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Mental Health Essay

Mental Health Essay


Mental health, often overshadowed by its physical counterpart, is an intricate and essential aspect of human existence. It envelops our emotions, psychological state, and social well-being, shaping our thoughts, behaviors, and interactions. With the complexities of modern life—constant connectivity, societal pressures, personal expectations, and the frenzied pace of technological advancements—mental well-being has become increasingly paramount. Historically, conversations around this topic have been hushed, shrouded in stigma and misunderstanding. However, as the curtains of misconception slowly lift, we find ourselves in an era where discussions about mental health are not only welcomed but are also seen as vital. Recognizing and addressing the nuances of our mental state is not merely about managing disorders; it's about understanding the essence of who we are, how we process the world around us, and how we navigate the myriad challenges thrown our way. This essay aims to delve deep into the realm of mental health, shedding light on its importance, the potential consequences of neglect, and the spectrum of mental disorders that many face in silence.

Importance of Mental Health

Mental health plays a pivotal role in determining how individuals think, feel, and act. It influences our decision-making processes, stress management techniques, interpersonal relationships, and even our physical health. A well-tuned mental state boosts productivity, creativity, and the intrinsic sense of self-worth, laying the groundwork for a fulfilling life.

Negative Impact of Mental Health

Neglecting mental health, on the other hand, can lead to severe consequences. Reduced productivity, strained relationships, substance abuse, physical health issues like heart diseases, and even reduced life expectancy are just some of the repercussions of poor mental health. It not only affects the individual in question but also has a ripple effect on their community, workplace, and family.

Mental Disorders: Types and Prevalence

Mental disorders are varied and can range from anxiety and mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder to more severe conditions such as schizophrenia.

  • Depression: Characterized by persistent sadness, lack of interest in activities, and fatigue.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Encompass conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and specific phobias.
  • Schizophrenia: A complex disorder affecting a person's ability to think, feel, and behave clearly.

The prevalence of these disorders has been on the rise, underscoring the need for comprehensive mental health initiatives and awareness campaigns.

Understanding Mental Health and Its Importance

Mental health is not merely the absence of disorders but encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Recognizing the signs of deteriorating mental health, like prolonged sadness, extreme mood fluctuations, or social withdrawal, is crucial. Understanding stems from awareness and education. Societal stigmas surrounding mental health have often deterred individuals from seeking help. Breaking these barriers, fostering open conversations, and ensuring access to mental health care are imperative steps.

Conclusion: Mental Health

Mental health, undeniably, is as significant as physical health, if not more. In an era where the stressors are myriad, from societal pressures to personal challenges, mental resilience and well-being are essential. Investing time and resources into mental health initiatives, and more importantly, nurturing a society that understands, respects, and prioritizes mental health is the need of the hour.

  • World Leaders: Several influential personalities, from celebrities to sports stars, have openly discussed their mental health challenges, shedding light on the universality of these issues and the importance of addressing them.
  • Workplaces: Progressive organizations are now incorporating mental health programs, recognizing the tangible benefits of a mentally healthy workforce, from increased productivity to enhanced creativity.
  • Educational Institutions: Schools and colleges, witnessing the effects of stress and other mental health issues on students, are increasingly integrating counseling services and mental health education in their curriculum.

In weaving through the intricate tapestry of mental health, it becomes evident that it's an area that requires collective attention, understanding, and action.

  Short Essay about Mental Health

Mental health, an integral facet of human well-being, shapes our emotions, decisions, and daily interactions. Just as one would care for a sprained ankle or a fever, our minds too require attention and nurture. In today's bustling world, mental well-being is often put on the back burner, overshadowed by the immediate demands of life. Yet, its impact is pervasive, influencing our productivity, relationships, and overall quality of life.

Sadly, mental health issues have long been stigmatized, seen as a sign of weakness or dismissed as mere mood swings. However, they are as real and significant as any physical ailment. From anxiety to depression, these disorders have touched countless lives, often in silence due to societal taboos.

But change is on the horizon. As awareness grows, conversations are shifting from hushed whispers to open discussions, fostering understanding and support. Institutions, workplaces, and communities are increasingly acknowledging the importance of mental health, implementing programs, and offering resources.

In conclusion, mental health is not a peripheral concern but a central one, crucial to our holistic well-being. It's high time we prioritize it, eliminating stigma and fostering an environment where everyone feels supported in their mental health journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the primary focus of a mental health essay?

Answer: The primary focus of a mental health essay is to delve into the intricacies of mental well-being, its significance in our daily lives, the various challenges people face, and the broader societal implications. It aims to shed light on both the psychological and emotional aspects of mental health, often emphasizing the importance of understanding, empathy, and proactive care.

  • How can writing an essay on mental health help raise awareness about its importance?

Answer: Writing an essay on mental health can effectively articulate the nuances and complexities of the topic, making it more accessible to a wider audience. By presenting facts, personal anecdotes, and research, the essay can demystify misconceptions, highlight the prevalence of mental health issues, and underscore the need for destigmatizing discussions around it. An impactful essay can ignite conversations, inspire action, and contribute to a more informed and empathetic society.

  • What are some common topics covered in a mental health essay?

Answer: Common topics in a mental health essay might include the definition and importance of mental health, the connection between mental and physical well-being, various mental disorders and their symptoms, societal stigmas and misconceptions, the impact of modern life on mental health, and the significance of therapy and counseling. It may also delve into personal experiences, case studies, and the broader societal implications of neglecting mental health.

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113 Mental Health Essay Topic Ideas & Examples

Inside This Article

Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked or stigmatized in society. Writing about mental health can help raise awareness, reduce stigma, and promote understanding and empathy. If you are looking for inspiration for your next mental health essay, here are 113 topic ideas and examples to get you started.

  • The impact of social media on mental health
  • The stigma surrounding mental illness in society
  • How to support a loved one with a mental health condition
  • The benefits of therapy for mental health
  • The relationship between physical and mental health
  • The role of exercise in improving mental health
  • Mental health in the workplace
  • The connection between trauma and mental health
  • The importance of self-care for mental health
  • Mental health in the elderly population
  • The impact of substance abuse on mental health
  • The role of genetics in mental health conditions
  • The relationship between sleep and mental health
  • Mental health in the LGBTQ+ community
  • The effects of chronic stress on mental health
  • The link between nutrition and mental health
  • Mental health in children and adolescents
  • The impact of technology on mental health
  • The benefits of mindfulness for mental health
  • Mental health in marginalized communities
  • The role of medication in treating mental health conditions
  • Mental health in the military
  • The connection between mental health and creativity
  • The impact of climate change on mental health
  • Mental health in the criminal justice system
  • The effects of bullying on mental health
  • The relationship between mental health and homelessness
  • The role of music therapy in mental health treatment
  • Mental health in the refugee population
  • The impact of childhood trauma on adult mental health
  • The benefits of art therapy for mental health
  • The effects of social isolation on mental health
  • The role of spirituality in mental health
  • Mental health in the immigrant population
  • The connection between mental health and physical illness
  • The impact of peer pressure on mental health
  • The benefits of journaling for mental health
  • Mental health in the entertainment industry
  • The relationship between perfectionism and mental health
  • The effects of social comparison on mental health
  • The role of pets in improving mental health
  • Mental health in the age of technology
  • The connection between mental health and climate change
  • The impact of social media influencers on mental health
  • The benefits of volunteering for mental health
  • Mental health in the education system
  • The relationship between mental health and addiction
  • The effects of discrimination on mental health
  • The role of exercise in preventing mental health conditions
  • Mental health in the aging population
  • The connection between mental health and chronic illness
  • The impact of poverty on mental health
  • The benefits of group therapy for mental health
  • The relationship between mental health and personality traits
  • The effects of childhood neglect on adult mental health
  • The role of mindfulness in preventing mental health conditions
  • The connection between mental health and physical health
  • The impact of social media on body image and mental health
  • The benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy for mental health
  • The relationship between mental health and financial stress
  • The effects of trauma on mental health
  • The relationship between mental health and social support

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your mental health essay. Remember, mental health is a complex and multifaceted topic, so feel free to explore different angles and perspectives in your writing. By shedding light on mental health issues, you can help promote understanding, empathy, and support for those who may be struggling.

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  • Mental Health Essay


Essay on Mental Health

According to WHO, there is no single 'official' definition of mental health. Mental health refers to a person's psychological, emotional, and social well-being; it influences what they feel and how they think, and behave. The state of cognitive and behavioural well-being is referred to as mental health. The term 'mental health' is also used to refer to the absence of mental disease. 

Mental health means keeping our minds healthy. Mankind generally is more focused on keeping their physical body healthy. People tend to ignore the state of their minds. Human superiority over other animals lies in his superior mind. Man has been able to control life due to his highly developed brain. So, it becomes very important for a man to keep both his body and mind fit and healthy. Both physical and mental health are equally important for better performance and results.

Importance of Mental Health 

An emotionally fit and stable person always feels vibrant and truly alive and can easily manage emotionally difficult situations. To be emotionally strong, one has to be physically fit too. Although mental health is a personal issue, what affects one person may or may not affect another; yet, several key elements lead to mental health issues.

Many emotional factors have a significant effect on our fitness level like depression, aggression, negative thinking, frustration, and fear, etc. A physically fit person is always in a good mood and can easily cope up with situations of distress and depression resulting in regular training contributing to a good physical fitness standard. 

Mental fitness implies a state of psychological well-being. It denotes having a positive sense of how we feel, think, and act, which improves one’s ability to enjoy life. It contributes to one’s inner ability to be self-determined. It is a proactive, positive term and forsakes negative thoughts that may come to mind. The term mental fitness is increasingly being used by psychologists, mental health practitioners, schools, organisations, and the general population to denote logical thinking, clear comprehension, and reasoning ability.

 Negative Impact of Mental Health

The way we physically fall sick, we can also fall sick mentally. Mental illness is the instability of one’s health, which includes changes in emotion, thinking, and behaviour. Mental illness can be caused due to stress or reaction to a certain incident. It could also arise due to genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, child abuse or trauma, social disadvantage, poor physical health condition, etc. Mental illness is curable. One can seek help from the experts in this particular area or can overcome this illness by positive thinking and changing their lifestyle.

Regular fitness exercises like morning walks, yoga, and meditation have proved to be great medicine for curing mental health. Besides this, it is imperative to have a good diet and enough sleep. A person needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night on average. When someone is tired yet still can't sleep, it's a symptom that their mental health is unstable. Overworking oneself can sometimes result in not just physical tiredness but also significant mental exhaustion. As a result, people get insomnia (the inability to fall asleep). Anxiety is another indicator. 

There are many symptoms of mental health issues that differ from person to person and among the different kinds of issues as well. For instance, panic attacks and racing thoughts are common side effects. As a result of this mental strain, a person may experience chest aches and breathing difficulties. Another sign of poor mental health is a lack of focus. It occurs when you have too much going on in your life at once, and you begin to make thoughtless mistakes, resulting in a loss of capacity to focus effectively. Another element is being on edge all of the time.

It's noticeable when you're quickly irritated by minor events or statements, become offended, and argue with your family, friends, or co-workers. It occurs as a result of a build-up of internal irritation. A sense of alienation from your loved ones might have a negative influence on your mental health. It makes you feel lonely and might even put you in a state of despair. You can prevent mental illness by taking care of yourself like calming your mind by listening to soft music, being more social, setting realistic goals for yourself, and taking care of your body. 

Surround yourself with individuals who understand your circumstances and respect you as the unique individual that you are. This practice will assist you in dealing with the sickness successfully.  Improve your mental health knowledge to receive the help you need to deal with the problem. To gain emotional support, connect with other people, family, and friends.  Always remember to be grateful in life.  Pursue a hobby or any other creative activity that you enjoy.

What does Experts say

Many health experts have stated that mental, social, and emotional health is an important part of overall fitness. Physical fitness is a combination of physical, emotional, and mental fitness. Emotional fitness has been recognized as the state in which the mind is capable of staying away from negative thoughts and can focus on creative and constructive tasks. 

He should not overreact to situations. He should not get upset or disturbed by setbacks, which are parts of life. Those who do so are not emotionally fit though they may be physically strong and healthy. There are no gyms to set this right but yoga, meditation, and reading books, which tell us how to be emotionally strong, help to acquire emotional fitness. 

Stress and depression can lead to a variety of serious health problems, including suicide in extreme situations. Being mentally healthy extends your life by allowing you to experience more joy and happiness. Mental health also improves our ability to think clearly and boosts our self-esteem. We may also connect spiritually with ourselves and serve as role models for others. We'd also be able to serve people without being a mental drain on them. 

Mental sickness is becoming a growing issue in the 21st century. Not everyone receives the help that they need. Even though mental illness is common these days and can affect anyone, there is still a stigma attached to it. People are still reluctant to accept the illness of mind because of this stigma. They feel shame to acknowledge it and seek help from the doctors. It's important to remember that "mental health" and "mental sickness" are not interchangeable.

Mental health and mental illness are inextricably linked. Individuals with good mental health can develop mental illness, while those with no mental disease can have poor mental health. Mental illness does not imply that someone is insane, and it is not anything to be embarrassed by. Our society's perception of mental disease or disorder must shift. Mental health cannot be separated from physical health. They both are equally important for a person. 

Our society needs to change its perception of mental illness or disorder. People have to remove the stigma attached to this illness and educate themselves about it. Only about 20% of adolescents and children with diagnosable mental health issues receive the therapy they need. 

According to research conducted on adults, mental illness affects 19% of the adult population. Nearly one in every five children and adolescents on the globe has a mental illness. Depression, which affects 246 million people worldwide, is one of the leading causes of disability. If  mental illness is not treated at the correct time then the consequences can be grave.

One of the essential roles of school and education is to protect boys’ and girls' mental health as teenagers are at a high risk of mental health issues. It can also impair the proper growth and development of various emotional and social skills in teenagers. Many factors can cause such problems in children. Feelings of inferiority and insecurity are the two key factors that have the greatest impact. As a result, they lose their independence and confidence, which can be avoided by encouraging the children to believe in themselves at all times. 

To make people more aware of mental health, 10th October is observed as World Mental Health. The object of this day is to spread awareness about mental health issues around the world and make all efforts in the support of mental health.

The mind is one of the most powerful organs in the body, regulating the functioning of all other organs. When our minds are unstable, they affect the whole functioning of our bodies. Being both physically and emotionally fit is the key to success in all aspects of life. People should be aware of the consequences of mental illness and must give utmost importance to keeping the mind healthy like the way the physical body is kept healthy. Mental and physical health cannot be separated from each other. And only when both are balanced can we call a person perfectly healthy and well. So, it is crucial for everyone to work towards achieving a balance between mental and physical wellbeing and get the necessary help when either of them falters.


16 Personal Essays About Mental Health Worth Reading

Here are some of the most moving and illuminating essays published on BuzzFeed about mental illness, wellness, and the way our minds work.

Rachel Sanders

BuzzFeed Staff

1. My Best Friend Saved Me When I Attempted Suicide, But I Didn’t Save Her — Drusilla Moorhouse

mental health essay paper

"I was serious about killing myself. My best friend wasn’t — but she’s the one who’s dead."

2. Life Is What Happens While You’re Googling Symptoms Of Cancer — Ramona Emerson

mental health essay paper

"After a lifetime of hypochondria, I was finally diagnosed with my very own medical condition. And maybe, in a weird way, it’s made me less afraid to die."

3. How I Learned To Be OK With Feeling Sad — Mac McClelland

mental health essay paper

"It wasn’t easy, or cheap."

4. Who Gets To Be The “Good Schizophrenic”? — Esmé Weijun Wang

mental health essay paper

"When you’re labeled as crazy, the “right” kind of diagnosis could mean the difference between a productive life and a life sentence."

5. Why Do I Miss Being Bipolar? — Sasha Chapin

"The medication I take to treat my bipolar disorder works perfectly. Sometimes I wish it didn’t."

6. What My Best Friend And I Didn’t Learn About Loss — Zan Romanoff

mental health essay paper

"When my closest friend’s first baby was stillborn, we navigated through depression and grief together."

7. I Can’t Live Without Fear, But I Can Learn To Be OK With It — Arianna Rebolini

mental health essay paper

"I’ve become obsessively afraid that the people I love will die. Now I have to teach myself how to be OK with that."

8. What It’s Like Having PPD As A Black Woman — Tyrese Coleman

mental health essay paper

"It took me two years to even acknowledge I’d been depressed after the birth of my twin sons. I wonder how much it had to do with the way I had been taught to be strong."

9. Notes On An Eating Disorder — Larissa Pham

mental health essay paper

"I still tell my friends I am in recovery so they will hold me accountable."

10. What Comedy Taught Me About My Mental Illness — Kate Lindstedt

mental health essay paper

"I didn’t expect it, but stand-up comedy has given me the freedom to talk about depression and anxiety on my own terms."

11. The Night I Spoke Up About My #BlackSuicide — Terrell J. Starr

mental health essay paper

"My entire life was shaped by violence, so I wanted to end it violently. But I didn’t — thanks to overcoming the stigma surrounding African-Americans and depression, and to building a community on Twitter."

12. Knitting Myself Back Together — Alanna Okun

mental health essay paper

"The best way I’ve found to fight my anxiety is with a pair of knitting needles."

