What is good mental health? For a long time, good mental health was defined as the absence of mental illness. But now that definition has changed. The World Health Organization and other recognized organizations define mental health as a person’s ability to handle the pressures of daily life in an ideal balance and recognize their abilities and limitations, maintain good social relationships and be a useful person in society.
A survey was conducted by the Kalyana Institute to measure the understanding of what constitutes good mental health among Sri Lankans.
For this, a sample consisting of 444 people was selected using statistical methods to represent the people living all over the country. Based on the answers given to the series of questions in the preliminary survey conducted by the Kalyana Institute, 75% of the respondents held the same opinion as the definition of the World Health Organization. However, 14% people were of the opinion that good mental health means being happy all the time. Therefore, it reveals that 14% of the society does not have a proper understanding of mental well-being and the quality of our lives. Happiness and happiness alone should not be the goal when taking steps to improve overall mental well-being.
Addiction and harmful use of more than just alcohol is a long-standing problem in Sri Lanka. From 1996 to 2013, the facts were examined based on the numerical data of public hospitals for mental diseases. It is clear that around 1998, 13,000 people were hospitalized due to excessive alcohol consumption. This number has decreased to 6000 by 2013. It appears that the behavior of a large percentage of people who abuse alcohol has become a nuisance to others. They have exerted an unfavorable influence even on those close to them. Only a few have accepted the reason and sought medical treatment. Therefore, it should be noted that there is a workforce that is not included in the above figures. Therefore, it is important to consider the mental well-being of people who drink too much alcohol and the mental well-being of their families and find strategies that can reduce the harmful effects on them. The intensity of that need is clear from the above data. Here are some strategies that can reduce alcohol use.
- Providing an understanding of the adverse effects of alcohol abuse
- To introduce and encourage healthy alternative ways of coping with life’s problems instead of depending on alcohol.
- Increasing the capacity of the health care system to treat alcoholics and support their families
- Increasing access to community support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, to support those recovering from alcohol addiction.
- Introduction of stricter regulations against drunk driving
Of the 59 53 patients hospitalized at the National Institute of Mental Health in 2019, 52% had schizophrenia, schizotypical, and delusional disorders.
29% suffered from psychological problems. About 9% had mental and behavioral problems caused by psychoactive drug abuse. 0.08% had neuritic somatoform and anxiety disorders and 8% had other problems.
Sri Lanka has the highest suicide rate in the world, according to recent data. There was a lot of talk about it. In 2016, it was reported that 3025 people have committed suicide in Sri Lanka. 2339 of them are male. According to the data of the World Health Organization, the rate of suicide per 100,000 people in Sri Lanka was reported as 14.6 for the year 2017. In a survey conducted by the Kalyana Institute, have you tried to commit suicide on any day of your life? 22 out of 100 people asked if they have ever had suicidal thoughts answered yes.
43% of the 193 people who participated in a survey said that they are not aware of where they can get information about mental health.
Surveys reveal that many people suffering from mental health problems suffer in silence without seeking help. Because of this, there should be a social dialogue about it in order to remove the reluctance to get treatment for mental health problems in the society. Then the sufferers tend to present their problems.
What crises do you have when talking about your mental problems with someone or when you think about talking like that? When a sample of 444 people was asked the question, 67% said that they do not do so because they cause trouble to others or because others are stressed because of their own problems. About 28% said that no one will understand me. 7% said that they think no one will believe them. 6.3% people said that they don’t tell me the problems because they think I’m crazy and get scared.
Research has revealed that there is a strong connection between physical health and mental health. Clinical trials have also confirmed that people suffering from mental illnesses have problems with their cardiovascular system.
Regular exercise can improve mental health. Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins from the body. It relieves stress and heartache. Mood, sleep patterns, self-confidence and productivity can be improved by regular exercise.
A balanced diet can keep the body energetic and healthy. It increases focus and productivity.
We must remember that mental illness affects all people. We need to prioritize mental health like any other disability.
Kalyana Institute believes that with proper education and care, anyone suffering from mental health problems can lead a happy and fulfilling life. Kalyana is an organization dedicated to improving the mental level of individuals in Sri Lanka through education, counseling and community building.