Mental Health

The term mental health conjures up many stereotypes and negative viewpoints, but what does it really entail?

For many people with mental health problems they still lead a relatively normal life aided by the tireless efforts of social care workers.

Unfortunately some other individuals who suffer from mental health problems need constant care and supervision, either in their own home being visited by social care workers or alternatively, in a hospital or care home where their needs are constantly catered for.

What is Mental Health ?

The term mental health is generally attributed to describing a level of cognitive or emotional well-being. Alternatively it can be used to describe an absence or presence of a mental disorder. Many people working within positive psychology or holism will use the term mental health to describe someone's individual ability to enjoy life and their ability to balance life activities and psychological resilience.

Using the mental health to describe someone's expression of emotions and adaptation to certain demands. Mental health has been officially defined by the World Health Organisation as a "state of well-being where the individual realises his or her own abilities and can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and can make a contribution to their community" and thanks to social care workers more and more people suffering from mental health disorders can function in this productive way.

August 2007 saw the Parliamentary Secretary for Care Services and Ivan Lewis announce an extension to the Dignity in Care campaign, which included specific areas for people with mental health needs. This outlined three key areas where dignity of people suffering from mental health problems are at risk.

The first of these is the risk of stigma and discrimination, highlighting the concerns that people with mental health problems are the most excluded of groups in society, however it is statistically proven that one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. It is facts such as these that can help eliminate the problems and stigma that individuals are subjected to when they are suffering from mental health issues.

Shockingly, 84% of people suffering from mental health problems have issues when applying for jobs, mortgages and in friendships and relationships with other people, and 49% of the suffering individuals have actually been harassed or attacked. In the public opinion only 65% of the population believe that people who have mental health problems should have the same job opportunities as everyone else. This is where social care workers are trying to change public opinions.

There are also a number of issues that are related to ageing and the compromise of mental health. These include chronic physical illness, disability, bereavement and retirement, including problems specifically affecting older people such as depression, dementia and problems caused by medication. Due to this links are being made with other organisations to develop networks that promote needs of the elderly and their carers.

The final point made in the report was that of acute inpatient care, where concerns were raised regarding women having a hate for being on mixed gender wards, safety issues and relationships with nursing staff. It has been revealed that people in mental health units are less likely to report staff mistreatment.

It appears that in recent years there have been significant changes made as a result of the report in people's treatment and attitudes towards those suffering from mental health problems. But it is important that more and more people recognise that these suffering individuals are normal, functioning members of society and are receiving adequate help and care for their problems.