13. I Started Therapy So I Could Take Better Care Of Myself — Matt Ortile

mental health essay paper

"I’d known for a while that I needed to see a therapist. It wasn’t until I felt like I could do without help that I finally sought it."

14. I’m Mending My Broken Relationship With Food — Anita Badejo

mental health essay paper

"After a lifetime struggling with disordered eating, I’m still figuring out how to have a healthy relationship with my body and what I feed it."

15. I Found Love In A Hopeless Mess — Kate Conger

mental health essay paper

"Dehoarding my partner’s childhood home gave me a way to understand his mother, but I’m still not sure how to live with the habit he’s inherited."

16. When Taking Anxiety Medication Is A Revolutionary Act — Tracy Clayton

mental health essay paper

"I had to learn how to love myself enough to take care of myself. It wasn’t easy."

Topics in this article

  • Mental Health

Persuasive Essay on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Support

This persuasive essay will address the stigma surrounding mental health and advocate for greater support and understanding. It will discuss common misconceptions and prejudices associated with mental health issues, and the importance of empathy, education, and open dialogue. The piece will argue for improved mental health services, increased public awareness, and the need for a cultural shift in how mental health is perceived and discussed. On PapersOwl, there’s also a selection of free essay templates associated with Mental Health.

How it works

Pause for a sec and take a deep breath. Now, think about the gazillion things you ask your brain and heart to juggle every day. Crazy, right? From binging the latest series to juggling work deadlines or even just deciding what to have for breakfast (avocado toast, anyone?). We rely on our minds and emotions way more than we give them credit for. But here’s the zinger: how often do we actually sit down and chat about our mental health? Not just the “I’m fine” talk, but the nitty-gritty, deep dive, “let’s-get-real” kinda talk.

If you’re scratching your head, thinking, “Umm, not often?”, then buckle up! We’re diving deep into the why, how, and mega importance of taking care of our mental well-being. So, let’s strip away the fluff and myths, and dig into the real deal on mental health.

  • 1 Mental Health Affects Everything
  • 2 It’s Cooler Than You Think
  • 3 Mental Health Is Not a Solo Sport
  • 4 Life’s Not Always a Bed of Roses
  • 5 So, What’s the Takeaway?

Mental Health Affects Everything

Think of your mind as the control room of a mega spaceship. When all systems are good, you’re soaring through the galaxy, dodging asteroids and landing smoothly on distant planets. But when something’s off in that control room? Well, things can get wonky real quick.

Mental health touches every facet of our lives. Ever tried focusing on a task while feeling blue? It’s like trudging through quicksand. Or, ever noticed how a bout of anxiety can make even the simplest choices seem like a Herculean task? Yup, that’s your mental health pulling the strings. Now, let’s flip the script. Ever been in such a mood high that work seemed like a breeze, and every little joke had you rolling? That’s the same control room, just on a good day.

What’s clear is this: the state of our mental health doesn’t just stay in our heads. It seeps into our jobs, relationships, and daily choices. It colors our perceptions, dictates our reactions, and even determines our energy levels.

Thus, the next time you wonder about the significance of mental health, remember: it’s the silent maestro orchestrating our daily symphony. Taking care of it means ensuring our life’s music plays just right.

It’s Cooler Than You Think

Ever had that “aha!” moment when you connect the dots about why you think or feel a certain way? That’s like finding an easter egg in a video game. The more we learn about our mental quirks and habits, the more we can play them to our advantage. Maybe you discover you’re a night owl, not a morning person, or that you function best with some background tunes. Getting to know the inner workings of your mind is like becoming best buds with the coolest, most intricate machine on the planet. Embrace it, explore it, and celebrate it – because understanding your mental landscape is, hands down, one of the raddest adventures you can embark on.

Mental Health Is Not a Solo Sport

You remember that one time you tried to move a sofa by yourself and ended up stuck halfway out the door? Like that, tackling mental health solo can be a real pickle. We’re social creatures. Sometimes just chatting about what’s on your mind or lending an ear to a friend can work wonders.

Life’s Not Always a Bed of Roses

Let’s get real for a hot minute. Life isn’t a highlight reel of back-to-back epic moments. There are dips, dives, and those “why me?” sort of days. Not every day is bathed in sunshine with roses lining the path. Sometimes it feels more like you’ve tripped into a bed of thorns, right?

Now, here’s the kicker: those not-so-rosy days, the tough times, they’re part of the deal. And honestly, they’re what give the good times their sweetness. Think about it. Would you really appreciate a sunny day without the occasional storm?

That’s where the magic of understanding our mental health kicks in. It’s not about turning every thorn into a rose, but learning to navigate the brambles. Recognizing when we’re in a thorny patch helps us to not get stuck, to find our way out more gracefully, or maybe even find a surprise bloom hidden in the prickles.

Embracing our mental health means acknowledging the full spectrum of life’s experiences. It’s about being equipped and ready, come rain or shine. Because life might not always be a bed of roses, but with the right mindset, it can be one heck of a beautiful journey.

So, What’s the Takeaway?

Taking care of our mental health isn’t some hoity-toity thing reserved for celebs and folks in white coats. It’s a real, down-to-earth, everyone-should-jump-on-board kind of deal.

Next time you’re feeling a tad off or notice a buddy’s a bit down in the dumps, don’t sweep it under the rug. Reach out, chat, or maybe just have a good ol’ Netflix binge together. Your noggin will thank you. And who knows, you might just become the go-to guru on all things “mind and mood.”

Remember: your brain’s like any other muscle. Give it a good workout, some downtime, and lots of love. Embrace the journey, warts and all! Because in this wild rollercoaster of life, our mental well-being’s the golden ticket. So, grab it and let’s rock this ride together!


Cite this page

Persuasive Essay on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Support. (2023, Sep 07). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/persuasive-essay-on-mental-health-breaking-the-stigma-and-promoting-support/

"Persuasive Essay on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Support." PapersOwl.com , 7 Sep 2023, https://papersowl.com/examples/persuasive-essay-on-mental-health-breaking-the-stigma-and-promoting-support/

PapersOwl.com. (2023). Persuasive Essay on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Support . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/persuasive-essay-on-mental-health-breaking-the-stigma-and-promoting-support/ [Accessed: 17 May. 2024]

"Persuasive Essay on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Support." PapersOwl.com, Sep 07, 2023. Accessed May 17, 2024. https://papersowl.com/examples/persuasive-essay-on-mental-health-breaking-the-stigma-and-promoting-support/

"Persuasive Essay on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Support," PapersOwl.com , 07-Sep-2023. [Online]. Available: https://papersowl.com/examples/persuasive-essay-on-mental-health-breaking-the-stigma-and-promoting-support/. [Accessed: 17-May-2024]

PapersOwl.com. (2023). Persuasive Essay on Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma and Promoting Support . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/persuasive-essay-on-mental-health-breaking-the-stigma-and-promoting-support/ [Accessed: 17-May-2024]

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Home — Essay Samples — Nursing & Health — Mental Health — Breaking the Stigma of Mental Health: Awareness and Acceptance


Breaking The Stigma of Mental Health: Awareness and Acceptance

  • Categories: Mental Health

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Published: Sep 12, 2023

Words: 761 | Pages: 2 | 4 min read

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The complex nature of mental health stigma, the role of awareness in dismantling stigma, the transformative power of acceptance, impact on prevention, treatment, and recovery.

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mental health essay paper

Mental Health Essay for Students and Children

500+ words essay on mental health.

Every year world mental health day is observed on October 10. It was started as an annual activity by the world federation for mental health by deputy secretary-general of UNO at that time. Mental health resources differ significantly from one country to another. While the developed countries in the western world provide mental health programs for all age groups. Also, there are third world countries they struggle to find the basic needs of the families. Thus, it becomes prudent that we are asked to focus on mental health importance for one day. The mental health essay is an insight into the importance of mental health in everyone’s life. 

Mental Health Essay

Mental Health

In the formidable years, this had no specific theme planned. The main aim was to promote and advocate the public on important issues. Also, in the first three years, one of the central activities done to help the day become special was the 2-hour telecast by the US information agency satellite system. 

Mental health is not just a concept that refers to an individual’s psychological and emotional well being. Rather it’s a state of psychological and emotional well being where an individual is able to use their cognitive and emotional capabilities, meet the ordinary demand and functions in the society. According to WHO, there is no single ‘official’ definition of mental health.

Thus, there are many factors like cultural differences, competing professional theories, and subjective assessments that affect how mental health is defined. Also, there are many experts that agree that mental illness and mental health are not antonyms. So, in other words, when the recognized mental disorder is absent, it is not necessarily a sign of mental health. 

Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas

One way to think about mental health is to look at how effectively and successfully does a person acts. So, there are factors such as feeling competent, capable, able to handle the normal stress levels, maintaining satisfying relationships and also leading an independent life. Also, this includes recovering from difficult situations and being able to bounce back.  

Important Benefits of Good Mental Health

Mental health is related to the personality as a whole of that person. Thus, the most important function of school and education is to safeguard the mental health of boys and girls. Physical fitness is not the only measure of good health alone. Rather it’s just a means of promoting mental as well as moral health of the child. The two main factors that affect the most are feeling of inferiority and insecurity. Thus, it affects the child the most. So, they lose self-initiative and confidence. This should be avoided and children should be constantly encouraged to believe in themselves.

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Argumentative Essay

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health

Last updated on: Apr 25, 2024

Writing an Argumentative Essay About Mental Health: Get Examples and Topics

By: Betty P.

10 min read

Reviewed By: Chris H.

Published on: Mar 8, 2023

Argumentative essay about mental health

Crafting a persuasive argumentative essay on mental health topics can seem intimidating.

Perfecting an argument that is both persuasive and backed by evidence can be a difficult balance to strike. 

However, by using the right tips and strategies, crafting an argumentative essay on mental health can be made easier.

Our guide will help you create a winning argument by providing instructions and examples. With our guidance, you'll have all the tools you need to craft a compelling piece of writing. This will make your point clear and leave your reader convinced!

Without further ado, let us begin!

Argumentative essay about mental health

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What is an Argumentative Essay?

An argumentative essay presents arguments on a particular topic, backed by solid evidence and logical reasoning. 

But why should you write one about mental health?

Firstly, argumentative essays provide a platform for expressing your opinions and beliefs while supporting them with credible facts. By writing about mental health, you can shed light on this important topic and contribute to a larger conversation.

Secondly, argumentative essays encourage critical thinking . They require you to analyze different perspectives, evaluate evidence, and form well-reasoned arguments. Writing about mental health allows you to explore complex issues and challenge misconceptions.

Moreover, they have the power to influence and inspire change . By presenting compelling arguments and persuasive evidence, you can raise awareness about mental health, combat stigma, and advocate for better support and resources.

Learn how to perfect your arguments with our comprehensive argumentative essay guide. 

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How to Write an Argumentative Essay About Mental Health

Writing an essay on mental health is great to explore the different dynamics of the topic.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how you go about writing this essay:   Step 1: Select a Compelling Topic

Choose a topic related to mental health that interests you and is relevant to society. 

Consider issues like the impact of social media on mental health or the importance of mental health education in schools. Do your research to come up with a topic that hasn’t been explored in-depth before. This way you can create a unique case in your essay.

Step 2: Conduct In-Depth Research

Gather credible information from reputable sources such as academic journals, government reports, and expert opinions. Collect statistics, case studies, and examples that support your arguments.

Step 3: Structure Your Essay Effectively

Organize your essay into an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. In the introduction, provide background information on the topic and present a clear thesis statement that states your main argument. 

In the body paragraphs, present your arguments, supporting evidence, and counterarguments. 

Finally, to end your essay , summarize your key points and restate your thesis while leaving a lasting impression on the reader.

Step 4: Use Persuasive Techniques

Use persuasive writing techniques to make your arguments more compelling. Appeal to logic by presenting facts and logical reasoning. 

Appeal to emotions by sharing personal stories of people with mental disorders. Use strong and concise language to convey your message effectively.

Gain all the insight you need to construct a convincing argumentative essay by watching this video!

Examples of Argumentative Essay about Mental Health

Example essays can help you a great deal when getting started with writing an essay about mental health problems. Here are a few examples of argumentative essays on mental health:

Here are some example essays that can help you get started

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health Awareness

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health In Schools

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health Situation In The Philippines

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health Of Students

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health Care

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health Issues

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health Introduction

Argumentative Essay About Mental Health And Physical Health

Struggling to find the inspiration you need to craft your essay? Explore our argumentative essay examples blog!

Argumentative Essay Topics About Mental Health

When it comes to writing an argumentative essay about mental health, choosing a thought-provoking topic is crucial. Here are some compelling topics that provide opportunities for strong arguments:

  • The Role of Social Media in Shaping Perceptions of Mental Health
  • The Impact of Childhood Trauma on Mental Health in Adulthood
  • Exploring the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness in Society
  • The Importance of Mental Health Education in Schools
  • The Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Mental Well-being
  • Analyzing the Link Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders
  • Addressing the Mental Health Needs of LGBTQ+ Individuals
  • Examining the Overprescription of Psychotropic Medications for Mental Health
  • The Role of Cultural Factors in Understanding and Treating Mental Health Issues
  • Promoting Mental Health Support and Resources in Underserved Communities

Don’t see a topic you like? Check out our extensive list of argumentative essay topics and choose one that interests you!

So there you have it!

By now you must have gotten the idea of how you can write an impressive argumentative essay about mental health. We have provided you with easy-to-understand instructions. 

Not only that, but our comprehensive examples must have given you a clear idea on structuring and writing your essay. 

Remember to revisit this blog if you ever need help with your argumentative essay about mental health. 

However, if you feel confused, then don't worry because we have the perfect solution for you. 

At MyPerfectPaper.net , we have a team of dedicated writers who focus on delivering quality papers on time, every time. 

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Betty P.

Betty is a freelance writer and researcher. She has a Masters in literature and enjoys providing writing services to her clients. Betty is an avid reader and loves learning new things. She has provided writing services to clients from all academic levels and related academic fields.

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Mental Health in the United States Essay

Target population, summary of articles.

Mental health is a crucial problem that has to be addressed by the government to avert local communities from missing out on productive lives, healthy families, and strong interactive relationships. Practically any person from younger children to old adults may be suffering from a variety of mental health disorders due to the prevalence of unsafe behaviors and risky attitudes that might lead them to ultimate self-destruction. As Heun-Johnson et al. (2018) put it, suicide was almost in the top ten leading causes of death across the United States, which is a scary indicator that cannot and should not go unnoticed. Accordingly, mental health illnesses could also be associated with numerous physical states that could be associated with the inability to keep one’s mental health intact. In other words, cancer or diabetes could occur in a person even in the case of severe anxiety or stress, causing the body to respond in unpredictable ways.

Heun-Johnson et al. (2018) also contributed to the existing discussion by stating that the long-lasting effects of mental disorders may be hard to mitigate due to the extensive economic and psychosocial costs of interventions and consequences. Nevertheless, there is still hope that mental health disorders can be managed appropriately, as the growing body of evidence hints at the idea that the burden of mental issues could be reduced significantly. The existing project serves as an assessment of the Downers Grove, Illinois community and a thorough review of how previous experience could be utilized to develop a decent strategy to address the mental health of the target population and improve the quality of mental health care in the region. This project might become a pathway to a stronger Downers Grove community where individuals would not be afraid to share their thoughts on how to approach the issue and collaborate with care providers to reduce the stigma of mental health issues as well.

When picking the most appropriate target population for the current project, the author decided to consider numerous variables describing the populace, such as gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and geolocation. There is also a need to include specific social conditions in order to gain as much insight as possible into the given community. Some of these were interpersonal relations, intrafamilial and community dynamics, school conditions, and social backing. The information provided in the SAMHSA (2017) report disclosed the presence of numerous risks associated with mental health issues in Illinois youth. This is a hint at the fact that there are not enough resources currently available to the Downers Grove community to establish safe places for the target population to interact and contribute to overall change concerning the attitudes toward mental health issues across the State of Illinois.

On the other hand, that same report published by SAMHSA (2017) is the key to understanding that the biggest population currently affected by mental health illnesses is youth. It is a warning sign for the Downers Grove community, as at least one major depressive episode per annum was found in at least 20% of Illinois youth residents. The percentage seems to increase, as in 2014, that same community reached about 14% of youth residents being exposed to major depressive episodes. In addition, the problem is that less than half (approximately 38%) of Illinois youth received appropriate treatment for their mental health issues. This can be important as well because some of the respondents might be too afraid to ask for help due to certain circumstances such as the socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or gender.

Ultimately, the target population can be described as male, female, or transgender respondents aged from 15 to 24 who are either suffering from major mental health issues or get exposed to certain episodes that damage their mental health time after time. One of the major trends included in SAMHSA (2017) report is the growing prevalence of psychotic disorders in youth. This problem slowly becomes prevalent because it increases the rates of stigmatization among peers and adults and also increases the time of hospital stays. Depending on the primary reason for hospitalization, care providers have to pick the right approach to their patients, which also means that local youth often faces the challenge of not being enrolled in follow-up care. The lack of appropriate prevention measures makes the Downers Grove youth community an especially vulnerable population that has to be protected.

