Why is Mental Health Important?

BY: Neighbors’ Consejo|

On October 10th, we observe World Mental Health Day, a day that invites us to rethink how we are taking care of our emotional wellbeing, in order to have a balanced life. In recent years, this topic has become more important among the different generations and, with the arrival of the Covid-19, we verified it. Therefore, we must ask ourselves: Why is mental health so important?

First, we must clarify the concept of mental health, because many are prejudiced, generating rejection or getting “shocked” when this concept is mentioned, but we should all have open minds, because we cannot have any stigma around this topic.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO [1] ), “mental health is a state of mental wellbeing that enables people to cope with the stress of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community”. The Portal MentalHealth.gov [2]  affirms, “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act.” Medical News Today [3]  states that “mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing”.

Another good definition is the one cited by the study “What is mental health? Evidence towards a new definition from a mixed methods multidisciplinary international survey” published in the National Library of Medicine [4] : “Mental health can be defined as the absence of mental disease or it can be defined as a state of being that also includes the biological, psychological or social factors which contribute to an individual’s mental state and ability to function within the environment”.

On the other hand, WHO [5]  highlights some facts about mental health: one in every eight person in the world lives with a mental disorder, mental disorders involve significant disturbances in thinking, emotional regulation, or behavior, there are many different types of mental disorders, effective prevention and treatment options exist, most people do not have access to effective care. Additionally, some of the most common mental health disorders are Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, Disruptive Behavior and Dissocial Disorders and, Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Now, if we look to the figures [6] :

  • 19.86% of adults in US are experiencing a mental illness. Equivalent to nearly 50 million Americans.
  • 4.91% are experiencing a severe mental illness.
  • The prevalence of adult mental illness ranges from 16.37% in New Jersey to 26.86% in Utah.   
  • 7.74% of adults in America reported having a substance use disorder in the past year.
  • 56% of adults with a mental illness receive no treatment.
  • Over 27 million individuals experiencing a mental illness are living untreated.
  • The state prevalence of untreated adults with mental illness ranges from 42.6% in Vermont to 67.1% in Hawaii.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health [7] , the most common mental disorders in the US are anxiety disorders, major depression and bipolar disorder. In addition, According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, this disorder is highly treatable, but only around 37% of those affected actually receive treatment. It is common to be diagnosed with both anxiety and depression.

All this takes us to the initial question: Why is mental health so important? According to Bisma Anwar, LMHC and Minkyung Chung, MS, LMHC [8] , “mental health is more important now than ever before; it impacts every area of our lives. The importance of good mental health ripples into everything we do, think, or say”. The portal planstreet [9]  considers that, “mental health plays a crucial role in relationships, mental health affects physical health, mental health is related to emotional wellbeing, mental health awareness can help in curbing suicide rates, mental health is linked with crime and victimization, mental health is connected to productivity and financial stability, mental health is linked to societal factors, mental health affects quality of life, etc.

In conclusion, we recommended taking care of your wellbeing in a physical and mental whole, because your quality of life will depend on this. Now, remember that if you need support to get through difficult situations in your emotional wellbeing, you have to ask for help, for example, in Neighbors’ Consejo [10] , we have a team of professional willing to “give you a hand” if you have only Medicaid, or no insurance, if you are low income, or have no income, for free.


 [1] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

 [2] https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health

 [3] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543

 [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4458606/

 [5] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders

 [6] https://mhanational.org/issues/2022/mental-health-america-adult-data#:~:text=Adult%20Prevalence%20of%20Mental%20Illness%20(AMI)%202022&text=19.86%25%20of%20adults%20are%20experiencing,Jersey%20to%2026.86%25%20in%20Utah.





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