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8Mental Health


Over years, mental health has been a hidden behind discrimination as well as stigma. In recent years, the globe is becoming aware of the huge burden as well as the potential for mental health gain. Mental health is about being able to study as well as work to one full potential so as to cope with day to day life stresses. This paper aims at discussing various aspects of mental health through outlining various interventions that can enhance mental health.

Table of Contents

41.0 Introduction

42.0 What is mental health?

43.0 How to improve mental health

53.1 Public health intervention

53.2 Inter-sectoral linkages

63.3 Positive mental health

64.0 Intrinsic value of mental health

65.0 Culture and mental health

76.0 Conclusion

1.0 Introduction

It is quite important to note that mental health is not the same thing as the absence of mental illness. How people feel about themselves, the globe and well being is what of what constitute mental health. In real life, no person experiences perfect well being or mental health all the time. Both mental illness and mental health are largely determined by interaction of biological, social and psychological factors (Anae et al 2002). The disadvantages people especially in the developing nations are more vulnerable to mental health due to insecurity, hopelessness, poverty and rapid social change in their environments. Behavioral health problems, mental and social well being may interact and thus intensify the effects on individual well being and behavior.

2.0 What is mental health?

Mental health is considered to be an integral part of health. It is important to note that mental health is more to absence of mental illness and is connected to both behavior and physical health. According to WHO (2001), mental health can be defined as a state of well being which a person realizes their abilities, cope with normal stresses in life, can work both fruitfully and productively and is able to make great contribution to their communities. Simply, mental health is a foundation in effective functioning of a community and individual. Clearly, neither physical nor mental health can exist alone since social, mental and physical functioning are interdependent (Anae et al, 2002).

3.0 Nursing Interventions

There are various ways in which mental health can be enhanced in both developed and developing countries to promote individual well being. Clearly, a nation that is stable in mental health guarantees an enhanced economic growth. The following are some of the ways in which mental health can be enhances;

3.1 Public health intervention

It is quite evident that improvement of mental health largely depends on the effective adaptation of public health interventions. Clearly, the malign effects of changing different environmental conditions on the mind can be reversed through creation of effective health promotion interventions. Research indicates that mental health can widely be affected by non health policies as well as practices such as child care, housing and education. This therefore accentuates the necessity to assess the effectiveness of practices and policies interventions in both non health and health areas (Brown et al, 2000). It is clear that despite the gaps as well as uncertainties in health evidence, it is clear to develop policies that link both mental health and social experiences. There is sufficient rationale apply as well as evaluate locally appropriate practices and policy intervention so as to promote mental health. Within the public health framework, the various activities that promote good mental health are, prevention of disability and illness, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals affected.

3.2 Inter-sectoral linkages

It is quite evident that mental health can significantly be improved through a collective action of the society. Mental health improvement requires programmes and policies which their implementation and formulation should include government, business and communities participations (Chowdhury and Bhuiya, 2001). Government sectors such as transport, education, housing and environment should work together in specific activities that are related to the treatment and prevention of ill mental health. Decision makers in the health sectors should ensure the importance of mental health is communicated to community. They should encourage communities to assess the evidence and possibilities for intervening so as to improve mental health.

3.3 Positive mental health

Research indicates that mental health status is largely associated with behavior at all different stages of life. It is quite evident that promotion of mental health depends largely in measuring, defining and recording mental health. Mental health has been conceptualized as a positive emotion that has a capacity to cope with different adversity (Gillies, 1999).

4.0 Intrinsic value of mental health

Mental health largely contributes to all aspects of human life since it has both tangible and intangible intrinsic values (Gilvarry, 2000). Research indicates that mental health has a well defined reciprocal relationship with the productivity and well being of its members and the larger society. Some of the intrinsic values are;

  • Mental health is important for the functioning and well being of individuals

  • Mental health is a resource for families, individuals, communities and countries

  • Mental health has great effect of the overall productivity and largely contribute to the different functions of society

  • Good mental health widely contributes to economic, social and human capital of every society

5.0 Culture and mental health

In order to understand individual mental health it is quite important to get a clear view of their culture. Each culture greatly influences the way individuals understand what mental health is and how they regard it. Understanding culture significantly increases the relevance as well as the success of potential interventions across the globe. Nations need to develop culture specific approaches so that mental health can be improved as most health intervention assumes in the homogeneity within cultures thus ignoring on the differences. The actions and beliefs of communities need to be largely understood in their social, economic and political contexts and the need to understand culture.

6.0 Conclusion

It is evident in addressing issues regarding mental health for nation to adopt community development which is considered to be people centered approach. There is need for the health sector to review, generate, update and compile evidence on strategies for mental health promotion especially in low and middle income nations. Collaboration and partnership will work towards enhancing effective and good mental health. The three levels that is; global, national and individual should be engaged in policy formulation and implementation.


Anae M et al. (2002). Towards promoting youth mental health in Aotearoa New Zealand: holistic houses of health. International Journal of Mental Health Promotion, 4(3):5–14.

Brown CH et al. (2000). Evaluating the evidence of effectiveness for preventive interventions: using a registry system to influence policy through science. Addictive Behaviours, 25:955–964.

Chowdhury A, Bhuiya A (2001). Do poverty alleviation programs reduce inequities in health? The Bangladesh experience. In: Leon D, Walt G, eds. Poverty, inequality and health. Oxford, Oxford University Press:312–332.

Gillies P (1999). The effectiveness of alliances and partnerships for health promotion. Health
Promotion International, 13:1–21.

Gilvarry E (2000). Substance abuse in young people. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and
Allied Disciplines, 41:55–80.

WHO (2001). Strengthening mental health promotion. Geneva, World Health Organization(Fact sheet, No. 220).