The article written by Buchholz et al. (2015) discloses a number of important points that have to be considered when thinking about the best strategy related to youth coping with mental health issues. The researchers investigated the process of youth disclosing mental health issues to their parents or teachers and reviewed the possible social implications of such communication. Buchholz et al. (2015) found that mental health challenges are exceptionally hard to discuss when there is a risk of being misunderstood or ridiculed in front of others, so many young individuals tend to keep their anxiety and worries to themselves in order to protect themselves from unsafe outcomes. Nevertheless, further communication could be helpful when trying to reduce stigma and build effective relationships with the environment. The results of research conducted by Buchholz et al. (2015) could be utilized to manage possible disclosure decisions in the future and help local youth discuss their mental health issues more without obstruction.

Vohra et al. (2019) touched upon the question of how mental illnesses impact mortality and morbidity in youth. In order to introduce a decent prevention measure, they investigated the potential benefits and challenges associated with the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) strategy when utilized to address the prevalence of mental health issues in youth. Even though Vohra et al. (2019) could not achieve any specific results in terms of finding any relevant evidence regarding the effectiveness of MBSR in youth with mental health issues, their research allowed them to evaluate the efficacy of this strategy and see how psychological interventions could help when treating mental health issues in youth. The results of the study showed that MBSR could be an effective way for youth to cope with the potential stigma and improper emotional responses linked to the advent of mental health issues.

The article written by Mustanski et al. (2016) dwelled on the possibility of reducing the amount of cumulative victimization that LGBT youth representatives could be exposed to while also suffering from mental disorders. In order to complete their research, the investigators picked a sample including transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay youth and screened them for depression and anxiety in order to establish the potential level of stigma that these respondents could be facing on a daily basis. The findings published by Mustanski et al. (2016) showed that in addition to depressive episode, LGBT youth in Illinois was at an elevated risk for PTSD symptoms. Overall, the research concluded that there was an extreme amount of victimization affecting the LGBT youth living across the State of Illinois.

Buchholz, B., Aylward, S., McKenzie, S., & Corrigan, P. (2015). Should youth disclose their mental health challenges? Perspectives from students, parents, and school professionals. Journal of Public Mental Health , 14 (3), 159-168.

Heun-Johnson, H., Menchine, M., Goldman, D., & Seabury, S. (2018). The cost of mental illness: Illinois facts and figures [PDF]. USC Schaeffer. Web.

Mustanski, B., Andrews, R., & Puckett, J. A. (2016). The effects of cumulative victimization on mental health among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents and young adults. American Journal of Public Health , 106 (3), 527-533.

SAMHSA. (2017). Illinois 2017 Mental Health National Outcome Measures (NOMS): SAMHSA Uniform Reporting System [PDF]. Web.

Vohra, S., Punja, S., Sibinga, E., Baydala, L., Wikman, E., Singhal, A.,… & Van Vliet, K. J. (2019). Mindfulness‐based stress reduction for mental health in youth: A cluster randomized controlled trial. Child and Adolescent Mental Health , 24 (1), 29-35.

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IvyPanda. (2022, February 25). Mental Health in the United States. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-in-the-united-states/

"Mental Health in the United States." IvyPanda , 25 Feb. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-in-the-united-states/.

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IvyPanda . "Mental Health in the United States." February 25, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/mental-health-in-the-united-states/.

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100+ argumentative essay topics on mental health | example & outline, bob cardens.

  • September 2, 2022
  • Essay Topics and Ideas

Argumentative Essay Topics on Mental Health. Mental health is an important and often overlooked topic. In this article, we’ll explore some argumentative essay topics related to mental health .

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Argumentative Essay Topics about Mental Health

1. Is there a connection between mental health and physical health? 2. How does mental illness affect a person’s ability to function in society? 3. What are the most effective treatments for mental illness? 4. Are there any effective prevention strategies for mental illness? 5. What is the relationship between mental health and substance abuse? 6. How does poverty affect mental health? 7. What are the most common mental disorders? 8. What are the consequences of untreated mental illness? 9. What are the risk factors for developing mental illness? 10. How can mental illness be effectively diagnosed?

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Argumentative essay topics about depression

1. Depression is a real mental health condition.

2. Depression is more than just feeling sad.

3. Depression can lead to serious physical health problems.

4. Depression is treatable with medication and therapy.

5. People with depression can lead happy, fulfilling lives.

6. Untreated depression can be deadly.

7. Depression is often misunderstood and stigmatized.

8. Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw.

9. Anyone can develop depression, even people who seem to have it all together.

10. There is no single cause of depression, but there are risk factors that can make someone more likely to develop the condition.

Argumentative Essay Topics on Mental Health. Mental health is an important and often overlooked topic. In this article, we’ll explore some argumentative essay topics related to mental health.

Argumentative essay about mental health in schools

1. Mental health should be taught in schools. 2. There should be more support for mental health in schools. 3. Mental health should be taken more seriously in schools. 4. Schools should do more to prevent mental health problems. 5. Schools should do more to help students with mental health problems. 6. Mental health problems are increasing in schools. 7. school counselors are not trained to deal with mental health issues 8. most school don’t have a mental health policy 9. lack of awareness about mental health among school staff 10. stigma and discrimination against mental health patients

Argumentative essay on mental health stigma

Argumentative essay topics about mental health can be very controversial and sensitive. However, there are many people who are open to discussing these topics and raising awareness about mental health. Here are twenty argumentative essay topics about mental health that you can use for your next essay.

1. How does society view mental health? 2. Do we need to break the stigma around mental health? 3. How can we better support those with mental health conditions? 4. What is the link between mental health and addiction? 5. How does trauma affect mental health? 6. What are the most effective treatments for mental health conditions? 7. Are there any natural remedies for mental health conditions? 8. How does diet affect mental health? 9. How does exercise affect mental health? 10. What is the link between sleep and mental health? 11. What are the warning signs of a mental health condition? 12. When should someone seek professional help for a mental health condition? 13. How can family and friends support someone with a mental health condition? 14. What are the most common myths about mental health? 15. How does stigma impact those with mental health conditions?

16. How can we destigmatize mental health? 17. What is the link between mental health and violence? 18. How does mental health affect overall health? 19. What are the most common mental health disorders? 20. What are the most effective treatments for mental health disorders?

Mental health debate topics for students

1. The definition of mental health 2. The different types of mental illness 3. The causes of mental illness 4. The treatments for mental illness 5. The side effects of mental illness 6. The impact of mental illness on society 7. The cost of mental health care 8. Mental health in the workplace 9. Mental health in the media 10. Stigma and discrimination against those with mental illness 11. The impact of trauma on mental health 12. Mental health during pregnancy and postpartum 13. Children’s mental health 14. Geriatric mental health 15. Global perspectives on mental health 16. Religion and mental health 17. Cultural competence in mental health care 18. Social media and mental health 19.Nutrition and mental health

20. Exercise and mental health

Expository essay topics about mental illness

1. How does mental illness affect one’s ability to work? 2. What are the most common types of mental illness? 3. How can mental illness be prevented? 4. What are the most effective treatments for mental illness? 5. How does mental illness impact relationships? 6. What are the financial costs of mental illness? 7. How does stigma affect those with mental illness? 8. What are the most common myths about mental illness? 9. How does mental illness differ from addiction? 10. What are the early warning signs of mental illness?

Debates about mental health

1. The definition of mental health is contested and argued by professionals in the field. 2. Some people argue that mental health is a social construction, while others believe that it is a real and valid medical condition. 3. Mental health is often stigmatized in society, and those who suffer from mental illness are often seen as weak or crazy. 4. Mental health is often viewed as something that can be cured, when in reality it is a lifelong battle for many people. 5. Mental illness is often seen as an individual responsibility to deal with, when in reality it affects not just the individual but also their families and loved ones. 6. It is often said that people with mental illness are not able to function in society, when in fact many people with mental illness are high-functioning individuals. 7. Mental health is often viewed as an all-or-nothing proposition, when in reality there is a spectrum of mental health conditions that range from mild to severe. 8. People with mental illness are often treated differently than other people, and they are often discriminated against. 9. There is a lot of misinformation about mental health, and this leads tomisunderstanding and fear. 10. Mental health is a complex issue, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing it.

Persuasive topics related to mental health

1. The link between mental health and physical health. 2. The benefits of therapy and counseling. 3. The importance of early intervention for mental health issues. 4. The impact of trauma on mental health. 5. The correlation between mental health and substance abuse. 6. The connection between mental health and chronic illness. 7. The relationship between mental health and chronic pain. 8. Mental health in the workplace. 9. Mental health in the military. 10. Mental health in schools. 11. Children’s mental health issues. 12. Teens and mental health issues. 13. Elderly mental health issues. 14. Cultural issues and mental health. 15. Religion and mental health. 16. The stigma of mental illness. 17. Mental health awareness and education. 18. Mental health advocacy. 19. Funding for mental health services. 20. Access to mental health care.

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Mental Health Essay Topics with Outline & Examples

Published by Ellie Cross at April 5th, 2022 , Revised On January 3, 2024

Mental health studies are a discipline that looks into various mental illnesses to see how they affect people, their causes, and what we can do about them. On the other hand, selecting the right topic for an argumentative essay is crucial to addressing a specific mental health issue. In other words, mental health essay topics have equal importance as the idea of mental health itself. 

Students who have a real passion for any particular area of mental health should spend considerable time searching and finding the right topic for their essays. 

This article presents many good mental health essay topics for your argumentative essay that you can use right away. These unique ideas will make it easier for students to address unique mental health issues through their arguments. 

Mental Health Essay Topics to Write About

Everyone is affected by a mental illness at some stage in their lives. So how do you explain what other people in the world are going through without feeling their pain, emotions and anxiety? The success of your argumentative essay largely depends on the quality and uniqueness of the topic. Here are some exciting and intriguing mental health essay topics you can consider:

  • The relationship between obesity and mental health
  • The relationship between teenagers and self-harm
  • How does a returning soldier deal with his mental health problems?
  • The causes of post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and its treatment
  • What does anorexia nervosa mean?
  • It is recognising and addressing indicators of a loved one’s mental health.
  • What do you think about people who have “dark” thoughts?
  • What does ADHD mean, and what factors may play a role in its development?
  • An analysis of gender with most of the mental health problems
  • The possible treatment options for obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • The most common mental disorders in geriatric people
  • The treatments that are used most frequently in depressed patients
  • Identifying the main influences on brain screening
  • The impact of depression on overall mental wellbeing
  • Differences between anxiety disorders and key protective factors for mental health
  • Do video games have an impact on a person’s mental health?
  • How does music affect mental health?
  • How do graphic images affect mental health?
  • The effects of obsessive-compulsive disorder on human activity
  • How to identify mental illness
  • What makes you feel anxious?
  • How can stress cause depression?
  • What are anxieties, and why do people fear everyday objects?
  • Examine the mental health of Holocaust survivors.
  • Postpartum depression is a real problem. 
  • What are the benefits of a cognitive health crisis? 
  • How does poverty affect mental health? 
  • The importance of improving psychological and emotional health 
  • Common mental health problems of women and men
  • What role do school programs play in addressing mental health?

Grave Mental Health Essay Topics

You may also write about some more serious mental health topics. However, acing a mental health essay on a grave mental health issue will require you to relate your content to people’s real-life experiences and start accumulating arguments to support your claims. Here are some interesting but super specific mental health essay topics. 

  • Identify and discuss the role of physiotherapy in maintaining mental health.
  • Sigmund Freud’s contributions to mental health
  • What role does parenting stress play in depression?
  • The influence of nightmares on depression
  • The contribution of insomnia to depression
  • Is it possible to keep the brain healthy to protect its health?
  • Is it possible to forget painful memories?
  • What educational credentials are required to practice psychiatry?
  • What role do horror films play in anxiety?
  • Why do people watch scary films?
  • Discuss the relationship between mental health and therapy
  • What measures are taken to treat mental health problems in the UK?
  • Why are so many artists mentally ill?
  • Do you think that living in the limelight causes mental illness?
  • Discuss COVID-19 and mental health.
  • How can you tell if someone is suffering from anxiety?
  • An unintended consequence of online learning
  • The impact of divorce on children’s mental health
  • Why dropping out can harm a student’s mental health
  • There is a link between physical violence and mental illness. Discuss

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Topics on Mental Illness Argumentative Essay

  • Writing about a mental illness in your essay will require you to have an in-depth understanding of the illness you will investigate. If you pursue one of those in-depth mental health topics, you can surely impress your professor. TV shows that can benefit people with mental illnesses
  • In the LGBTQ community, mental illness is common.
  • Why are the people of the black community facing more mental illness?
  • How can child abuse lead to mental illness?
  • How is substance abuse related to mental illness?
  • What are coping mechanisms most prevalent in mental illness?
  • What is the impact of trauma on mental health?
  • School-based programs to support students with mental health problems will be considered.
  • What is the most common mental illness faced by raped victims? Discuss each of them.
  • How lack of confidence can affect mental health
  • Discuss the most recent developments in the field of clinical depression
  • Anxiety caused by sexual assault in the metaverse
  • How does anxiety affect the ability to cope with your daily life activities?
  • Does women’s mental health matter in the nation?
  • What are the most common mental illnesses faced by children?
  • How can mental health be promoted at colleges and universities?
  • How did music come to be associated with mental health?
  • Mental health and its connection with peer groups
  • How images of homeless people can affect a person’s mental health
  • How can people on low incomes receive mental health care?
  • The value of forgiveness for mental health
  • Name and explain why one of the countries in the world has the highest rate of mental illness.
  • The role of society in mental health problems
  • Can a change of environment improve mental wellbeing?
  • How can love help people who have a mental illness, and how can it not?

Good Essay Topics on Mental Health

  • The role of extremists in the deterioration of mental health care in their holy places
  • What happens when parents ignore their children, and how does it affect their mental health?
  • The difference between religious counselling and professional counselling
  • What does it mean to be anti-social, and how can you change or support someone who is?
  • Recognise and explain the role of chronic stress and anxiety disorders in long-term loneliness. Discuss the impact of remote working on mental health and how to manage it.
  • Talk about ways to deal with unhappy feelings to avoid slipping into chronic mental health problems.
  • How can you tell if a person’s mental health is okay?
  • How can you empower a handicapped person to pursue their goals without becoming depressed because of physical limitations?
  • How can the general public best respond to someone suffering from a mental illness?

Cause-Effect Essay Topics on Mental Health

  • What role does physical health play in maintaining mental health?
  • The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder are severe. Explain why?
  • Does emotional stress affect the immune system?
  • How can break-ups help or hurt your mental health?
  • How does early retirement affect or worsen mental health?
  • What can a child do if they are diagnosed with schizophrenia, and how can they be helped?
  • What are some of the potentially harmful behaviours that can exacerbate mental illness?

Argumentative Essay Topics on Mental Health

  • People who are mentally ill are not religious. Argue on this perception
  • Religion has both negative and positive influences on an individual’s mental health
  • Anxiety is influenced by discrimination
  • Depression can also be caused by self-awareness
  • There are five reasons why mental illness is so prevalent
  • Depression is a common problem among young people and is never taken seriously
  • Suicide is a result of ignoring mental illness at its early stages. Argue

So now, when you have an opportunity to dazzle your teachers by working on these unique mental health essay topics, you must also know about the basic structure of a mental health essay. We have created a brief outline for you guys to understand the structure before delving into the topics. 

Outline of the Essay

It would be best to write down what you want to cover in your essay after conducting your research on a topic. Do not forget to find and review different academic sources when writing a mental health essay. 

Mental Health Essay Introduction

Your essay must have a hook that attracts the reader. Next, you need to establish a thesis statement to show you understand the significance of the topic you are exploring. You can also use your introduction to tell a story or share an experience.

Use proverbs, statistics, or anything that you feel is relevant to your topic in an introduction. Before concluding your introduction, give background information about your essay so that the reader knows what it is about.

The body is divided into paragraphs that support your thesis with evidence and arguments. In general, the body should consist of five paragraphs . However, each sentence must contain a topic sentence linked to independent thought on the topic of mental health. You can also write each sentence with a definite purpose, convincing arguments, supporting details, and examples.

The conclusion sums up the content that you have presented in your essay. You can include a statement of your thesis at the end of your conclusion, and you can even ask a rhetorical question about the future of mental health. However, it would help if you did not make any new arguments in conclusion.

Important Tips when Writing Mental Health Essay

  • Present sufficient knowledge of the actual topic
  • Know the difference between mental health/illness and emotions
  • A generalisation of the term “Mentally Ill” should be avoided
  • Use neutral terms, be precise in your arguments/claims
  • Emphasis on the treatment and positive vibes through your content
  • Get professional assistance if you struggle with your medical or nursing essay.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to write an excellent essay on mental health.

To write an excellent essay on mental health, research the topic thoroughly, provide personal insights, use a clear structure, support your arguments with evidence, and offer practical solutions. Prioritize empathy and awareness throughout.

You May Also Like

Argumentative essays are quite prevalent in university or college settings, particularly in the disciplines like General English, Gender studies, Political History of Science, Psychology, Social Science or History.

