What is mental health?
Mental health can be described as emotional and psychological well-being that affects the way we feel, think, and act. It determines the way we interact with others, worry about things and influences the decisions we make. Mental health cannot be quantified numerically and it is not as easy saying if someone has a good or bad mental state as it is complex. Thankfully, there is an increasing amount of acceptance of mental health and discussing mental health problems with friends, family, doctors and therapists has now encouraged people to help overcome mental health issues. It is important that it is spoken about more since 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem within a year and at least 1 in 6 will experience a mental health issue at any given week.
The origins of mental health go back a long time, although it has only been recently accepted as an actual concern and condition. Mental illnesses were first seen as the product of supernatural forces and therefore their treatment was often primitive. Modern processes of diagnosing and treating mental health emerged after the second world war due to the need to systematically categorize mental illness to provide more efficient and targeted mental health services for veterans. From post second world war to now, mental health diagnosis and treatment has been drastically improved. A key factor for this is due to scientific development, which has enabled the creation of medication to treat mental health conditions.
The continued acceptance of mental health conditions as real problems that people experience also mean continued development in terms of social acceptance. Not long ago, admitting to a mental health condition would have been seen as a negative, and many people would struggle as they wouldn't receive any treatment. Now, it is encouraged that people talk to a doctor when experiencing mental health problems, especially over a long period of time. Common causes for a dip in mental health include stress, overworking, trauma, bereavement and more. Talking to a professional is encouraged as medication can be prescribed in some cases.
Some mental health issues can be seen as hereditary, meaning they are passed down through generations. However, many conditions are influenced through environmental factors. The changing view and acceptance of mental health in modern day society is a positive thing; however it is important for this acceptance to continually improve since there is still a stigma around men's mental health.
Men's mental health
Stigma surrounding men's mental health includes social stigma, self-stigma, professional stigma and cultural stigma. These stigmas prevent men, who require help with their psychological health to talk to professionals and family members to get the help they need. Although these stigma's have been improving in recent years, more improvement is required for men's mental health to be more socially accepted as the traditional gender stereotype is that men should be strong and not talk about their issues, causing an increased struggle. However, many campaigns in recent years have been looking to target men with mental health issues to talk about their issues and to make it more socially accepted.
Exercise and mental health
There is a direct correlation between a positive mental health and exercise, as exercise releases positive endorphins. This means it helps with issues such as anxiety and depression by improving sense of well being and alleviates symptoms of low self esteem.
Overall, the acceptance of mental health has evolved overtime and continues to be more socially and culturally accepted. However, there is still a way to go in terms of acceptance; especially in terms of men's mental health, which still has a social stigma surrounding it.