What is Mental Health?

Every year, the world unites on Oct 10th to observe World Mental Health Day. With the mission of raising awareness of mental health issues worldwide, the day is designed to educate and inform while shedding light on mental illness and its effects on a majority of the global population. World Mental Health Day also provides an opportunity for stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. This year, to shed light on the alarming rise in mental health disorders, the international awareness day will be focusing on “Mental Health for All” and increased investment in mental health.


Now more than ever, we are beginning to understand the importance of mental health and just how necessary it is to ensure our well-being. As a result of the recent global pandemic, the entire world has experienced changes in their day to day lives, and we continue to recognize the impact COVID-19 has had on our collective mental health. Even before the pandemic, global statistics indicated 450 million people currently suffer from mental disorders worldwide.

Additionally, one in four people worldwide would be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.  


What is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses, or mental disorders, are conditions that impact our feelings, thinking, mood, or behavior. These conditions can be occasional or long-lasting (chronic), and they often affect an individual’s ability to relate to others and impact how they function each day. Common mental illnesses include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. 

mental health conditions


What is Mental Health?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Mental health is essential at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It also includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps to determine how we manage stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. 

Although used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same things. An individual diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being. Likewise, an individual can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness.

The WHO stresses that mental health is “more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” Strong mental health is about not only avoiding conditions and triggers but also managing ongoing wellness and happiness.


Risk Factors for Mental Health Conditions

Everyone has some risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter their age, sex, income, or ethnicity. However, some people are more at risk than others for developing a mental illness or mental health conditions. 

  • Genetics: traits we inherit from our families
  • Biology: the balance of chemicals in the body which impacts cell communication
  • Environment: exposure to traumatic events (such as sudden loss, abuse, violence, or neglect), unsafe communities, and low socioeconomic status
  • Lifestyle: poor diet, substance use or abuse, lack of exercise, and irregular sleep patterns


Managing Mental Health

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Physical health and mental health are equally important, and both impact our overall health. Mental illness, particularly depression, can increase the risk of developing many physical health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Likewise, the appearance of chronic conditions can increase the risk of mental illness.

It’s also important to remember that mental health depends on many factors and can change over time. When the demands of life exceed our coping abilities and resources, it can take a toll on our mental health. For example, if someone is dealing with a recent loss, traumatic event, working long hours, or experiencing economic strain, they may experience poor mental health.


Be Psychology

If you or a loved one need help improving mental health or managing a mental illness, you are not alone. The professionals at BE Psychology want to help you on your path to achieving your mental health goals. Our team consists of clinicians and psychologists with a wide range of expertise and experience committed to helping your personal development. We understand that asking for help takes courage, and we are passionate about helping our clients find the solutions they need to deal with depression.

Contact a member of our team to schedule your consultation with a psychologist in Dubai.



reem shaheen counseling psychologist


Reem Shaheen – LMHC