Narrative essays are one of the most popular types of essays. They allow the author to use their imagination and creativity to present a story. Narrative essays provide an excellent opportunity to reflect upon personal experiences and give your views on a specific event in your life.

When it comes to picking an essay topic, understanding the essay guidelines is crucial. The same rules apply to cause and effect essay. It is the simplest form of an essay and can be written within a couple of hours if you are well prepared.

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How to Write a Mental Health in College Students Essay

mental health essay paper

Ginger Abbot

Writing a Mental Health in College Students essay takes care and sensitivity.

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Writing is a skill that takes time to build. Essays force you to practice research, critical thinking and communication skills – college is the perfect time for you to practice these. However, there’s only so much you can learn about writing through preparation. If you’ve been assigned an essay on mental health, you may not be sure where to begin. You might also wonder if you should choose mental health as a topic for a college paper. Here’s how to write a “mental health in college students” essay. 

  • What Not to Do

If you’re trying to choose a topic for a college application essay, mental health is usually not the way to go. Your personal statement should show colleges why you’re the best candidate to attend their school. Because many students write about mental health , your essay may get lost in the crowd. In addition, your mental health journey is only a part of who you are. 

It can be difficult for many students to write about personal mental struggles without seeming overdramatic. Unless mental health struggles have shaped your whole life, it’s best to discuss other topics. If you mention mental health, stay brief and matter-of-fact. Don’t let it become the whole point of your essay. 

  • Review the Instructions

If you’re writing this essay for a college course, start by looking over the assignment instructions. Don’t just listen to what your teacher says – look up the assignment on the syllabus to see if you can find a rubric or other relevant information. 

Highlight the important points to make sure you know what matters to your professor. The instructions are parameters you can operate in to create an essay you enjoy. Make sure you check word count, essay structure and review corrections on past essays. If you’re confused about something, don’t hesitate to ask your professor for clarification. 

mental health essay paper

  • Do the Research 

Regardless of what class you’re writing for, this is the kind of topic that requires hard numbers. You don’t want to make general claims about rates of student anxiety or mental illness – to be credible, you need specifics. Be careful with your wording to avoid all-or-nothing statements. Everyone experiences mental health differently. 

Your professor may or may not allow you to pick the specific mental health topic you write about. However, you can ensure that your paper is well-researched and organized clearly. Before you start writing, create at least a basic outline showing the flow of ideas. This will make the writing phase much faster because you’ll always know what to say next. 

  • Write It Out 

Writer’s block often stems from perfectionism. This paper won’t be perfect the first time, so don’t worry about writing it perfectly! Start with an interesting line that gets your reader’s attention and make sure you have a clear thesis statement. Taken by itself, this sentence should describe the contents of your entire paper. 

Build your paragraphs to the right word length by using specific examples. You should start each paragraph with a topic sentence that takes your reader one step in your paper’s argument. Then, describe a specific example that further explains this idea. You can find specific examples in your research or simply explain more about what you mean. 

mental health essay paper

  • Edit Your Work

Editing is an important final step before you turn an essay in. It gives you an opportunity to look at your writing as a whole and ensure everything makes sense. If possible, you should set your first draft aside for a while before you reread it. This will help you see your work with fresh eyes so you can edit it. 

Editing involves strengthening your paper’s organization, rewriting specific sentences and checking for errors. You should make major edits first and then do a final read-through to catch punctuation and spelling mistakes. It can be helpful to read your paper out loud or have a friend look it over as well. 

One Key Takeaway for Writing a Mental Health in College Students Essay

Many students struggle with mental health while in school. Whatever topic you choose and however you organize your essay, make sure to write it with a sensitive tone. This topic is nuanced and shouldn’t be treated as a black-and-white issue. Write from an informed and compassionate point of view and offer your readers hope. 

Use this guide to write an essay on mental health in college students that astounds and delights your professor. Putting in the work will build research and communication skills you’ll use for years – whether you’re a psychology major, a premed student or studying the arts at school. 

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The Importance of Mental Health

It's not just a buzzword

Elizabeth is a freelance health and wellness writer. She helps brands craft factual, yet relatable content that resonates with diverse audiences.

mental health essay paper

Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities.

mental health essay paper

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Risk Factors for Poor Mental Health

Signs of mental health problems, benefits of good mental health, how to maintain mental health and well-being.

Your mental health is an important part of your well-being. This aspect of your welfare determines how you’re able to operate psychologically, emotionally, and socially among others.

Considering how much of a role your mental health plays in each aspect of your life, it's important to guard and improve psychological wellness using appropriate measures.

Because different circumstances can affect your mental health, we’ll be highlighting risk factors and signs that may indicate mental distress. But most importantly, we’ll dive into why mental health is so important.

Mental health is described as a state of well-being where a person is able to cope with the normal stresses of life. This state permits productive work output and allows for meaningful contributions to society.

However, different circumstances exist that may affect the ability to handle life’s curveballs. These factors may also disrupt daily activities, and the capacity to manage these changes. That's only one reason why mental health is so important.

The following factors, listed below, may affect mental well-being and could increase the risk of developing psychological disorders .

Childhood Abuse

Childhood physical assault, sexual violence, emotional abuse, or neglect can lead to severe mental and emotional distress. Abuse increases the risk of developing mental disorders like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or personality disorders.

Children who have been abused may eventually deal with alcohol and substance use issues. But beyond mental health challenges, child abuse may also lead to medical complications such as diabetes, stroke, and other forms of heart disease.

The Environment

A strong contributor to mental well-being is the state of a person’s usual environment . Adverse environmental circumstances can cause negative effects on psychological wellness.

For instance, weather conditions may influence an increase in suicide cases. Likewise, experiencing natural disasters firsthand can increase the chances of developing PTSD. In certain cases, air pollution may produce negative effects on depression symptoms.  

In contrast, living in a positive social environment can provide protection against mental challenges.

Your biological makeup could determine the state of your well-being. A number of mental health disorders have been found to run in families and may be passed down to members.

These include conditions such as autism , attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , bipolar disorder , depression , and schizophrenia .

Your lifestyle can also impact your mental health. Smoking, a poor diet , alcohol consumption , substance use , and risky sexual behavior may cause psychological harm. These behaviors have been linked to depression.

When mental health is compromised, it isn’t always apparent to the individual or those around them. However, there are certain warning signs to look out for, that may signify negative changes for the well-being. These include:

  • A switch in eating habits, whether over or undereating
  • A noticeable reduction in energy levels
  • Being more reclusive and shying away from others
  • Feeling persistent despair
  • Indulging in alcohol, tobacco, or other substances more than usual
  • Experiencing unexplained confusion, anger, guilt, or worry
  • Severe mood swings
  • Picking fights with family and friends
  • Hearing voices with no identifiable source
  • Thinking of self-harm or causing harm to others
  • Being unable to perform daily tasks with ease

Whether young or old, the importance of mental health for total well-being cannot be overstated. When psychological wellness is affected, it can cause negative behaviors that may not only affect personal health but can also compromise relationships with others. 

Below are some of the benefits of good mental health.

A Stronger Ability to Cope With Life’s Stressors

When mental and emotional states are at peak levels, the challenges of life can be easier to overcome.

Where alcohol/drugs, isolation, tantrums, or fighting may have been adopted to manage relationship disputes, financial woes, work challenges, and other life issues—a stable mental state can encourage healthier coping mechanisms.

A Positive Self-Image

Mental health greatly correlates with personal feelings about oneself. Overall mental wellness plays a part in your self-esteem . Confidence can often be a good indicator of a healthy mental state.

A person whose mental health is flourishing is more likely to focus on the good in themselves. They will hone in on these qualities, and will generally have ambitions that strive for a healthy, happy life.

Healthier Relationships

If your mental health is in good standing, you might be more capable of providing your friends and family with quality time , affection , and support. When you're not in emotional distress, it can be easier to show up and support the people you care about.

Better Productivity

Dealing with depression or other mental health disorders can impact your productivity levels. If you feel mentally strong , it's more likely that you will be able to work more efficiently and provide higher quality work.

Higher Quality of Life

When mental well-being thrives, your quality of life may improve. This can give room for greater participation in community building. For example, you may begin volunteering in soup kitchens, at food drives, shelters, etc.

You might also pick up new hobbies , and make new acquaintances , and travel to new cities.

Because mental health is so important to general wellness, it’s important that you take care of your mental health.

To keep mental health in shape, a few introductions to and changes to lifestyle practices may be required. These include:

  • Taking up regular exercise
  • Prioritizing rest and sleep on a daily basis
  • Trying meditation
  • Learning coping skills for life challenges
  • Keeping in touch with loved ones
  • Maintaining a positive outlook on life

Another proven way to improve and maintain mental well-being is through the guidance of a professional. Talk therapy can teach you healthier ways to interact with others and coping mechanisms to try during difficult times.

Therapy can also help you address some of your own negative behaviors and provide you with the tools to make some changes in your own life.

The Bottom Line

So why is mental health so important? That's an easy answer: It profoundly affects every area of your life. If you're finding it difficult to address mental health concerns on your own, don't hesitate to seek help from a licensed therapist .

World Health Organization. Mental Health: Strengthening our Response .

Lippard ETC, Nemeroff CB. The Devastating Clinical Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect: Increased Disease Vulnerability and Poor Treatment Response in Mood Disorders . Am J Psychiatry . 2020;177(1):20-36. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.19010020

 Helbich M. Mental Health and Environmental Exposures: An Editorial. Int J Environ Res Public Health . 2018;15(10):2207. Published 2018 Oct 10. doi:10.3390/ijerph15102207

Helbich M. Mental Health and Environmental Exposures: An Editorial. Int J Environ Res Public Health . 2018;15(10):2207. Published 2018 Oct 10. doi:10.3390/ijerph15102207

National Institutes of Health. Common Genetic Factors Found in 5 Mental Disorders .

Zaman R, Hankir A, Jemni M. Lifestyle Factors and Mental Health . Psychiatr Danub . 2019;31(Suppl 3):217-220.

Medline Plus. What Is mental health? .

National Alliance on Mental Health. Why Self-Esteem Is Important for Mental Health .

By Elizabeth Plumptre Elizabeth is a freelance health and wellness writer. She helps brands craft factual, yet relatable content that resonates with diverse audiences.

Mental Health Research Paper

Academic Writing Service

This sample mental health research paper features: 8500 words (approx. 28 pages), an outline, and a bibliography with 80 sources. Browse other research paper examples for more inspiration. If you need a thorough research paper written according to all the academic standards, you can always turn to our experienced writers for help. This is how your paper can get an A! Feel free to contact our writing service for professional assistance. We offer high-quality assignments for reasonable rates.

I. Introduction

Academic writing, editing, proofreading, and problem solving services, get 10% off with 24start discount code, ii. the sociology of mental health: a brief history, a. the development of social epidemiology of mental health and disorders, iii. the study of mental health in contemporary sociology, a. the influence of other disciplines on the sociology of mental health, b. theoretical perspectives on mental health and disorder in sociology, c. defining a unique sociological approach to mental health and illness, 1. the stressor exposure perspective, 2. the social relationships perspective, 3. the societal reaction perspective, d. the influence of psychological models on the sociology of mental health and illness, e. methodological controversies, 1. measures of mental health and disorder, 2. measures of stressor exposure, f. the social epidemiology of mental disorders, 2. socioeconomic status, 4. marital status, iv. future directions in the sociology of mental health, a. comorbidity, b. mental health services and policy, c. better measures of stress exposure, d. better measures of social resources, e. the biological perspective on mental disorders, more mental health research papers:.

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This research paper describes the history, application, and development in sociology of the study of mental health, illness, and disorders. Mental health, mental illness, social and mental functioning, and its social indicators are a classic theme in the field of sociology. Emile Durkheim’s (1951) Suicide was a landmark study in both sociology and epidemiology, laying out a sociological course of research that remains an intellectual force in contemporary social science (Berkman and Glass 2000). The influence of the sociology of mental health and illness goes well beyond its sociological roots; its major theoretical perspectives interact with major research streams in psychiatry, psychology, anthropology, public health, and medicine (Aneshensel and Phelan 1999; Horwitz and Scheid 1999; Eaton 2001; Gallagher 2002; Cockerham 2005). The sociology of mental health also connects to numerous other fields in sociology, including general medical sociology, the sociology of aging, demography and biodemograpy, statistics, childhood studies, sociology of the life course, deviance, criminology, stratification, and studies of the quality of life.

Mental health, mental illness, and mental disorder are closely related but distinguishable concepts. Mental health refers to a state of well-being or alternatively, a state of mental normality, free of disorder or illness. Mental illness refers to a persistent state of mental abnormality. The term mental disorder is applied to a specific diagnosis of mental abnormality, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, agoraphobia, mania or substance dependence.

In this research paper, the term sociology of mental health is used to refer to general theories and research that encompass the causes, development, and consequences of mental disorders and the state or symptoms of mental distress. The term also includes the study of personal and situational resources that preserve or restore the state of mental wellbeing. Sociologists who practice in the field of mental health examine a variety of outcomes and indicators of mental health as well as mental disorders.

The paper is organized into three sections: (1) a brief historical perspective on the study of mental health and illness in sociology; (2) the current state of research in the field, including its major themes and methodological problems; and (3) the future directions of the field. This research paper has four pervasive themes: (1) the interaction of the sociology of mental health and disorder with psychology, psychiatry, public health, and medicine; (2) the environmental perspective, which is the major contribution of the sociology to the mix of disciplines examining mental health in society; (3) the relationship between the study of mental health and studies of mental disorder; and (4) the emergence of the life course perspective as a dominant theoretical perspective in the sociology of mental health.

The topic of mental health has a venerable tradition in sociology. Durkheim’s classic work Suicide was translated into English in 1921, and it is still widely cited in the field. Durkheim’s work encouraged interest in the relationship of mental health and disorders with social structure, group membership, geographical location, and other indicators of social integration and organization. One of the most famous early applications of Durkheim’s perspective was Robert Merton’s (1938) work on social structure and anomie. Taken together, Durkheim and Merton introduced the influential idea that social systems can produce “stress” for individuals, who in turn may act in deviant or disordered ways (Cockerham 2005). Also applying Durkheim’s ideas, Faris and Dunham (1939) conducted a study of the distribution of schizophrenia in Chicago. Observing that people with schizophrenia clustered in high poverty areas, they argued that social isolation encouraged the development of symptoms characterizing schizophrenia.

Although Merton’s and Faris and Dunham’s theories no longer hold sway among contemporary sociologists of mental health, they are significant in their historical impact on the field. The organized field of the sociology of mental health grew out of the larger field of general medical sociology in the late 1930s and 1940s. Interest in mental illness and its causes were heightened by extraordinary events in the mid-twentieth century. The suffering of many ordinary Americans during the Great Depression, the discovery of psychiatric impairments among many World War II draftees, and the traumatic effects of combat on soldiers and civilians were powerful arguments for government support of efforts to mitigate mental illness (Kirk 1999).

The founding of the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) in 1949 contributed to the development of medical sociology in general. The establishment of the Laboratory of Socio-Environmental Studies at NIMH in 1952 was a critical event in the development of studies of mental health in medical sociology. The sociologist John Clausen, who headed the laboratory, recruited and supported a number of sociologists who became leaders in the field, among them Melvin Kohn, Leonard Pearlin, Erving Goffman, and Morris Rosenberg (Kirk 1999). Using a strategy still dominant in behavioral science approaches to mental disorders, Clausen (1956) recruited social scientists from multiple disciplines as well as sociologists, stating that “the roles to be filled by sociologists within the mental health field call for collaboration with clinicians” (p. 47).

Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, NIMH was a major supporter of sociological and psychological research on mental health and illness. According to figures assembled by Kirk (1999), in 1976 more than 50 percent of NIMH research grants were to social, psychological, and behavioral scientists. A smaller proportion of grants were awarded to psychiatrists and physicians (a situation that no longer holds at NIMH).

Social epidemiology, sometimes labeled psychiatric epidemiology or social psychiatry (Gallagher 2002), is the discovery and documentation of the social and demographic distribution of mental disorders and health. The distribution of mental disorders can be documented via the study of medical records, mental hospital admissions, and surveys of the general population. Surveys in representative community populations, using clinically validated questions that identify and classify mental disorder symptoms by diagnostic categories, are the current tools used to estimate the prevalence of disorders (Cockerham 2005). The diagnostic estimates are then analyzed to determine their distribution by social and demographic group.

Hollingshead and Redlich (1958) (a sociologist and a psychiatrist) conducted an innovative study of mental disorders in New Haven, Connecticut, in which they compared mental illness inpatients and outpatients to a sample representative of the general community. Although not a study of prevalence the study had wide influence because of their findings that different types of mental disorder were distributed by social class, with more disorders among lower social class groups. The study also found that treatment for mental disorder varied by class. Because Hollingshead and Redlich’s study included only treated cases, however, they could not draw inferences about possible social causes of mental disorders.

