The World Health Organization, based in Geneva, estimates that “Mental disorders affect one in four people worldwide” though the sufferers don’t necessarily access resources for dealing with their problems. The National Alliance on Mental Illness posits that for the US alone, the number is 1 in 5 adults per year. That figure includes children, the homeless, minorities and prisoners. The American Psychiatric Association noted a rise in mental health disorders among US military personnel, in addition to the above figures. That adds up to a lot of very distressed people, according to any set of the above statistics.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mental illness is a problem often not addressed by American men afraid of being stigmatized. Every mental health organization knows the downward spiral that follows untreated unhappiness. It costs lives, jobs, money and potential happiness. But the average person might not know that these issues are the reasons that they find some people hard to please. In fact, NIH’s topics site lists several types of mental health disorders that you might not have known to affect people.
Wondering if that stubborn person who just keeps returning to Square One in your relationship can ever get past it and stay past it? Consider the fact that Borderline Personality Disorder might be their problem.
The entire mix of mental health problems cited above leaves mentally healthy and mentally unhealthy people wondering what to do when faced with the reality of unresolved problems and problematic personalities. The sanest, most useful response is: Accept the reality, learn how to deal with it as best you can, refer the person to mental health professionals, and do not antagonize the suffering person for their problems.
The Health and Human Services site indicates sound advice for responding safely and sensibly to distressed relatives, friends and colleagues. What it does not indicate is a piece of advice known to improve the mental health of many people at varying levels of emotional or mental distress: Pursuing happiness as a hobby. There are many TEDTalks on the subject. Shawn Achor specializes in the subject. GOOGLE his name and watch the fun begin no matter how unhappy a person might be. Achor understands the problem, having survived clinical depression himself. His life-saving motto is that “Happiness is a choice, happiness is an advantage, happiness spreads.”
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