Mental Health on a Societal Scale

Mental Health on a Societal Scale: Overview

As part of an ongoing series, we’ll be drawing on observations and studies made from mental health studies about the broader scope issue of mental health. We’ll use these studies to provide insight into how mental health issues can arise at any age, as well as how the risk can be mitigated or prevented. As always, we recommend scheduling an appointment with us or calling our 24-hour hotline if you are in need of immediate mental health assistance.

Mental health is an extremely personal issue, but non-personal factors can play a huge part in effecting an individual’s mental health. Mental illness is an issue that exists at all forms of wealth or poverty, regardless of the individual’s home country’s development level. Certain societal groups are more prone to specific conditions through a variety of external factors, but there are preventative measures that can be applied on a massive scale regardless of development level to mitigate the spread of mental illnesses. An important thing to note is that even though mental health strikes certain groups with a higher frequency, it is critical that all levels of society be given the appropriate level of care proportionate to their suffering and without detriment to others. Treating a single sub-section of a society, such as mid-income city dwellers and then moving on to a different societal group will fail because it is a transient focus on one group; when support is removed and put to a different part of society, the original group begins to backslide to their old habits. Instead, treatment and prevention measures should be applied uniformly so that at any time an individual is able to receive assistance, and this creates an environment that fosters continued health rather than mostly ineffectual spikes of activity. Think of it like brushing your teeth before going to the dentist: if you’ve been taking care of your teeth then you’ll continue to have a healthy smile, but if you brush aggressively the day before nothing will change much.

Promoting good mental health is more than just having access to treatment centers, it’s about fostering a culture of growth and continued support. Creating beneficial support networks throughout a person’s life so that they have access to their peers helps create a positive environment that lets an individual cope with traumatic experiences that might otherwise cause them harm. Many mental illnesses stem from events during a person’s formative years as a child through to young adult; traumatic events that are improperly handled can cause an individual to build create unhealthy coping mechanisms. Some mental illnesses directly stem from a specific coping mechanism becoming overused to the point that it the person falls back on that mechanism for handling all forms of stress, regardless of how appropriate that mechanism is for that situation. At a basic level, supporting our children in times of stress and making the necessary care and support available to them can greatly cut down on their mental health issues later in life. As we grow older our minds become more adapted to handling stress and creating healthy coping mechanisms, but mental illness can form at any age so it’s important to keep access to support and care prevalent throughout society. 

Michelle Held