The Midtown Manhattan Study in the 1950s (Srole et al. 1962) investigated the distribution of mental disorders using a random selection household survey design. The interview responses were rated by psychiatrists on the team. The findings from this study continue to shape social epidemiology today. Mental disorders were found to be more prevalent among respondents of lower socioeconomic status. Childhood poverty was linked to psychiatric impairment in adulthood (an early application of the life course perspective on mental health). Those who had mental disorders were less likely to be upwardly mobile. The investigators hypothesized that exposure to childhood and adult stressors played a key role in the distribution of mental disorders as well as mental health (Cockerham 2005). Many of these findings were replicated in a study of Nova Scotia communities (Leighton et al. 1963).

The environmental perspective on mental health was also advanced by studies led by social psychologists. Americans View Their Mental Health, two nationally representative interview studies conducted in 1956 and 1976 (Veroff, Douvan, and Kulka 1981), examined patterns over time in the contributions of the social environment to both positive and negative mental well-being as well as to patterns of help seeking for those who experienced mental distress.

A notable advance in the survey technology for measuring the prevalence of mental disorders and their social correlates was the Epidemiological Catchment Area (ECA) project, conducted by NIMH and five universities in the 1980s (Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, Washington University, Duke University, and the University of California at Los Angeles). A multidisciplinary team, including sociologists, psychiatrists, and psychologists developed new diagnosis instruments to detect mental disorders for use in the general population (Robins and Regier 1991). These diagnostic instruments, derived from the third version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSMIII), were coupled with interviews that measured environmental factors, social class, race, ethnicity, stressors, social relationships, and other factors believed to correlate with the risk of developing mental disorders.

The separate samples for the ECA studies, however, were not representative of the entire population of the United States. In 1990 through 1992, NIMH funded the first national survey of mental disorders in the general U.S. population (n = 8,068), the National Comorbidity Survey (NCS; Kessler and Zhao 1999). The investigators updated the interview diagnostic measures to reflect those recently developed by the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization (Kessler et al. 1994). Along with diagnostic measures of depression, mania, anxiety, substance abuse, phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other mood and psychotic disorders, the NCS interviews included measures of environmental factors, personality, childhood conditions, physical health, and mental health care utilization. NCS investigated the concept of comorbidity, which is defined as the occurrence of more than one type of mental disorder in an individual.

The NCS has been widely emulated and expanded. A version of the NCS was also conducted in Canada. NIMH also funded a series of replications of the NCS in 2000 to 2003 (Kessler et al. 2005), and the method has been extended to studying mental health and illness in children. The World Health Association is currently coordinating international replications of the NCS ( http://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/ncs/ ).

As the foregoing brief historical overview shows, the study of mental health in sociology has been influenced by multiple disciplines. It is also host to a number of competing theoretical perspectives. The most widely discussed is the tension among medical, environmental, and societal reaction perspectives on the causes, consequences, and appropriate treatment of mental disorders. As a consequence of the host of influences on the field, there is considerable disagreement over the measurement of basic concepts in research, including how to define mental health and disorders (Kessler and Zhao 1999), environmental factors such as stressors, location, and socioeconomic status (Wheaton 1999); and social consequences such as disability, labeling, and social isolation (Horwitz and Scheid 1999; Pillemer et al. 2000). In addition, there is considerable creative tension between those who concentrate on establishing the incidence and prevalence of mental disorders and those who focus more on the correlates of mental health and mental illness (Mirowsky and Ross 2002, 2004). Finally, there is considerable research on the use of mental health services and on mental health policy.

As Clausen (1956) prophetically foresaw, sociologists who specialize in mental health frequently collaborate with those in other disciplines, such as developmental and social psychology, psychiatry, epidemiology, economics (Aneshensel and Phelan 1999; Gallagher 2002), and increasingly biology (Shanahan and Hofer 2005). The National Institutes of Health has encouraged and continues to encourage multidisciplinary approaches to the study of mental illness and disorders. Psychiatrists and clinical psychologists lay claim to the definitions of mental illness and disorder through the continuing revisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Mental Disorders, currently in its fourth edition (American Psychiatric Association 2000), as well as to measurements of mental distress (Radloff 1977), quality of life (Veroff et al. 1981), and social relationships and support (Cohen, Underwood, and Gottlieb 2000). Sociologists who study mental health compete for federal funds and intellectual prestige with those from other disciplines.

The presence of sociologists in interdisciplinary efforts to understand the causes, course, and consequences of mental illness and disorders is a positive situation; the influence of the sociology of mental health on other disciplines is tangible. A negative aspect of the interdisciplinary effort is that the sociology of mental health is sometimes viewed as isolated from the general field of sociology (Aneshensel and Phelan 1999). This perception may be exacerbated by the employment of sociologists of mental health (and other medical sociologists) in academic units other than Sociology departments. Members of the Sociology of Mental Health section of the American Sociological Association are employed in medical schools, schools of public health, schools of social work, and departments of human development. When theories of cause and measures of critical outcomes are shared with other disciplines, the question arises: What is the unique contribution of sociology to the study of mental health and illness? The answer to this question is pressing as there are calls for proposals that contribute to “the development, enhancement, and assembly of new data sets from existing data” and for research “that combines diverse levels of analysis” from national research and review bodies (National Institutes of Health 2004) as well as for research that examines the causes of health differences by socioeconomic status and behavioral risk factors across the life course (National Research Council 2004).

Five major perspectives, and combinations of these perspectives, are used in the contemporary sociology of mental health. The five major perspectives are (1) the medical model, (2) the environmental perspective, (3) the social psychological perspective, (4) societal reaction (or labeling), and (5) the life course perspective. The medical model views mental disorders as diseases and prescribes medical treatment as the appropriate cure. The environmental perspective asserts that factors such as social class, race, ethnicity, gender, urban location, and exposure to stressors may cause and most certainly shape risks for mental disorder. The social psychological perspective contributes insight into the social and relational factors that provide resources for adjusting to environmental stressors and restoring mental health and well-being. The social reaction perspective argues that mental illness emerges from social strain processes that produce deviance. The life course perspective views mental health and mental disorder as resulting from the accumulation of environmental stressors and exposures across the lifetime, in interaction with developmental and personal factors such as family structure, personality, and even genetic endowment. Researchers in the sociology of mental health often combine one or more of these perspectives in their research, with the life course perspective now generally seen as an emerging unifying paradigm (George 1999).

Although there is constant interaction between the mental health disciplines, several recent analyses of the state of theory in the sociology of mental health in the late twentieth century indicate the emergence of a distinct sociological approach. Horwitz and Scheid (1999) outlined two major approaches in the study of the sociology of mental health and illness. These two approaches are: (1) the social contexts producing or shaping mental health and disorder and (2) the recognition, treatment, and policy response to mental illness and disorder. In the same volume, Thoits (1999) described three major approaches that uniquely characterize the sociology of mental health: (1) stress exposure (a subset of the social context approach described by Horwitz and Scheid); (2) structural strain theory, which derives from Merton (1938); and (3) societal reaction, or labeling theory. Aneshensel and Phelan (1999) argue that the distinguishing issue in the sociological approach to mental illness is attention to how social stratification produces the unequal distribution of both disorders and mental health.

Aneshensel and Phelan also argue that a major challenge to the sociological approach to mental disorders is the debate between social causation and social selection explanations for the relationship between mental disorders and social class. The social selection approach hypothesizes that the reason there are more mental disorders in the lower economic class is because those with mental disorders are downwardly mobile economically or are unable to be upwardly mobile. This debate has many implications for interpreting how social stratification is linked to mental disorders and health (e.g., Miech et al. 1999).

The sociological approach also provides unique insight into the serious social consequences for those who have mental disorders, including socioeconomic success. The sociological approach also contributes research on the social factors that influence how institutions and individuals recognize when someone is mentally ill, how individuals are treated and how that treatment varies by social class, gender, and race, and who is more likely to use mental health care (e.g., Phelan et al. 2000).

The application of the sociological approach to mental health generates considerable empirical work that focuses on economic and other types of social stratification as determinants of mental health and mental disorder. This work is concentrated in research on stressor exposure, social relationships, and societal reaction to mental disorders.

The social context approach is a set of perspectives; the most well-known and applied outside the field of the sociology of mental health is the stress exposure perspective, which assumes that a combination or accumulation of stressors and difficulties can cause an onset of mental disorder. This perspective (Brown and Harris 1978; Dohrenwend et al. 1978), dominant in sociology, focuses on the level of change or threat posed by external events, and more recently, on the potential for chronic, unresolved stressors to threaten physical and mental health (Wheaton 1999).

Building on the strong history of social epidemiology in the field, the major assumption of this approach is that differential exposure to stressors by social class or social location is largely determined by social inequalities. In turn, the effects of prolonged stress exposure may perpetuate social inequality through the development of mental illness or disorder in disadvantaged populations (Pearlin et al. 2005). The latter point is more controversial (and in general less well developed theoretically); however the emerging life course or human developmental approach to the accumulation of disadvantage derives in some part from the stress exposure perspective (George 1999). The life course approach assumes that there is an accumulation of the negative effects of differential stressor exposure across life that perpetuates and magnifies inequalities and that many of these processes originate in childhood (e.g., McLeod and Kaiser 2004; McLeod and Nonnemaker 2000). A related stress exposure approach is stress diathesis, which assumes that stress exposure causes disorder only when there is a latent vulnerability (Eaton 2001). The diathesis approach is widely applied in psychiatric research on mental disorders.

Horwitz and Scheid (1999) add that in addition to stressor exposure, resources to help counter the negative impact of stressor exposure or to avoid stressor exposure also are differentially distributed by social class and location. The major types of social resources that vary by social class are (1) social integration, usually measured as access to meaningful and productive social roles (e.g., Pillemer et al. 2000); (2) social network characteristics (Turner and Turner 1999); (3) family structure (e.g., Turner, Sorenson, and Turner 2000); (4) received and perceived social support (Wethington and Kessler 1986); and (5) coping choices and styles (Pearlin and Schooler 1978; Pearlin et al. 1981). Thoits (1999) has pointed out that this approach, although distinct from the stressor exposure perspective, relies on stress exposure as a mechanism to activate the protective factors.

In an overview of the sociology of mental health, Thoits (1999) argued that there is no strong evidence that labeling or other societal reaction processes produce mental illness. However, the societal reaction perspective does provide an insight into social biases against those who display symptoms of mental disorder, which are often viewed as socially deviant. Aneshensel and Phelan (1999) concluded that there is a consensus among sociologists of mental health that mental disorders are objective entities and are not completely a product of social constructions. The strongest evidence for this conclusion is that symptoms of mental disorders are observed in all societies, although there are cultural variations in the ways that such symptoms are described and diagnosed.

A difficulty with this position for sociologists of mental health is that it implies there is widespread acceptance of the medical model, which can make theoretical interaction with other streams of sociology (e.g., the sociology of deviance) more contentious. Studies of the etiology of mental disorders in the population no longer routinely employ a deviance perspective. The stressor exposure model also applies a variation of the dose-response paradigm widely used in medical research. This acceptance of a variation of the medical model remains controversial and is probably related to the distance perceived between the sociology of mental health and the more mainstream sociology of stratification.

Yet another tension exists between opposing explanations of what causes social stratification in the distributions of mental disorders. On one side is the belief that routine functioning of society produces some of this stratification, as for example gender differences in the distribution of different types of disorders (Rosenfield 1999). In this view, mental distress and mental disorders can be produced by normal social processes such as gender role socialization. The stress exposure perspective, on the other hand, assumes that abnormal circumstances and events produce mental disorders and distress (Almeida and Kessler 1998). These two views are not necessarily impossible to resolve, but they continue to produce theoretical tensions.

Another factor producing distance between the sociology of mental health and the general field of sociology is the influence of social psychological theories on the field. As psychology has incorporated facets of the stress exposure perspective, sociologists of mental health have adopted ideas from social and developmental psychology on social support and relationships, coping, and life course development. An influential psychological perspective, the process of appraisal and coping, was developed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984), updated by Lazarus (1999), and has been further elaborated by Folkman and Moskowitz (2004). This perspective, dominant in the field of psychology, has emphasized how individual differences in perceptions of external stressors affect mental health. The focus of appraisal researchers on emotions as motivation for appraisal suggests commonality with biological research on emotion (Massey 2002). The theory of appraisal has been widely cited by sociologists who examine the impact of events on mental health (e.g.,Wethington and Kessler 1986).

The life course perspective (Elder 1974), now widely applied in the sociology of mental health (e.g., Wheaton and Clarke 2003; McLeod and Kaiser 2004), traces many of its components to the ecological perspective on human development pioneered by the developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979). The life course perspective theorizes that developmental trajectories, developmental or socially normative timing of the stressor, and the accumulation of stressor exposure and resistance factors shape reaction to stressors (Elder, George, and Shanahan 1996). In the last decade, the life course perspective on stress accumulation has also been applied by psychologists, clinical psychologists, and neuroscientists (e.g., Singer and Ryff 1999; McEwen 2002; Repetti, Taylor, and Seeman 2002). Neuroscientists McEwen and Stellar (1993) have developed the concept of allostatic load which describes physiological mechanisms for the accumulated effects of past adaptation to stressors on health. Allostatic load is currently being adapted by sociologists to use in studies of stressor exposure across the life course and its relationship to mental health and disorder (Shanahan, Hofer and Shanahan 2003; Shanahan and Hofer 2005).

Sociological and psychological research streams on the relationship between stressor exposure and mental health are converging through collaborative efforts that examine the impact of stressor accumulation along the individual life course (Elder et al. 1996; Singer et al. 1998). A serious problem, however, is that most measures of stressor exposure available to researchers focus on recent exposures rather than the interactions of different types of stressor exposure over the long term; the majority of stressor exposure measures used in research are simple counts or sums of life events occurring over a short period of time (Wheaton 1999). Investigating the relationships between stressors over time and their combined associations with mental health and well-being is an important strategy for examining the impact of stressors over the life course (George 1999).

Issues of causality and theoretical approach are controversial in the field. Given the complexity and controversies in the sociology of mental health and illness, it is not surprising that one of the critical areas of the field is measurement. The two most disputed areas involve the measurement of outcomes and the measurement of stressor exposure.

The controversy begins with the outcomes. There is an increasing consensus that positive mental health and wellbeing is not just the absence of mental illness or disorder (Keyes 2002). There is also a controversy over whether dichotomous diagnoses of psychiatric disorder should be a proper outcome for sociological inquiry, in contrast to scales of distress symptoms (Kessler 2002; Mirowsky and Ross 2002).

Research diagnostic measures of mental disorder are controversial on many dimensions. Wakefield (1999) criticized the diagnostic measures used in the Epidemiological Catchment Area and National Comorbodity Studies for overestimating the prevalence of lifetime mental disorder in the United States. The NCS estimated that one-half of all Americans will suffer from a mental disorder over their lifetime (Kessler et al. 1994). A recent reanalysis of the NCS (Narrow et al. 2002), applying a standard of clinical seriousness based on other questions available in the survey, reduced the lifetime prevalence estimates significantly to 32 percent lifetime prevalence.

Another issue of controversy is whether a dichotomous outcome measure of disorder, one either has the disorder or not, misses levels of distress or poor social functioning that indicate considerable mental suffering (Kessler 2002; Mirowsky and Ross 2002). Persistent or recurring symptoms of sleeplessness, fatigue, sadness, loneliness, lack of appetite, and loss of interest in things in response to chronic stressors or unexpected life events can be unpleasant and disabling even if the sufferer does not show all of the symptoms of depression required for a diagnosis. The high threshold required for a diagnosis of disorder may understate emotional responses to events in the population at large. Whereas mental disorders may be relatively uncommon, symptoms of distress in response to life events are commonly observed and may indicate the presence of social dysfunction and strain in ways that surveys of mental disorders do not.

Measures of stressor exposure are particularly problematic in the sociology of mental health (Wheaton 1999). A complicating factor is that other mental health disciplines enforce higher standards of precision in measurement than does sociology. In addition, the majority of studies using stressor exposure measures do not account for any interaction between combinations of particular types of stressors. Applying the life course perspective model on mental health would ultimately require more sophisticated measures on how stressors combine and interact across time.

Both the biomedical and sociological streams of research on stress processes share an interest in environmental triggers of distress (Selye 1956). Following Selye, early stress researchers applied Selye’s assumption that all environmental threats activated the same or similar physiological response, using sums of exposures to different types of stressful events (Turner and Wheaton 1995). Almost immediately, sociologists and other social researchers modified this assumption, finding that more explicit and comprehensive measurement of the characteristics of stressors often increased the amount of variance explained in the mental health outcome. These measures included the estimated average “magnitude of change” scores in Social Readjustment Rating Scale (the SRRS: Holmes and Rahe 1967) and the Psychiatric Epidemiology Research Interview for Life Events (the PERI; Dohrenwend et al. 1978). Furthermore, it became clear that other characteristics of stressors, such as their type, timing, duration, severity, unexpectedness, controllability and impacts on other aspects of life make significant contributions to the stress response and mental health outcome (e.g., Brown and Harris 1978, 1989; Pearlin and Schooler 1978; Wethington, Brown, and Kessler 1995).

