Mental health problems are often with maladaptive psychological, emotional and physical coping mechanisms. These conditions affect our thinking, feelings, mood and behavior. They can be occasional, acute or chronic, generally they make our ability to relate with others and the society more difficult. These disorders have significantly different outcomes when detected early and when they aren’t, they severely affect functioning and living. The effect is usually noticed in the areas of academic, social and occupational functioning. Hence, early identification and intervention are often a panacea to the negative impacts of mental disorders in individuals at risk.

The way we manage mental disorders plays a large role in the way the service user uses the mental health system and the care they receive from their loved ones for coping and management. There are different types of mental disorders; some are common while some are not. Sometimes being informed about what kind of mental health condition and understanding what is about may help cope with living with the illness.

Indeed, having a detailed information about a disease can assist in management and making appropriate adjustments, especially at the onset. Meanwhile mental illnesses are not caused by one thing, but a number of factors are at the center of its occurrence. Including but not limited to:

  • Your genes and family hereditary history
  • Life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if they happen in childhood (early stage of life) or repeatedly
  • Biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain
  • Substance use or Misuse – use of alcohol and other recreational drugs
  • A mother’s exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals while pregnant
  • A traumatic brain injury
  • Having a serious medical condition like cancer or HIV
  • Problems with Social status – interactions and living conditions

There are myths and misconceptions about mental illness which affects its treatment including been caused by character flaws, caused by laziness or personal weaknesses, spiritual affliction, children cannot have mental illness, they can leave by physical abuse i.e. flogging, etc. Good understanding about mental disorders is often very important because of the distress that is shared by the sufferer, care givers and the family members can only be imagined due to its emotional, behavioral and societal consequences. This shows the impact and difference early and appropriate diagnosis can make in tackling the psychological- biological and social effects of the onset of mental disorders in an individual or a family.

Early identification involves presentation at onset, accurate diagnosis, treatment options and following through with the interventions. Providing early care can help in a lot of ways to access cure, quick recovery, and greater timeline in between episodes, which all ultimately leads to more/meaningful and productive lives. In summary, acknowledgement and understanding of mental health conditions is a societal culture change important to assist and support anyone with a maladaptive behavioral pattern to have a better society, community or environment for all.  To know more, please contact us, [email protected], 081 2827 6962, +234 2291 4084.