Mental Health and Well-Being
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is, “a state of total physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of sickness and disease.” Different definitions have been used over the years for various purposes. One of these is distress with regards to health. For some people, even looking at an illness can cause distress. Some other examples of discomforts that people experience when their health deteriorate include pain and discomfort, loss of appetite, loss of sleep due to illness and other problems.
In addition, there is also a difference between public health and psychology of health. Public health focuses on the condition of the general population. For instance, it would deal with the overall condition of heart disease. This condition affects everyone, regardless of age, gender and class. Psychology on the other hand deals specifically with individuals. It focuses on the individual’s mental health, including their past mental health, current mental health and future mental health.
There are many societal determinants of health. These include, among others, genetics, social environments, the quality of life, health care systems, nutrition and the environment. Genetics directly influences the physical traits of an individual. Thus, healthy genes can be passed on from one generation to another and vice versa. As such, the children of parents who have a good health care system and who live in a healthy environment tend to have healthy offspring as well.
Another factor that influences health is the quality of life. The absence or presence of disease can determine whether a person has positive or negative life experiences. In addition, a healthy individual’s attitude towards disease can have an impact on his health status. People who are more optimistic in their outlook may be able to cope with the presence of more common diseases, and they may also be less likely to develop more serious diseases that are more complex. Conversely, individuals who are pessimistic about illness and disease may be more likely to experience a variety of debilitating diseases.
Another factor that has an effect on health is the state of health care. If an individual does not have access to the right resources to treat common diseases, he may be more likely to develop expensive chronic illnesses. For example, if a patient requires surgery, he is more likely to develop post-operative complications, which require more hospitalization and recovery time than would be the case if he had access to health insurance.
To sum up, both physical and mental health and well-being are interrelated concepts. Both must be achieved and maintained in order for the physical and mental health of an individual to remain at optimal levels. Both must be taken into consideration when planning the design of a good health policy.