The stress exposure model is evolving to model the dynamic, continuous adaptation to stressors over time (e.g., Heckhausen and Schulz 1995; Lazarus 1999; Folkman and Moskowitz 2004). Sociologists have developed measures of chronic stress exposure (Pearlin and Schooler 1978) and exposure to stressors and hassles on a daily basis (Almeida, Wethington, and Kessler 2002). Researchers debate the relative reliability and validity of self-report checklist and interview measures of life events that include detailed probes that enable investigators to rate the severity of life events (Wheaton 1999). Most recently, psychologists have contributed to understanding variations in the relationships of different types of stressors (social loss vs. trauma and chronic vs. acute stressor exposure), to immune system function and cortisol activity (e.g., Dickerson and Kemeny 2004; Segerstrom and Miller 2004). Sociologists are now considering the potential for using measures of physiological activity (e.g., cortisol measurement) in their studies (Shanahan et al. 2003).

Applying the life course perspective to studying mental disorders and health over time has led to concern about the reliability and validity of retrospective measures of stressor exposure (Wethington et al. 1995; Wheaton 1999). Empirical research on memory for life events over a relatively short recall period is reassuring; most severe events can be recalled quite well over a 12-month retrospective period (Kessler and Wethington 1991). Serious concerns remain about longer retrospective recall periods. This concern is partially mitigated by the development of life history calendar methods, visual memory aids that can be used in interviews to enhance memory for life events (Freedman et al. 1988).

Despite the complexity of measurement, sociologists have pioneered the study of psychiatric sociology, or the epidemiology of mental disorders. The recent advances of measurement in the ECA and NCS studies have produced measures of outcomes that are scientifically accepted across disciplines (Cockerham 2005). These studies have also provided critical data on the use of mental health services by those who suffer from significant disorders and have had a major influence on other fields of study. The major epidemiological research questions have focused around the distribution of mental disorders and illnesses by social factors, including gender, socioeconomic status, marital status, race, and ethnicity. There is some, but more limited work, on factors such as ethnicity, migration, and location.

There is dispute whether the overall rate of mental disorders and illnesses differs by gender. The consensus before the publication of national data from the NCS was that men and women did not differ overall in rates of mental disorders; rather, different types of disorders are distributed differently. Women are more likely to report depressed affect and depressive disorders. Men, in turn, are more likely to report alcohol and drug disorders, violent behavior, and other indicators of acting out. Major psychoses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are not distributed unequally by gender. There is now accumulating evidence that women are also more likely to report anxiety disorders (Kessler et al. 1994, 2005), which would mean that women are overall more likely to have mental disorders. Although there is continuing interest among biological and medical scientists to find a biological cause for women’s higher rates of some disorders, particularly depression, among sociologists social cause explanations still hold sway (e.g., Rosenfield 1999).

One of the most consistent findings in the epidemiology of mental disorders is that those of lower socioeconomic status are more likely to develop mental disorders (Cockerham 2005; Gallagher 2002). This general finding was confirmed by the NCS (Kessler and Zhao 1999). There is evidence, however, that those of higher statuses are more likely to suffer from affective disorders; the overrepresentation of mental disorders is due to higher rates of schizophrenia and some personality disorders among those of lower socioeconomic status.

Among sociologists of mental health, social causation theories continue to dominate, but more attention is being given to selection processes, especially the impact of mental disorders on upward economic mobility (e.g., Miech et al. 1999). Researchers who apply the life course perspective often study selection and economic mobility processes directly, most particularly those processes that affect educational attainment in early adulthood (e.g., McLeod and Kaiser 2004).

There remains considerable controversy in the literature whether members of racial minority groups report higher rates of mental disorder than majority racial groups. Given the relationship of socioeconomic status to mental health and disorders, it is logical to predict that rates of mental disorder in African Americans would be higher than the rates among white Americans because of the average lower socioeconomic status of blacks. Such a pattern would also reflect the additional burden of discrimination and prejudice and the impact such burdens have on mental well-being (Kessler, Mickelson, and Williams 1999).

The pattern of racial and ethnic differences, however, is more complex. For example, an analysis of risk and persistence of mental disorders among U.S. ethnic groups (Breslau et al. 2005) found that Hispanics reported lower lifetime prevalence of substance use disorders than whites, and that blacks reported lower lifetime prevalence of mood (depression or mania), anxiety, and substance use disorders. However, Hispanics were more likely to report persistent mood disorders (defined as recurrence of a past disorder), and blacks were more likely to report persistent mood and anxiety disorders. Research is needed on the factors that mitigate the impact of stressors on mental health of minority groups. Other researchers call for more attention to how mental disorders are measured and diagnosed in African Americans and other minority groups (e.g., Neighbors et al. 2003).

Although there is some evidence that pattern of mental distress by marital status may be changing as cohabitation becomes more socially accepted, the consensus still holds that married people are in better mental health and report fewer mental disorders than those who are not currently married. New research (Umberson and Williams 1999) points to the quality of the marital relationship as critical to mental well-being and health; those in unsatisfying or high-conflict marriages report poor mental health. Divorce is associated with poorer mental health over time, particularly among those who did not initiate the divorce.

Evidence such as that noted above is taken to mean that marriage confers benefits on mental health and may provide some protection against mental illness. Umberson and Williams (1999) note, however, that relatively little research has been done that has pitted the benefits of marriage perspective directly against the alternative social selection perspective that those who have mental disorders are less likely to marry or to remain married. Forthofer et al. (1996) estimated the relationship of age of onset of mental disorder on the probability of subsequent marriage. They found that those who have disorders are less likely to be married and when they marry have a higher risk of divorce. Unfortunately, studies that examine both social causation and social selection perspectives on marital status and mental health remain relatively rare, most likely because of the absence of satisfactory longitudinal data that can be used to address this issue.

One of the tensions in the sociology of mental health and illness is the interdisciplinary orientation of the field. Concepts are freely borrowed along the border of sociology and psychiatry/psychology. Much work is applied, or meant to be applied, to issues of importance to social policy, such as the social costs of untreated mental disorders. The life course perspective (Elder et al. 1996) is changing how research is done and how questions are being asked. New directions in the field include (1) a focus on comorbidity and severity of illness and its social impact, (2) the need for a closer connection between epidemiology and research on mental health services and policy, (3) the press to develop better measures of stressor exposure, (4) demand for more sophisticated measures and analyses of social resources, and (5) and the challenge of biological research on the stress process to the sociological study of mental health.

The study of comorbidity of mental disorders in people has transformed some aspects of the sociology of mental health. First, the documentation of comorbidity has influenced sociologists in the field to accept that mental illness is an objective reality. Second, it has become clear that those who are comorbid for multiple disorders are severely disabled in many important life roles. Their progress through life resembles the life path of “social selection.” Third, the acceptance that mental disorders are real physical entities, and the evidence for comorbidity are challenges to the environmental perspective on mental disorders. It is likely that those who have mental disorders attract or create stressor exposure (Eaton 2001). Thus, one major direction for sociological research in the future might be an emphasis on mental disorders as predictors, rather than outcomes, of social functioning and processes.

When reviewing the state of the sociology of mental health, Horwitz and Scheid (1999) observed that research on the social contexts of mental disorder and research on mental health services do not intersect all that much. They believed that this is because the two fields of research operate on different levels of analysis, one at the individual level and the other at the social or institutional level. A challenge for future research is to connect these two levels of analysis. Research on the social epidemiology of mental health and illness can inform organizations at all levels about the costs of untreated mental disorders to organizations and society in general.

As Wheaton (1999) observed, the social stress model requires considerable new development. This research paper has pointed out a number of methodological difficulties in measuring stressor exposure and the lack of fit between the most widely used measures of stressor exposure and the newly emerging life course perspective. Another advance would come through more detailed studies of how stressors are distributed in the population at large. Does the uneven distribution of stressors in the population “explain” the negative mental health outcomes for some groups? More research is needed in this area, ideally from the life course perspective, using longitudinal samples.

There is also a need for more research on the social distribution of resources that mitigate the impact of environmental challenges and stresses. Reviews of research on social support and social integration (e.g., Berkman and Glass 2000; Cohen et al. 2000; Pillemer et al. 2000) point out deficiencies in current measures of these resources. Do minority groups gain extra protection by asserting their identity and uniqueness? What is the social distribution of protective social resources? Do differences in distribution explain group differences in mental health?

The sociology of mental health is faced with a new challenge from the field of neuroscience. This research tends to be favored by federal funding agencies because of beliefs that neuroscience can lead to the discovery of new cures or therapeutic approaches to mental disorders. Neuroscience and its measurement equipment such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and cortisol sampling have the cachet of basic or “bench” science, while the observational and epidemiological approach of sociology is being portrayed as lower-quality science. However, the rise of neuroscience in research on mental disorders does not necessarily mean that social causes are irrelevant. The power of the new neuroscience of mental disorders is that it assumes there is an interaction between social factors and biological processes (McEwen 2002).

Yet there are serious impediments to the integration of sociological and biological research. One formidable impediment in sociology is the assumption that the biological perspective would reduce the entire stress process to individual differences in physical response, thus making environmental causation moot. Another impediment is that sociologists do not yet fully appreciate how much the biological approach to stress already incorporates measures of social context and stressors in studying adjustment to stressful events and situations (Singer and Ryff 1999). Sociologists (e.g., Pearlin et al. 1981) have long pointed out that the process of adjusting to stressors is a critical component of sociological and social psychological theories of the stress process (Thoits 1995). Thus, another challenge to sociologists of mental health is to incorporate techniques and measures that will powerfully represent the social context in multidisciplinary studies of mental health and mental disorders.


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Mental Health Prevention and Promotion—A Narrative Review

Associated data.

Extant literature has established the effectiveness of various mental health promotion and prevention strategies, including novel interventions. However, comprehensive literature encompassing all these aspects and challenges and opportunities in implementing such interventions in different settings is still lacking. Therefore, in the current review, we aimed to synthesize existing literature on various mental health promotion and prevention interventions and their effectiveness. Additionally, we intend to highlight various novel approaches to mental health care and their implications across different resource settings and provide future directions. The review highlights the (1) concept of preventive psychiatry, including various mental health promotions and prevention approaches, (2) current level of evidence of various mental health preventive interventions, including the novel interventions, and (3) challenges and opportunities in implementing concepts of preventive psychiatry and related interventions across the settings. Although preventive psychiatry is a well-known concept, it is a poorly utilized public health strategy to address the population's mental health needs. It has wide-ranging implications for the wellbeing of society and individuals, including those suffering from chronic medical problems. The researchers and policymakers are increasingly realizing the potential of preventive psychiatry; however, its implementation is poor in low-resource settings. Utilizing novel interventions, such as mobile-and-internet-based interventions and blended and stepped-care models of care can address the vast mental health need of the population. Additionally, it provides mental health services in a less-stigmatizing and easily accessible, and flexible manner. Furthermore, employing decision support systems/algorithms for patient management and personalized care and utilizing the digital platform for the non-specialists' training in mental health care are valuable additions to the existing mental health support system. However, more research concerning this is required worldwide, especially in the low-and-middle-income countries.


Mental disorder has been recognized as a significant public health concern and one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, particularly with the loss of productive years of the sufferer's life ( 1 ). The Global Burden of Disease report (2019) highlights an increase, from around 80 million to over 125 million, in the worldwide number of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) attributable to mental disorders. With this surge, mental disorders have moved into the top 10 significant causes of DALYs worldwide over the last three decades ( 2 ). Furthermore, this data does not include substance use disorders (SUDs), which, if included, would increase the estimated burden manifolds. Moreover, if the caregiver-related burden is accounted for, this figure would be much higher. Individual, social, cultural, political, and economic issues are critical mental wellbeing determinants. An increasing burden of mental diseases can, in turn, contribute to deterioration in physical health and poorer social and economic growth of a country ( 3 ). Mental health expenditure is roughly 3–4% of their Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) in developed regions of the world; however, the figure is abysmally low in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs) ( 4 ). Untreated mental health and behavioral problems in childhood and adolescents, in particular, have profound long-term social and economic adverse consequences, including increased contact with the criminal justice system, lower employment rate and lesser wages among those employed, and interpersonal difficulties ( 5 – 8 ).

Need for Mental Health (MH) Prevention

Longitudinal studies suggest that individuals with a lower level of positive wellbeing are more likely to acquire mental illness ( 9 ). Conversely, factors that promote positive wellbeing and resilience among individuals are critical in preventing mental illnesses and better outcomes among those with mental illness ( 10 , 11 ). For example, in patients with depressive disorders, higher premorbid resilience is associated with earlier responses ( 12 ). On the contrary, patients with bipolar affective- and recurrent depressive disorders who have a lower premorbid quality of life are at higher risk of relapses ( 13 ).

Recently there has been an increased emphasis on the need to promote wellbeing and positive mental health in preventing the development of mental disorders, for poor mental health has significant social and economic implications ( 14 – 16 ). Research also suggests that mental health promotion and preventative measures are cost-effective in preventing or reducing mental illness-related morbidity, both at the society and individual level ( 17 ).

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely an absence of disease or infirmity,” there has been little effort at the global level or stagnation in implementing effective mental health services ( 18 ). Moreover, when it comes to the research on mental health (vis-a-viz physical health), promotive and preventive mental health aspects have received less attention vis-a-viz physical health. Instead, greater emphasis has been given to the illness aspect, such as research on psychopathology, mental disorders, and treatment ( 19 , 20 ). Often, physicians and psychiatrists are unfamiliar with various concepts, approaches, and interventions directed toward mental health promotion and prevention ( 11 , 21 ).

Prevention and promotion of mental health are essential, notably in reducing the growing magnitude of mental illnesses. However, while health promotion and disease prevention are universally regarded concepts in public health, their strategic application for mental health promotion and prevention are often elusive. Furthermore, given the evidence of substantial links between psychological and physical health, the non-incorporation of preventive mental health services is deplorable and has serious ramifications. Therefore, policymakers and health practitioners must be sensitized about linkages between mental- and physical health to effectively implement various mental health promotive and preventive interventions, including in individuals with chronic physical illnesses ( 18 ).

The magnitude of the mental health problems can be gauged by the fact that about 10–20% of young individuals worldwide experience depression ( 22 ). As described above, poor mental health during childhood is associated with adverse health (e.g., substance use and abuse), social (e.g., delinquency), academic (e.g., school failure), and economic (high risk of poverty) adverse outcomes in adulthood ( 23 ). Childhood and adolescence are critical periods for setting the ground for physical growth and mental wellbeing ( 22 ). Therefore, interventions promoting positive psychology empower youth with the life skills and opportunities to reach their full potential and cope with life's challenges. Comprehensive mental health interventions involving families, schools, and communities have resulted in positive physical and psychological health outcomes. However, the data is limited to high-income countries (HICs) ( 24 – 28 ).

In contrast, in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) that bear the greatest brunt of mental health problems, including massive, coupled with a high treatment gap, such interventions remained neglected in public health ( 29 , 30 ). This issue warrants prompt attention, particularly when global development strategies such as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) realize the importance of mental health ( 31 ). Furthermore, studies have consistently reported that people with socioeconomic disadvantages are at a higher risk of mental illness and associated adverse outcomes; partly, it is attributed to the inequitable distribution of mental health services ( 32 – 35 ).

Scope of Mental Health Promotion and Prevention in the Current Situation

Literature provides considerable evidence on the effectiveness of various preventive mental health interventions targeting risk and protective factors for various mental illnesses ( 18 , 36 – 42 ). There is also modest evidence of the effectiveness of programs focusing on early identification and intervention for severe mental diseases (e.g., schizophrenia and psychotic illness, and bipolar affective disorders) as well as common mental disorders (e.g., anxiety, depression, stress-related disorders) ( 43 – 46 ). These preventive measures have also been evaluated for their cost-effectiveness with promising findings. In addition, novel interventions such as digital-based interventions and novel therapies (e.g., adventure therapy, community pharmacy program, and Home-based Nurse family partnership program) to address the mental health problems have yielded positive results. Likewise, data is emerging from LMICs, showing at least moderate evidence of mental health promotion intervention effectiveness. However, most of the available literature and intervention is restricted mainly to the HICs ( 47 ). Therefore, their replicability in LMICs needs to be established and, also, there is a need to develop locally suited interventions.

Fortunately, there has been considerable progress in preventive psychiatry over recent decades, including research on it. In the light of these advances, there is an accelerated interest among researchers, clinicians, governments, and policymakers to harness the potentialities of the preventive strategies to improve the availability, accessibility, and utility of such services for the community.

The Concept of Preventive Psychiatry

Origins of preventive psychiatry.

The history of preventive psychiatry can be traced back to the early 1900's with the foundation of the national mental health association (erstwhile mental health association), the committee on mental hygiene in New York, and the mental health hygiene movement ( 48 ). The latter emphasized the need for physicians to develop empathy and recognize and treat mental illness early, leading to greater awareness about mental health prevention ( 49 ). Despite that, preventive psychiatry remained an alien concept for many, including mental health professionals, particularly when the etiology of most psychiatric disorders was either unknown or poorly understood. However, recent advances in our understanding of the phenomena underlying psychiatric disorders and availability of the neuroimaging and electrophysiological techniques concerning mental illness and its prognosis has again brought the preventive psychiatry in the forefront ( 1 ).

