. Influences of such factors may arise from parental control, relationships, working environments or school environments, outside influences such as media, and the community in which they live.

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Feelings of inequality, discrimination and seclusion can all cause jeopardy in the recovery and management of mental health and wellbeing. Protective factors are characteristics in an individual that help them to deal with things in a more effective manner therefore eliminating occurrences creating factors of risk. Protective factors can be described as a safeguard of stress and can be drawn up in such situations. Individuals of inclusion, value, and support from their surrounding family, piers, and friends, are more empowered with the ability to protect. This then connects with the importance of understanding mental wellness and mental illness. Assisting a suffering individual with the feeling of empowerment and assisting them to build up their protective factors will in turn help them on their road to recovery.


There are various steps an individual can take to look after themselves and promote personal mental health and wellbeing. Steps researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation include; human connection, to be active, to take notice, to learn, and to give. There are wide views and extensive research available to collaborate with their findings which suggest that human interaction, in any form, may it be speaking to someone new, listening when people speak to you no matter of interest, listening to someone’s thoughts and feelings or even just giving a colleague a lift to work can divert and promote a person’s mood.

This can in turn act as a stepping stone and assist as a protective factor in an individual suffering with mental health issues. Also, being active has been proven on many occasions to lower rates of depression and anxiety which is in some cases a leading factor of mental health issues. Learning new things can promote pride and improve self esteem and self worth. Not only this but learning can be undertaken in activities therefore promoting social engagements. These are only a few examples further information can be found at www.mind.org.uk.


Help and support from influences surrounding an individual with mental health issues can help them to aim positively and actively boost determination. Assistance in this way has proven to provide confidence in supporting personal mental wellbeing and mental health. There are many ways in which you can help no matter the significance; the small things make the biggest differences. For example; show interest in the individual, listen to what they have to say and engage in conversation. Find out what theirs likes are, their strengths and weaknesses.

Talk about their whole life, their family, their hobbies, places they like to go. Don’t just focus on the illness; the illness is not the person. Be alert and look out for signs of distress, ask them how they feel. Promote and undertake activities, or just offer help with small jobs. These are only to name a few. Knowing that people care, knowing that people are looking through the illness and getting to know the real person can offer great support and promote self confidence. It is all about helping others to help themselves.


Self help skills, to an individual with mental health issues, are the key to living an actively manageable lifestyle. The aim of encourage mental wellbeing and mental health is to promote growth in the individual whilst aiming towards recovery and wellness. Developing a strategy to follow presents you with the tools needed to strive forward and overcome any hurdles that may need to be crossed along the way. To elaborate on the meanings of this, WRAP will be used as example. WRAP is a wellness recovery plan developed by individuals with mental health and other various health issues. The way in which this was done was by identifying on a personal level what makes them feel ‘well’. This is then used as a wellness tool. The objective is to promote wellbeing, relieve symptoms and provide an individual with the means to overcome. Tools such as talking to a friend, focus exercises, sleeping, writing, listening to music, looking through old pictures, making a list of accomplishments, and doing something for someone else, are amongst the list of the most commonly used tools.

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Having the tools there to assist with avoidance regarding triggers of mental issues is also a supporting factor. Having these tools to hand in a binder or in a box organised in a personal way to each individual is a key element to their success. Having a wellness tool box is not the only element to the success of mental health and wellbeing. Others include; a daily maintenance plan, identifying triggers, action planning, identifying early warning signs and crisis planning. Having someone there to help create this action plan focusing on the points developed by WRAP gives encouragement and supports them to promote the health and wellbeing in a positive and manageable way. If you would like more information this can be found at www.mentalhealthrecovery.com/wrap


Describe key aspects of local, national or international strategy to promote mental wellbeing and mental health within a group or community.


Evaluate a local, national or international strategy to promote mental wellbeing and mental health within a group or community.



http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/mental-health-causes-mental-illness http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/roots.aspx

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/causes/con-20033813 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs220/en/

http://healthtalkonline.org/peoples-experiences/mental-health/mental-health-ethnic-minority-carers-experiences/negative-attitudes-mental-health-problems http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/S/stigma-discrimination/ http://www.foundationforpositivementalhealth.com/

http://knowledgex.camh.net/policy_health/mhpromotion/mhp_older_adults/Pages/how_mhp_different.aspx http://www.mind.org.uk/for-business/mental-health-at-work/taking-care-of-your

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Understanding Mental Health Problems Essay

Outcome 1 Know the main forms of mental ill health


Mood disorders

Mood disorder covers all types of depression . Some people are prone to suffering depression during winter when the days are shorter. Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your moods which can change from one extreme to another this can range from a euphoric mania to a deep low depression these highs and lows can be so extreme that they interfere with day to day life Personality disorders

People who suffer from personality disorders usually have chronic interpersonal difficulties and problems with ones identity or sense of self . People with personality disorders can often cause as much difficulty in the lives of others as in their own lives. There are different clusters that represent personality disorders

Cluster A

A person with cluster A personality disorder tends to have difficulty in relating to others and usually shows patterns of behaviour that most people would find as odd and eccentric an example is paranoid personality disorder where the person is extremely distrustful and suspicious for example a client I support always thinks im trying to poison him when I cook his food .

