Mental Health Matters

Addressing Often Overlooked Conditions

Mental health conditions are common disorders affecting an estimated 792 million people across the globe, with women being disproportionately affected. Conditions such as depression and anxiety impact 264 million and 284 million people, respectively.

When assessing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, the number of people affected rises to 970 million worldwide. Mental health conditions include uncommon though serious disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar as well as more prevalent conditions such as depression, anxiety, autism spectrum, and substance use disorders. Despite treatments such as clinical mental health counseling, such ailments can be the leading causes of disabilities.

About half of the U.S. population is likely to experience some form of a mental health condition in their lifetime. Those with mental health issues are at risk for self-harm or attempting suicide. In 2020, mental health services were delivered remotely to 26.3 million adults. Sometimes, those who experience mental health issues cope by using alcohol or drugs to self-medicate.

Going to the Source for Comprehensive Mental Health Solutions

Many complex, interconnected factors, including environmental, social, behavioral, biological and genetics, contribute to a person’s mental health. The correlation between mental health conditions and chronic medical comorbidities must be considered and emphasized due to the overlap in their etiological factors and adverse health outcomes. Oftentimes, people have similar issues at the root of their mental health and physical health conditions, though healthcare providers are often not trained in how to effectively address and handle these issues.

Mental Health Matters as They Relate to Substance Abuse

At the societal level, psychiatric and substance use disorders are stigmatized and significantly underreported. For this reason, many people with mental health conditions don’t receive adequate treatment that is culturally and linguistically appropriate. Social, familial and cultural factors influence how people express and experience mental health and substance use disorders. Yet, our existing healthcare systems, which are hyper-specialized and therefore disparate, make it difficult for those who need to disclose and seek treatment for comprehensive mental health issues.

The Importance of Mental Health Awareness

Oftentimes, people have considerable misunderstandings about common mental health conditions. Recognized mental health disorders include the following:

  • Anxiety Disorders: Characterized by excessive feelings of worry, apprehension and fear. These emotions are often strong enough to interfere with a person’s ability to participate in day-to-day living. Some examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias.
  •  Depression: A disorder that leads to lowered mood or loss of interest in activities. It negatively affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves.
  •  Bipolar Disorders: Associated with the cycling of depressive to manic episodes. They are indicated by periodic, yet intense emotional states or moods. Examples include bipolar 1, bipolar 2, and cyclothymia.
  •  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A condition that develops when a person has witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. This person may experience this trauma as harmful or threatening and it may affect their mental or physical well-being.
  • Schizophrenia: A rare but serious mental health disorder that causes psychosis and influences the way the world is perceived. It may be associated with delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking, negative symptoms, agitation, and more.
  •  Eating Disorders: A condition that influences a person’s perception, attitude, and behavior about food. Common examples include anorexia and bulimia.
  •  Neurodevelopmental Disorders: These are disabilities primarily related to neurological and nervous symptoms. Some examples are autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and conduct disorders.

Clinical mental health counseling as well as other treatments including medication may offer respite from these disorders.


Activities to Improve Mental Health and Reduce Suicide Risk

Experiencing mental health disorders can significantly elevate the risk of self-harm and suicide, which is a leading cause of death in the United States. Specifically, more than 12 million adults have serious suicidal ideation each year. Telehealth offers a promising approach to improving comprehensive mental health, with over 26 million adults receiving virtual mental health services in 2020.

Effective interventions for mental health conditions necessitate a multifaceted approach that acknowledges both the diagnosis and the individual’s lived experience. Due to the different ways the conditions may present themselves, mental health activity and treatment plans should be tailored to address the symptoms and their impact on the patient’s life.

To ensure optimal outcomes, clinical mental health counseling must include collaborative and iterative processes. Ongoing dialogue allows for continuous assessment of treatment effectiveness so adjustments can be made as needed. By fostering patient-centered approaches, mental health professionals can empower individuals to achieve lasting improvements. Comprehensive mental health treatments incorporate a combination of interventions and activities, including therapy, counseling, medication, and other supports. The duration of treatment can vary significantly, ranging from short-term interventions to long-term care management.

IPHS Recognizes the Importance of Mental Health Awareness

IPHS adopts a novel approach to mental health, integrating interdisciplinary perspectives. Because mental health matters, IPHS advocates for expanding beyond clinically defined disorders toward a broader dimensional framework. In this way, IPHS acknowledges the spectrum of mental health experiences, moving beyond clinical or categorical diagnoses. Furthermore, IPHS emphasizes the importance of aligning evidence from disciplines including social sciences, biology, and developmental psychology. IPHS aligns itself with the World Health Organization’s position in cementing the principles of mental health as a universal and undeniable human right.