According to the latest findings, 10.7% of world’s population is suffering from some type of mental disorder. If we convert that percentage into actual numbers, then that makes up almost 792 million people around the world. For years people have been working towards finding treatments and cures for the mental disorders. And thankfully, we are at a stage now where we have also started thinking about ways to prevent any mental disorders from happening in the first place.
When it comes to mental disorders, the term ‘prevention’ means;
“Prevention in mental health aims to reduce the incidence, prevalence, and recurrence of mental health disorders and their associated disability. Preventive interventions are based on modifying risk exposure and strengthening the coping mechanisms of the individual.”
Researchers have observed that there are certain patterns and human behaviors that hint towards either having or beginning to develop a mental disorder. Either some events are happening around people that might lead them to develop a mental disorder or they are behaving in a way that shows that they might not be ok. And if we pay enough attention, we can identify these events and behaviors and reduce the risk factors of developing a mental disorder for us as well as those around us. Studies have also shown that 50% of the people suffering from mental disorders actually started showing symptoms when they were just 14 years old. This means that mental disorder patients can be reduced to half only if we start observing the symptoms at early age and start taking precautionary measures.
The risk factors that slow down the recovery of a person suffering from mental and the protective factors that support it are majorly divided into 3 areas.
Sometimes, people suffering from mental disorders find it extremely difficult to perform everyday activities. A simple thing like getting out of bed in the morning can feel like the toughest thing to do. We also start finding it hard to do the things that we love. Something that you used to enjoy doing before might not be fun for you anymore. Maybe you do not feel like continuing the tv show that you were watching or can’t focus long enough to read your book. Some people also stop eating properly and are experiencing disturbed sleeping patterns, either sleeping too much or too little.
Your mental and physical health are dependent and lack in one can also cause disturbance in the other. In such cases timely intervention can save these cases from reaching extreme situations. If you start feeling hopeless and demotivated then seek some help. Or if you notice someone around you behaving this way then talk to them. You do not need to be a professional therapist or psychiatrist in order to help them. Sometimes a simple act of listening can also go a long way.
- Safety and Security
People who have had traumatic experiences in their life like war, sexual abuse, violence, or even neglect can develop mental disorders. There are some events that may not affect us or feel normal at the time they happen, but can start affecting us mentally later on. This is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Patients of PTSD are sometimes found to be hypervigilant. They are very sensitive to their surroundings and are constantly looking for factors that might bring them harm in any sense. This can lead to them not paying proper attention and focus to other things that might be important or necessary. They are also found to be very sensitive to their surroundings.
In such cases proper counselling is necessary.
Other than this, people also might be in environments where they do not feel safe. Examples of this can be victims of domestic violence, being in a toxic relationship, being bullied, sexual harassment in workspaces, or growing up in a toxic family. In such cases the individuals need to be removed from the environment and replace it with space that makes them feel safe, cared, and important.
Our mental health is highly influenced by the relationships that we have with our family and friends. Just like it is the case with being in an insecure environment, your relationships can also play a part in you developing a mental illness. On the other hand, timely intervention by your friends and family can also save your situation from getting worse.
This also includes individuals who have those relationships in the first place. Meaning to what extent do they feel like a valued member of their community. Do they feel lonely or have no friends and family in the first place?
In such cases, individuals should be encouraged to be part of support groups or try to find people with common interests so that they don’t feel like an outcast.