Cluster B

A person with cluster B personality disorder struggles to regulate there feelings and often swings between positive and negative views of others this can lead to patterns of behaviour others will describe dramatic/unpredictable and disturbing an example is borderline personality disorder where the person is emotionally unstable has impulses to self harm can have intense and unstable relationships with others.

Cluster C

A person with cluster C personality disorders struggles with persistent and overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety they may show patterns of behaviour that most people would regard as antisocial and withdrawn an example is avoidant personality disorder where the person appears painfully shy/socially inhibited/ feels inadequate and is extremely sensitive to rejection. This person may want to be close/form relationships but lacks the confidence to do so.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety is a feeling of unease such as worry or fear which can go from mild to severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life people may feel worried sitting exams or having a medical test during times like this its normal to feel anxious but some people find it hard to control their worries there feelings of anxiety can be more constant and affect their daily life anxiety is the main symptom of several conditions

Panic disorder

People with this condition have feelings of terror that strike suddenly and repeatedly with no warning other symptoms of panic attack include sweating/chest pain/palpitations which may make the person think they are having a heart attack

Social anxiety disorder

Which is also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves overwhelming worry and self- consciousness about everyday social situations. The worry often centres on a fear of being judged by others or behaving in a way which could cause embarrassment or lead to ridicule.

Specific phobias

A specific phobia is an intense fear of a specific object or situation such as spiders/snakes heights or flying the level of fear may cause the person to avoid common everyday situations.

Generalised anxiety disorder

This disorder involves excessive unrealistic worry and tension even if there is nothing to provoke anxiety.

Psychotic disorders

Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions. People with psychoses lose touch with reality two of the main symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false beliefs such as thinking that someone is plotting against you or that the tv is sending you secret messages. Hallucinations are false perceptions such as hearing or feeling something that is not there. Schizophrenia is one type of psychotic disorder which can cause hallucinations/delusions hearing and seeing things that don’t exist . Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your moods you can have periods of depression which can make you feel very low and lethargic and mania where you feel very high and overactive.

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Substance-related disorders

A substance related disorder is a condition which an individual uses or abuses a substance illegal or legal these disorders include abuse and dependency on drugs like cocaine, heroine, inhalants, prescription painkillers, alcohol and nicotine

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are mental disorders that can have a serious physical complications. There are two main types of eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. These are complex disorders focusing on issues of eating, body weight, body shape. People who intentially starve themselves suffer from an eating disorder called anorexia this disorder usually begins in young people around the time of puberty, involves extreme weight loss due to starving themselves . People with bulimia consume large amounts of food and then rid there bodies of the excess calories by vomiting abusing laxatives, taking enemas or over exercising.

Cognitive disorders

A person with a cognitive disorder does not process information correctly within the brain. This results in impaired awareness and judgement, difficulty in reasoning and focusing, loss of memory and abnormal mental capacity. Dementia is a cognitive disorder which causes a loss of brain functions which mainly affect memory .



A major advantage of classification systems for mental disorders is that inappropriate behaviours can be distinguished from functional ones A range of mental disorders are arranged, organised and described in a particular manner and order. It allows for consistent diagnoses and a range of appropriate treatments/therapies for the given conditions


The DSM_IV_TR does not explain the causes of the various psychological disorders This approach boxes people into one of the available categories. Sometimes inappropriately, and it does not accommodate the unique nature of the human condition These classifications do not account for people who have typical symptoms or those that do not clearly follow the script


Biological and medical frameworks  view psychological problems as a result of physical causes such as brain defects, hereditary factors or results from accidents or injury

Behavioural frameworks

Are closely aligned to learning theories and have long been associated with early exponents of conditioning the theories. Symptoms of mental distress,

considered to be learned habits, arise from interaction between external stressors and the individuals personality


Mental ill health is often picked up by others due to signs and symptoms for example

Emotional signs

Emotional signs can be crying often, facial expressions which could be sadness or despair sometimes emotions may be inappropriate laughing where not appropriate for example at a funeral. Emotions can be up and down that person could be described as extremely moody


The individual with disordered thinking may have difficulty concentrating or organising their thoughts. They may become paranoid or deluded or in denial about just how bad things are


The affected person may be a hoarder of clothing, newspaper and other items that can clutter their home to the point that they become a danger to themselves or others . They may wash there hands constantly and repeatedly check that they have locked doors and windows before going out they may also become forgetful and fail to turn up to appointments.

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