Levels of Prevention

The literal meaning of “prevention” is “the act of preventing something from happening” ( 50 ); the entity being prevented can range from the risk factors of the development of the illness, the onset of illness, or the recurrence of the illness or associated disability. The concept of prevention emerged primarily from infectious diseases; measures like mass vaccination and sanitation promotion have helped prevent the development of the diseases and subsequent fatalities. The original preventive model proposed by the Commission on Chronic Illness in 1957 included primary, secondary, and tertiary preventions ( 48 ).

The Concept of Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Prevention

The stages of prevention target distinct aspects of the illness's natural course; the primary prevention acts at the stage of pre-pathogenesis, that is, when the disease is yet to occur, whereas the secondary and tertiary prevention target the phase after the onset of the disease ( 51 ). Primary prevention includes health promotion and specific protection, while secondary and tertairy preventions include early diagnosis and treatment and measures to decrease disability and rehabilitation, respectively ( 51 ) ( Figure 1 ).

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The concept of primary and secondary prevention [adopted from prevention: Primary, Secondary, Tertiary by Bauman et al. ( 51 )].

The primary prevention targets those individuals vulnerable to developing mental disorders and their consequences because of their bio-psycho-social attributes. Therefore, it can be viewed as an intervention to prevent an illness, thereby preventing mental health morbidity and potential social and economic adversities. The preventive strategies under it usually target the general population or individuals at risk. Secondary and tertiary prevention targets those who have already developed the illness, aiming to reduce impairment and morbidity as soon as possible. However, these measures usually occur in a person who has already developed an illness, therefore facing related suffering, hence may not always be successful in curing or managing the illness. Thus, secondary and tertiary prevention measures target the already exposed or diagnosed individuals.

The Concept of Universal, Selective, and Indicated Prevention

The classification of health prevention based on primary/secondary/tertiary prevention is limited in being highly centered on the etiology of the illness; it does not consider the interaction between underlying etiology and risk factors of an illness. Gordon proposed another model of prevention that focuses on the degree of risk an individual is at, and accordingly, the intensity of intervention is determined. He has classified it into universal, selective, and indicated prevention. A universal preventive strategy targets the whole population irrespective of individual risk (e.g., maintaining healthy, psychoactive substance-free lifestyles); selective prevention is targeted to those at a higher risk than the general population (socio-economically disadvantaged population, e.g., migrants, a victim of a disaster, destitute, etc.). The indicated prevention aims at those who have established risk factors and are at a high risk of getting the disease (e.g., family history of psychiatric illness, history of substance use, certain personality types, etc.). Nevertheless, on the other hand, these two classifications (the primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention; and universal, selective, and indicated prevention) have been intended for and are more appropriate for physical illnesses with a clear etiology or risk factors ( 48 ).

In 1994, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Prevention of Mental Disorders proposed a new paradigm that classified primary preventive measures for mental illnesses into three categories. These are indicated, selected, and universal preventive interventions (refer Figure 2 ). According to this paradigm, primary prevention was limited to interventions done before the onset of the mental illness ( 48 ). In contrast, secondary and tertiary prevention encompasses treatment and maintenance measures ( Figure 2 ).

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The interventions for mental illness as classified by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Prevention of Mental Disorders [adopted from Mrazek and Haggerty ( 48 )].

Although the boundaries between prevention and treatment are often more overlapping than being exclusive, the new paradigm can be used to avoid confusion stemming from the common belief that prevention can take place at all parts of mental health management ( 48 ). The onset of mental illnesses can be prevented by risk reduction interventions, which can involve reducing risk factors in an individual and strengthening protective elements in them. It aims to target modifiable factors, both risk, and protective factors, associated with the development of the illness through various general and specific interventions. These interventions can work across the lifespan. The benefits are not restricted to reduction or delay in the onset of illness but also in terms of severity or duration of illness ( 48 ).On the spectrum of mental health interventions, universal preventive interventions are directed at the whole population without identifiable risk factors. The interventions are beneficial for the general population or sub-groups. Prenatal care and childhood vaccination are examples of preventative measures that have benefited both physical and mental health. Selective preventive mental health interventions are directed at people or a subgroup with a significantly higher risk of developing mental disorders than the general population. Risk groups are those who, because of their vulnerabilities, are at higher risk of developing mental illnesses, e.g., infants with low-birth-weight (LBW), vulnerable children with learning difficulties or victims of maltreatment, elderlies, etc. Specific interventions are home visits and new-born day care facilities for LBW infants, preschool programs for all children living in resource-deprived areas, support groups for vulnerable elderlies, etc. Indicated preventive interventions focus on high-risk individuals who have developed minor but observable signs or symptoms of mental disorder or genetic risk factors for mental illness. However, they have not fulfilled the criteria of a diagnosable mental disorder. For instance, the parent-child interaction training program is an indicated prevention strategy that offers support to children whose parents have recognized them as having behavioral difficulties.

The overall objective of mental health promotion and prevention is to reduce the incidence of new cases, additionally delaying the emergence of mental illness. However, promotion and prevention in mental health complement each other rather than being mutually exclusive. Moreover, combining these two within the overall public health framework reduces stigma, increases cost-effectiveness, and provides multiple positive outcomes ( 18 ).

How Prevention in Psychiatry Differs From Other Medical Disorders

Compared to physical illnesses, diagnosing a mental illness is more challenging, particularly when there is still a lack of objective assessment methods, including diagnostic tools and biomarkers. Therefore, the diagnosis of mental disorders is heavily influenced by the assessors' theoretical perspectives and subjectivity. Moreover, mental illnesses can still be considered despite an individual not fulfilling the proper diagnostic criteria led down in classificatory systems, but there is detectable dysfunction. Furthermore, the precise timing of disorder initiation or transition from subclinical to clinical condition is often uncertain and inconclusive ( 48 ). Therefore, prevention strategies are well-delineated and clear in the case of physical disorders while it's still less prevalent in mental health parlance.

Terms, Definitions, and Concepts

The terms mental health, health promotion, and prevention have been differently defined and interpreted. It is further complicated by overlapping boundaries of the concept of promotion and prevention. Some commonly used terms in mental health prevention have been tabulated ( Table 1 ) ( 18 ).

Commonly used terms in mental health prevention.

Mental Health Promotion and Protection

The term “mental health promotion” also has definitional challenges as it signifies different things to different individuals. For some, it means the treatment of mental illness; for others, it means preventing the occurrence of mental illness; while for others, it means increasing the ability to manage frustration, stress, and difficulties by strengthening one's resilience and coping abilities ( 54 ). It involves promoting the value of mental health and improving the coping capacities of individuals rather than amelioration of symptoms and deficits.

Mental health promotion is a broad concept that encompasses the entire population, and it advocates for a strengths-based approach and tries to address the broader determinants of mental health. The objective is to eliminate health inequalities via empowerment, collaboration, and participation. There is mounting evidence that mental health promotion interventions improve mental health, lower the risk of developing mental disorders ( 48 , 55 , 56 ) and have socioeconomic benefits ( 24 ). In addition, it strives to increase an individual's capacity for psychosocial wellbeing and adversity adaptation ( 11 ).

However, the concepts of mental health promotion, protection, and prevention are intrinsically linked and intertwined. Furthermore, most mental diseases result from complex interaction risk and protective factors instead of a definite etiology. Facilitating the development and timely attainment of developmental milestones across an individual's lifespan is critical for positive mental health ( 57 ). Although mental health promotion and prevention are essential aspects of public health with wide-ranging benefits, their feasibility and implementation are marred by financial and resource constraints. The lack of cost-effectiveness studies, particularly from the LMICs, further restricts its full realization ( 47 , 58 , 59 ).

Despite the significance of the topic and a considerable amount of literature on it, a comprehensive review is still lacking that would cover the concept of mental health promotion and prevention and simultaneously discusses various interventions, including the novel techniques delivered across the lifespan, in different settings, and level of prevention. Therefore, this review aims to analyze the existing literature on various mental health promotion and prevention-based interventions and their effectiveness. Furthermore, its attempts to highlight the implications of such intervention in low-resource settings and provides future directions. Such literature would add to the existing literature on mental health promotion and prevention research and provide key insights into the effectiveness of such interventions and their feasibility and replicability in various settings.


For the current review, key terms like “mental health promotion,” OR “protection,” OR “prevention,” OR “mitigation” were used to search relevant literature on Google Scholar, PubMed, and Cochrane library databases, considering a time period between 2000 to 2019 ( Supplementary Material 1 ). However, we have restricted our search till 2019 for non-original articles (reviews, commentaries, viewpoints, etc.), assuming that it would also cover most of the original articles published until then. Additionally, we included original papers from the last 5 years (2016–2021) so that they do not get missed out if not covered under any published review. The time restriction of 2019 for non-original articles was applied to exclude papers published during the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as the latter was a significant event, bringing about substantial change and hence, it warranted a different approach to cater to the MH needs of the population, including MH prevention measures. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the flooding of novel interventions for mental health prevention and promotion, specifically targeting the pandemic and its consequences, which, if included, could have biased the findings of the current review on various MH promotion and prevention interventions.

A time frame of about 20 years was taken to see the effectiveness of various MH promotion and protection interventions as it would take substantial time to be appreciated in real-world situations. Therefore, the current paper has put greater reliance on the review articles published during the last two decades, assuming that it would cover most of the original articles published until then.

The above search yielded 320 records: 225 articles from Google scholar, 59 articles from PubMed, and 36 articles from the Cochrane database flow-diagram of records screening. All the records were title/abstract screened by all the authors to establish the suitability of those records for the current review; a bibliographic- and gray literature search was also performed. In case of any doubts or differences in opinion, it was resolved by mutual discussion. Only those articles directly related to mental health promotion, primary prevention, and related interventions were included in the current review. In contrast, records that discussed any specific conditions/disorders (post-traumatic stress disorders, suicide, depression, etc.), specific intervention (e.g., specific suicide prevention intervention) that too for a particular population (e.g., disaster victims) lack generalizability in terms of mental health promotion or prevention, those not available in the English language, and whose full text was unavailable were excluded. The findings of the review were described narratively.

Interventions for Mental Health Promotion and Prevention and Their Evidence

Various interventions have been designed for mental health promotion and prevention. They are delivered and evaluated across the regions (high-income countries to low-resource settings, including disaster-affiliated regions of the world), settings (community-based, school-based, family-based, or individualized); utilized different psychological constructs and therapies (cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral interventions, coping skills training, interpersonal therapies, general health education, etc.); and delivered by different professionals/facilitators (school-teachers, mental health professionals or paraprofessionals, peers, etc.). The details of the studies, interventions used, and outcomes have been provided in Supplementary Table 1 . Below we provide the synthesized findings of the available research.

The majority of the available studies were quantitative and experimental. Randomized controlled trials comprised a sizeable proportion of the studies; others were quasi-experimental studies and, a few, qualitative studies. The studies primarily focussed on school students or the younger population, while others were explicitly concerned with the mental health of young females ( 60 ). Newer data is emerging on mental health promotion and prevention interventions for elderlies (e.g., dementia) ( 61 ). The majority of the research had taken a broad approach to mental health promotion ( 62 ). However, some studies have focused on universal prevention ( 63 , 64 ) or selective prevention ( 65 – 68 ). For instance, the Resourceful Adolescent Program (RAPA) was implemented across the schools and has utilized cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal therapies and reported a significant improvement in depressive symptoms. Some of the interventions were directed at enhancing an individual's characteristics like resilience, behavior regulation, and coping skills (ZIPPY's Friends) ( 69 ), while others have focused on the promotion of social and emotional competencies among the school children and attempted to reduce the gap in such competencies across the socio-economic classes (“Up” program) ( 70 ) or utilized expressive abilities of the war-affected children (Writing for Recover (WfR) intervention) ( 71 ) to bring about an improvement in their psychological problems (a type of selective prevention) ( 62 ) or harnessing the potential of Art, in the community-based intervention, to improve self-efficacy, thus preventing mental disorders (MAD about Art program) ( 72 ). Yet, others have focused on strengthening family ( 60 , 73 ), community relationships ( 62 ), and targeting modifiable risk factors across the life course to prevent dementia among the elderlies and also to support the carers of such patients ( 61 ).

Furthermore, more of the studies were conducted and evaluated in the developed parts of the world, while emerging economies, as anticipated, far lagged in such interventions or related research. The interventions that are specifically adapted for local resources, such as school-based programs involving paraprofessionals and teachers in the delivery of mental health interventions, were shown to be more effective ( 62 , 74 ). Likewise, tailored approaches for low-resource settings such as LMICs may also be more effective ( 63 ). Some of these studies also highlight the beneficial role of a multi-dimensional approach ( 68 , 75 ) and interventions targeting early lifespan ( 76 , 77 ).

Newer Insights: How to Harness Digital Technology and Novel Methods of MH Promotion and Protection

With the advent of digital technology and simultaneous traction on mental health promotion and prevention interventions, preventive psychiatrists and public health experts have developed novel techniques to deliver mental health promotive and preventive interventions. These encompass different settings (e.g., school, home, workplace, the community at large, etc.) and levels of prevention (universal, selective, indicated) ( 78 – 80 ).

The advanced technologies and novel interventions have broadened the scope of MH promotion and prevention, such as addressing the mental health issues of individuals with chronic medical illness ( 81 , 82 ), severe mental disorders ( 83 ), children and adolescents with mental health problems, and geriatric population ( 78 ). Further, it has increased the accessibility and acceptability of such interventions in a non-stigmatizing and tailored manner. Moreover, they can be integrated into the routine life of the individuals.

For instance, Internet-and Mobile-based interventions (IMIs) have been utilized to monitor health behavior as a form of MH prevention and a stand-alone self-help intervention. Moreover, the blended approach has expanded the scope of MH promotive and preventive interventions such as face-to-face interventions coupled with remote therapies. Simultaneously, it has given way to the stepped-care (step down or step-up care) approach of treatment and its continuation ( 79 ). Also, being more interactive and engaging is particularly useful for the youth.

The blended model of care has utilized IMIs to a varying degree and at various stages of the psychological interventions. This includes IMIs as a supplementary approach to the face-to-face-interventions (FTFI), FTFI augmented by behavior intervention technologies (BITs), BITs augmented by remote human support, and fully automated BITs ( 84 ).

The stepped care model of mental health promotion and prevention strategies includes a stepped-up approach, wherein BITs are utilized to manage the prodromal symptoms, thereby preventing the onset of the full-blown episode. In the Stepped-down approach, the more intensive treatments (in-patient or out-patient based interventions) are followed and supplemented with the BITs to prevent relapse of the mental illness, such as for previously admitted patients with depression or substance use disorders ( 85 , 86 ).

Similarly, the latest research has developed newer interventions for strengthening the psychological resilience of the public or at-risk individuals, which can be delivered at the level of the home, such as, e.g., nurse family partnership program (to provide support to the young and vulnerable mothers and prevent childhood maltreatment) ( 87 ); family healing together program aimed at improving the mental health of the family members living with persons with mental illness (PwMI) ( 88 ). In addition, various novel interventions for MH promotion and prevention have been highlighted in the Table 2 .

Depiction of various novel mental health promotion and prevention strategies.

a/w, associated with; A-V, audio-visual; b/w, between; CBT, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; CES-Dep., Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale; CG, control group; FU, follow-up; GAD, generalized anxiety disorders-7; IA, intervention arm; HCWs, Health Care Workers; LMIC, low and middle-income countries; MDD, major depressive disorders; mgt, management; MH, mental health; MHP, mental health professional; MINI, mini neuropsychiatric interview; NNT, number needed to treat; PHQ-9, patient health questionnaire; TAU, treatment as usual .

Furthermore, school/educational institutes-based interventions such as school-Mental Health Magazines to increase mental health literacy among the teachers and students have been developed ( 80 ). In addition, workplace mental health promotional activities have targeted the administrators, e.g., guided “e-learning” for the managers that have shown to decrease the mental health problems of the employees ( 102 ).

Likewise, digital technologies have also been harnessed in strengthening community mental health promotive/preventive services, such as the mental health first aid (MHFA) Books on Prescription initiative in New Zealand provided information and self-help tools through library networks and trained book “prescribers,” particularly in rural and remote areas ( 103 ).

Apart from the common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders in the childhood/adolescents, novel interventions have been utilized to prevent the development of or management of medical, including preventing premature mortality and psychological issues among the individuals with severe mental illnesses (SMIs), e.g., Lets' talk about tobacco-web based intervention and motivational interviewing to prevent tobacco use, weight reduction measures, and promotion of healthy lifestyles (exercise, sleep, and balanced diets) through individualized devices, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disorders ( 83 ). Similarly, efforts have been made to improve such individuals' coping skills and employment chances through the WorkingWell mobile application in the US ( 104 ).

Apart from the digital-based interventions, newer, non-digital-based interventions have also been utilized to promote mental health and prevent mental disorders among individuals with chronic medical conditions. One such approach in adventure therapy aims to support and strengthen the multi-dimensional aspects of self. It includes the physical, emotional or cognitive, social, spiritual, psychological, or developmental rehabilitation of the children and adolescents with cancer. Moreover, it is delivered in the natural environment outside the hospital premises, shifting the focus from the illness model to the wellness model ( 81 ). Another strength of this intervention is it can be delivered by the nurses and facilitate peer support and teamwork.

