Mental Health

Mental Health: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Most people who have little or no experience dealing with persons in mental health crisis may be fearful and uncertain as to how best to help a person in this position. Unfortunately, popular media (television, in particular) do not always present an accurate portrayal of the symptoms of mental illness and the best response to persons suffering from a mental health crisis – leading to some common misconceptions about the level of dangerousness of people in crisis and corresponding need for aggressive force in response.

 

What is mental health?
Positive mental health means finding that balance in all parts of your life: social, physical, spiritual, emotional, financial, and mental. When this balance is upset or changed it can often be a challenge to find that healthy balance again.

 

What is mental illness?
Mental illness is a term that covers many mental health issues. A mental health problem might also be called a mental disorder, poor mental health, a nervous breakdown, burnout, or a psychiatric illness to name a few.

Mental health problems are health conditions. There are often changes in thinking, mood, and/or behaviour (or a combination of these). The person may be distressed and/or have impaired functioning. For example, the person may have trouble going to work or doing daily activities.
Mental health problems can cause a big change in the way a person thinks, their emotions, the way they act, and their ability to work and carry on with their usual relationships.

 

How many people are affected by mental illness?
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 3 at some point in their life.

 

What is Mental Health Promotion?
If we say that mental health is the capacity for each of us to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face, then mental health promotion is the process of enhancing the capacity of individuals and communities to take control over their lives and improve their mental health.
By working to increase self-esteem, coping skills, social support and well-being in all individuals and communities, mental health promotion empowers people and communities to interact with their environments in ways that enhance emotional and spiritual strength. It is an approach that fosters individual resilience and promotes socially supportive environments. Mental health promotion also works to challenge discrimination against those with mental health problems. Respect for culture, equality, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity is essential for promoting mental health for everyone.

 

How powerful are the drugs used to combat mental illness?
The group of drugs known as anti-psychotics, if taken as prescribed, can reduce and even eliminate symptoms of psychosis. The emphasis is on ‘reduce’ and ‘even eliminate’ the symptoms. The drugs can often help make the voices stop and/or visions cease, but they cannot cure the illness.

 

What do we mean by empowerment?
The concept of empowerment provides the very basic framework upon which the foundation of mental health promotion is constructed. Empowerment in mental health promotion can be understood as the people and communities recognizing and fostering their own sense of personal strength through determining their own destinies, and having the personal and material resources to do so in a supportive environment. Empowerment in mental health promotion also involves a sense of personal control; the feeling that one can rely on oneself.

To sum up, a mental health promotion approach is built on the foundation of fostering personal resilience through empowering all individuals to strengthen their coping skills, self-esteem and personal efficacy and to effectively utilize the resources offered by a supportive environment.

 

What is the delusion most frequently encountered by police?
Feelings of persecution or ‘paranoia,’ that is, the feeling that something or someone is attempting to inflict harm on the individual.

 

Is it true that on the average, people suffering from a mental illness are less intelligent?
There is no evidence to suggest either lower or higher levels of intelligence.

 

Is it true that attempting to commit suicide is a cry for help, that in most cases, it is just a way of drawing attention to oneself?
All suicide attempts or expressed ideas concerning suicide must be taken seriously.

 

Can hallucinations or delusions occur simultaneously?
Hallucinations and delusions often appear together. For example, the person might taste poison or smell smoke (hallucination) and think someone is trying to kill them (delusion).

 

What is the most frequently encountered hallucination?
Hearing voices.