Understanding mental health and mental illness

Positive mental health includes
A positive sense of well-being, self esteem, optimism, and sense of mastery and coherence
The ability to initiate, develop and sustain mutually satisfying personal relationships
The ability to cope with adversity (resilience)
These will enhance the person's capacity to contribute to family and other social networks, the local community and society at large.
Healthy lifestyles include
 Mental functioning
o Coping resources and strategies
o Thought processes/perception of the world/interpretation of experiences/world
o Feelings
 Fulfilling biological needs
o Food, shelter, air, warmth, water
o Self care
 Interpersonal relationships
o Selection
o Development
o Sustainability/maintenance
 Cooperation
o At family
o School
o Work place
o Social groups, networks, religious/political etc.
 Work participation
o Organization
o Production
 Utilization of resources

o Self
o Money
o Leisure time

Mental health problems and disorders include
Psychological distress usually connected with various life situations,
events and problems

:Affects most of us a lot of the time !

Common mental disorders in adults e.g. depression, anxiety

Affects 10-20% of adults in general population at any one
time (but up to 40-50% in highly vulnerable populations
eg refugees), and is found in at least 30% of all primary
care attendees.

emotional and conduct disorders in children 10% of children in general population
Severe mental disorders with disturbances in perception, beliefs,
and thought processes (psychoses)

Ball park prevalence: 0.5-1% of general population

Substance abuse disorders (excess consumption and dependency
on alcohol, drugs and tobacco

Growing problem, varies from place to place

Abnormal personality traits which have always been present
since childhood, and which are handicapping to the life of
the person and which may cause problems for others eg
antisocial behaviour, obsessional behaviour

Not known how common this is

Progressive organic diseases of the brain (dementia AIDS dementia growing problem in young people
Senile dementia 5% of people over 65, and 20% of
people over 80

Reference is manual for community mental health in Kenya


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