Mental Health

By Dr. Sean A. Vergel de Dios

Mental health is often taken for granted; an area of one’s well-being that is usually set aside in lieu of physical health. What most don’t realize, however, is that physical and mental health go hand in hand in allowing persons to function at the highest level possible.

Moving forward, mental health, as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, comprises a person’s overall cognitive welfare, ranging from a person’s emotional well-being, psychological well-being, to social well-being. Moreover, mental health, as opposed to physical health, varies from person to person. What may be emotionally taxing or draining for one, might not be for another, which is why awareness and critical thinking with regard to the matter is important. It has become commonplace for people to overwork themselves in the hopes of rising above the rest only to find out that their mental health is slowly deteriorating. It is important to be informed of such illnesses so that we may easily become aware and understanding of what not only we, ourselves, are going through, but what others may be going through as well. Three of the most common mental illnesses are anxiety, social phobias, and depression.

Anxiety is a mental illness that involves distress and constant worrying about everyday matters. It prevails in environments that necessitate a person to constantly compare oneself to others. Some of the factors that may trigger anxiety include social media influence, negative thinking, medication, and many more.

As for social phobias, these phenomena pave way to feelings of self-consciousness and insecurity among peers. When a person experiences a persistent fear of having to socialize with others due to actions that they feel might be unacceptable for them, their mental state may deteriorate.

Lastly, depression is commonly defined as the state of feeling sad, anxious and empty. It affects a person’s well-being to the point that a loss of interest in everyday activities occurs. Early warning signs include extremely high or low moods, confused feelings, strong feelings of anger, delusions, hallucinations, and social withdrawals. If you are experiencing any of the following scenarios, you may want to re-evaluate your current situation with regard to your responsibilities and tasks that you do. 

Maintaining one’s mental health is essential because it allows one to nurture oneself & gain more meaningful relationships, empowering an individual to more effectively work towards his/her fullest potential, and ultimately leading to more significant and impactful contributions to communities. A small difference could immediately change the bigger picture which is why it is crucial to take care of oneself. Though there are many previous misconceptions that these illnesses are not real or are all just “in the mind,” research has shown that people who have illnesses show signs of hormonal imbalance, thus proving that their emotional state cannot be simply regarded as being sad or lazy due to real chemical and biological implications. People should be encouraged to seek help if they feel the need to do so. We may not know it for certain, but communicating with professionals allows oneself to process thoughts and put things into perspective. We have to understand that people have different contexts and situations, so while two people may have a similar situation, they may be experiencing an entirely different scenario individually. Seeking help should be regarded as a positive step, a step towards enhancing one’s health, well-being, and happiness.

About the author:

Dr. Sean A. Vergel de Dios is a general practitioner who graduated with his medical degree from the Ateneo de Manila School of Medicine and his MBA degree from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. He has a license to practice medicine in both the Philippines and the United Kingdom, having interest to specialize in the field of surgery in the near future.
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