Another novel approach to MH prevention is gut-microbiota and dietary interventions. Such interventions have been explored with promising results for the early developmental disorders (Attention deficit hyperactive disorder, Autism spectrum disorders, etc.) ( 105 ). It works under the framework of the shared vulnerability model for common mental disorders and other non-communicable diseases and harnesses the neuroplasticity potential of the developing brain. Dietary and lifestyle modifications have been recommended for major depressive disorders by the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Australia ( 106 ). As most childhood mental and physical disorders are determined at the level of the in-utero and early after the birth period, targeting maternal nutrition is another vital strategy. The utility has been expanded from maternal nutrition to women of childbearing age. The various novel mental health promotion and prevention strategies are shown in Table 2 .

Newer research is emerging that has utilized the digital platform for training non-specialists in diagnosis and managing individuals with mental health problems, such as Atmiyata Intervention and The SMART MH Project in India, and The Allillanchu Project in Peru, to name a few ( 99 ). Such frameworks facilitate task-sharing by the non-specialist and help in reducing the treatment gap in these countries. Likewise, digital algorithms or decision support systems have been developed to make mental health services more transparent, personalized, outcome-driven, collaborative, and integrative; one such example is DocuMental, a clinical decision support system (DSS). Similarly, frameworks like i-PROACH, a cloud-based intelligent platform for research outcome assessment and care in mental health, have expanded the scope of the mental health support system, including promoting research in mental health ( 100 ). In addition, COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in wider dissemination of the applications based on the evidence-based psycho-social interventions such as National Health Service's (NHS's) Mind app and Headspace (teaching meditation via a website or a phone application) that have utilized mindfulness-based practices to address the psychological problems of the population ( 101 ).

Challenges in Implementing Novel MH Promotion and Prevention Strategies

Although novel interventions, particularly internet and mobile-based interventions (IMIs), are effective models for MH promotion and prevention, their cost-effectiveness requires further exploration. Moreover, their feasibility and acceptability in LMICs could be challenging. Some of these could be attributed to poor digital literacy, digital/network-related limitations, privacy issues, and society's preparedness to implement these interventions.

These interventions need to be customized and adapted according to local needs and context, for which implementation and evaluative research are warranted. In addition, the infusion of more human and financial resources for such activities is required. Some reports highlight that many of these interventions do not align with the preferences and use the pattern of the service utilizers. For instance, one explorative research on mental health app-based interventions targeting youth found that despite the burgeoning applications, they are not aligned with the youth's media preferences and learning patterns. They are less interactive, have fewer audio-visual displays, are not youth-specific, are less dynamic, and are a single touch app ( 107 ).

Furthermore, such novel interventions usually come with high costs. In low-resource settings where service utilizers have limited finances, their willingness to use such services may be doubtful. Moreover, insurance companies, including those in high-income countries (HICs), may not be willing to fund such novel interventions, which restricts the accessibility and availability of interventions.

Research points to the feasibility and effectiveness of incorporating such novel interventions in routine services such as school, community, primary care, or settings, e.g., in low-resource settings, the resource persons like teachers, community health workers, and primary care physicians are already overburdened. Therefore, their willingness to take up additional tasks may raise skepticism. Moreover, the attitudinal barrier to moving from the traditional service delivery model to the novel methods may also impede.

Considering the low MH budget and less priority on the MH prevention and promotion activities in most low-resource settings, the uptake of such interventions in the public health framework may be lesser despite the latter's proven high cost-effectiveness. In contrast, policymakers may be more inclined to invest in the therapeutic aspects of MH.

Such interventions open avenues for personalized and precision medicine/health care vs. the traditional model of MH promotion and preventive interventions ( 108 , 109 ). For instance, multivariate prediction algorithms with methods of machine learning and incorporating biological research, such as genetics, may help in devising tailored, particularly for selected and indicated prevention, interventions for depression, suicide, relapse prevention, etc. ( 79 ). Therefore, more research in this area is warranted.

To be more clinically relevant, greater biological research in MH prevention is required to identify those at higher risk of developing given mental disorders due to the existing risk factors/prominent stress ( 110 ). For instance, researchers have utilized the transcriptional approach to identify a biological fingerprint for susceptibility (denoting abnormal early stress response) to develop post-traumatic stress disorders among the psychological trauma survivors by analyzing the expression of the Peripheral blood mononuclear cell gene expression profiles ( 111 ). Identifying such biological markers would help target at-risk individuals through tailored and intensive interventions as a form of selected prevention.

Similarly, such novel interventions can help in targeting the underlying risk such as substance use, poor stress management, family history, personality traits, etc. and protective factors, e.g., positive coping techniques, social support, resilience, etc., that influences the given MH outcome ( 79 ). Therefore, again, it opens the scope of tailored interventions rather than a one-size-fits-all model of selective and indicated prevention for various MH conditions.

Furthermore, such interventions can be more accessible for the hard-to-reach populations and those with significant mental health stigma. Finally, they play a huge role in ensuring the continuity of care, particularly when community-based MH services are either limited or not available. For instance, IMIs can maintain the improvement of symptoms among individuals previously managed in-patient, such as for suicide, SUDs, etc., or receive intensive treatment like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) for depression or anxiety, thereby helping relapse prevention ( 86 , 112 ). Hence, such modules need to be developed and tested in low-resource settings.

IMIs (and other novel interventions) being less stigmatizing and easily accessible, provide a platform to engage individuals with chronic medical problems, e.g., epilepsy, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc., and non-mental health professionals, thereby making it more relevant and appealing for them.

Lastly, research on prevention-interventions needs to be more robust to adjust for the pre-intervention matching, high attrition rate, studying the characteristics of treatment completers vs. dropouts, and utilizing the intention-to-treat analysis to gauge the effect of such novel interventions ( 78 ).

Recommendations for Low-and-Middle-Income Countries

Although there is growing research on the effectiveness and utility of mental health promotion/prevention interventions across the lifespan and settings, low-resource settings suffer from specific limitations that restrict the full realization of such public health strategies, including implementing the novel intervention. To overcome these challenges, some of the potential solutions/recommendations are as follows:

  • The mental health literacy of the population should be enhanced through information, education, and communication (IEC) activities. In addition, these activities should reduce stigma related to mental problems, early identification, and help-seeking for mental health-related issues.
  • Involving teachers, workplace managers, community leaders, non-mental health professionals, and allied health staff in mental health promotion and prevention is crucial.
  • Mental health concepts and related promotion and prevention should be incorporated into the education curriculum, particularly at the medical undergraduate level.
  • Training non-specialists such as community health workers on mental health-related issues across an individual's life course and intervening would be an effective strategy.
  • Collaborating with specialists from other disciplines, including complementary and alternative medicines, would be crucial. A provision of an integrated health system would help in increasing awareness, early identification, and prompt intervention for at-risk individuals.
  • Low-resource settings need to develop mental health promotion interventions such as community-and school-based interventions, as these would be more culturally relevant, acceptable, and scalable.
  • Utilizing a digital platform for scaling mental health services (e.g., telepsychiatry services to at-risk populations) and training the key individuals in the community would be a cost-effective framework that must be explored.
  • Infusion of higher financial and human resources in this area would be a critical step, as, without adequate resources, research, service development, and implementation would be challenging.
  • It would also be helpful to identify vulnerable populations and intervene in them to prevent the development of clinical psychiatric disorders.
  • Lastly, involving individuals with lived experiences at the level of mental health planning, intervention development, and delivery would be cost-effective.

Clinicians, researchers, public health experts, and policymakers have increasingly realized mental health promotion and prevention. Investment in Preventive psychiatry appears to be essential considering the substantial burden of mental and neurological disorders and the significant treatment gap. Literature suggests that MH promotive and preventive interventions are feasible and effective across the lifespan and settings. Moreover, various novel interventions (e.g., internet-and mobile-based interventions, new therapies) have been developed worldwide and proven effective for mental health promotion and prevention; such interventions are limited mainly to HICs.

Despite the significance of preventive psychiatry in the current world and having a wide-ranging implication for the wellbeing of society and individuals, including those suffering from chronic medical problems, it is a poorly utilized public health field to address the population's mental health needs. Lately, researchers and policymakers have realized the untapped potentialities of preventive psychiatry. However, its implementation in low-resource settings is still in infancy and marred by several challenges. The utilization of novel interventions, such as digital-based interventions, and blended and stepped-care models of care, can address the enormous mental health need of the population. Additionally, it provides mental health services in a less-stigmatizing and easily accessible, and flexible manner. More research concerning this is required from the LMICs.

Author Contributions

VS, AK, and SG: methodology, literature search, manuscript preparation, and manuscript review. All authors contributed to the article and approved the submitted version.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher's Note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Supplementary Material

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.898009/full#supplementary-material

mental health essay paper

A block party during Carnival in Belo Horizonte, Brazil; 11 February 2024. Photo by Washington Alves/Reuters

Learning to be happier

In order to help improve my students’ mental health, i offered a course on the science of happiness. it worked – but why.

by Bruce Hood   + BIO

In 2018, a tragic period enveloped the University of Bristol, when several students committed suicide related to work stress. Suicide is usually the ultimate culmination of a crisis in mental health, but these students weren’t alone in feeling extreme pressure: across the campus there was a pervasive sense that the general student body was not coping with the demands of higher education. My own tutee students, whom I met on a regular basis, were reporting poor mental health or asking for extensions because they were unable to meet deadlines that were stressing them out. They were overly obsessed with marks and other performance outcomes, and this impacted not only on them, but also on the teaching and support staff who were increasingly dealing with alleviating student anxiety. Students wanted more support that most felt was lacking and, in an effort to deal with the issue, the university had invested heavily, making more provision for mental health services. The problem with this strategy, however, is that by the time someone seeks out professional services, they are already at a crisis point. I felt compelled to do something.

At the time, Bristol University was described in the British press as a ‘toxic’ environment, but this was an unfair label as every higher education institution was, and still is, experiencing a similar mental health crisis. Even in the Ivy League universities in the United States, there was a problem, as I discovered when I became aware of a course on positive psychology that had become the most popular at Yale in the spring of 2018. On reading about the course, I was somewhat sceptical that simple interventions could make much difference until I learned that Yale’s ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ course was being delivered by a colleague of mine, Laurie Santos, who I knew would not associate herself with anything flaky.

That autumn term of 2018, I decided to try delivering a free lunchtime series of lectures, ‘The Science of Happiness’, based on the Yale course. Even though this pilot was not credit-bearing, more than 500 students gave up their Wednesday lunchtimes to attend. That was unusual as, in my experience, students rarely give up time or expend effort to undertake activities unless they are awarded credit or incentives. There would be 10 lectures, and everyone was requested to fill in self-report questionnaires assessing various mental health dimensions both before and after the course, to determine whether there had been any impact and, if so, how much.

The Science of Happiness had clearly piqued interest as indicated by the audience size, but I was still nervous. This was not my area of academic expertise and there was heightened sensitivity following the media attention over recent tragic events on campus. What were the students’ expectations? Talking about mental health seemed hazardous. Would I trigger adverse reactions simply by discussing these issues?

D espite my initial reservations, the final feedback after the course ended was overwhelmingly positive. That was gratifying but, as a scientist, I like hard evidence. What would the questionnaires tell us? The analysis of the before and after scores revealed that there had been a 10-15 per cent positive increase in mental wellbeing across the different measures of wellbeing, anxiety and loneliness. That may not sound much but it was the average, and a significant impact in the field of interventions. Who wouldn’t want to be 15 per cent happier, healthier or wealthier? I was no longer a sceptic; I was a convert. I would stop focusing on developmental psychology, my own area of research, and concentrate on making students happier. Even a 15 per cent improvement might lead to a degree of prevention that was better than dealing with a student who was already struggling.

The following year, we launched a credit-bearing course for first-year students who had room in their curriculum schedule to take an open unit, which has now been running for five years. These psychoeducational courses are not new and predate my efforts by at least a decade. But what makes the Bristol psychoeducational course unique (and I believe this is still the case) is that we persuaded the university to allow a credit-bearing course that had no graded examinations but was accredited based on engagement alone. Not only was I convinced by compelling arguments for why graded assessment is the wrong way to educate, but it would have been hypocritical of me to lecture about the failings of an education system based solely on assessment, and then give students an exam to determine if they had engaged. Rather, engagement required regular weekly attendance, meeting in peer-mentored small groups, but also undertaking positive psychology exercises and journaling about their experiences so that we could track progress. Again, to test the impact of the course, students were asked to fill in the various psychometric questionnaires to give us an insight to impact.

Meditation stops you thinking negative thoughts. Not exactly a scientific explanation

We now have five years’ worth of data and have published peer-reviewed scientific papers on evaluation of the course. As with the initial pilot, the consistent finding is that there is, on average, a 10-15 per cent significant increase in positive mental wellbeing over the duration of the course. The course improves mental wellbeing but there are limitations. Our most recent analysis over the longer term shows that the positive benefits we generate during the course, and the two months after, are lost within a year, returning to previous baseline scores, unless the students maintain some of the recommended activities. However, in those students who kept practising at least one of the positive psychology interventions (PPIs) such as journaling, meditation, exercise, expressing gratitude or any of the other evidence-based activities, they maintained their benefits up to two years later.

Why do interventions work and why do they stop working? As to the first question, there are countless self-help books promoting PPIs, but the level of explanation is either missing or tends to be circular. Acts of kindness work because they make you feel better. Meditation calms the mind and stops you thinking negative thoughts. Not exactly a scientific explanation or revelation. Even though I had largely put my experimental work with children on hold because of the demands of teaching such a large course, I was still intellectually intrigued by the same basic theoretical question that has always motivated my research. What is the mechanism underlying positive psychology?

T here are several plausible hypotheses out there from established academics in the field that explain some of the activities, but they lack a unifying thread that I thought must be operating across the board. I started considering the wide and diverse range of PPIs to see if there was any discernible pattern that might suggest underlying mechanisms. Two years ago, I had an insight and I think the answer can be found in the way we focus on our self.

In my role as a developmental psychologist, I see change and continuity everywhere in relation to human thought and behaviour. For some time, I have been fascinated by the concept of the self and how it emerges but must change over the course of a lifetime. I believe earlier childhood notions lay the foundation for later cognition which is why development is so critical to understanding adults. My most recent work concentrated on how ownership and possessions play major roles in our concept of self, and I was particularly interested in acts of sharing among children. Specifically, we had completed a set of studies demonstrating that, when children are instructed to talk about themselves, they thought about their own possessions differently and became less willing to share with others. Emphasising their self had made these children more selfish. This got me thinking about the role of self-focus in happiness.

The most pernicious aspect of self-focus is the tendency to keep comparing ourselves to others

Infants start off with an egocentric view of the world – a term and concept introduced by the psychologist Jean Piaget. Egocentric individuals tend to perceive the world from their own perspective, and many studies have shown that young children are egocentric in the way they see the world, act, talk, think and behave with others. Normal development requires adopting a more allocentric – or other-based perspective in order to be accepted. The sense of self changes from early ebullient egocentrism to an increasing awareness of one’s relative position in the social order. Children may become more other-focused but that also includes unfavourable comparisons. They increasingly become self-aware and concerned about what others think about them – a concern that transitions into a preoccupation when they enter adolescence that never really goes away. As for adults, like many features of the human mind, earlier ways of thinking are never entirely abandoned. This is why our self-focus can become a ‘curse’, as the psychologist Mark Leary describes , feeding the inner critic who is constantly negatively evaluating our position in life.

One reason that self-focus can become a curse is that we are ignorant of the biases our brains operate with that lead us to make wrong decisions and comparisons. When it comes to happy choices, we want something because we think it will make us happy, but our predictions are inaccurate. We think events will be more impactful than they turn out to be, and we fail to appreciate how fast we get used to things, both good and bad. This is called a failure of affective forecasting which is why the psychologist Dan Gilbert explains that our tendency to ‘stumble on happiness’ is because our emotional predictions are so way off. We don’t take into consideration how future circumstances will differ because we focus on just one element and we also forget how quickly we adapt to even the most pleasurable experiences. But the most pernicious aspect of self-focus is the tendency to keep comparing ourselves to others who seem to be leading happier lives. Social media is full of images of delicious plates of food, celebrity friends, exotic holidays, luxurious products, amazing parties and just about anything that qualifies as worthy of posting to bolster one’s status. Is it any wonder that the individuals who are the most prone to social comparison are the ones who feel the worst after viewing social media? As Gore Vidal once quipped: ‘Every time a friend succeeds, I die a little.’

If egocentric self-focus is problematic then maybe positive psychology works by altering our perspective to one that is more allocentric or ‘other-focused’? To do so is challenging because it is not easy to step out of ourselves under normal circumstances. Our stream of conscious awareness is from the first-person, or egocentric, perspective and, indeed, it is nigh-on-impossible to imagine an alternative version because our sensory systems, thought processes and representation of our selves are coded as such to enable us to interact within the world as coherent entities.

M any PPIs such as sharing, acts of kindness, gratitude letters or volunteering are clearly directed towards enriching the lives of others, but how can we explain the benefits of solitary practices where the self seems to be the focus of attention? The explanation lies with the self-representation circuitry in the brain known as the default mode network (DMN). One of the surprising discoveries from the early days of brain imaging is that, when we are not task-focused, rather than becoming inactive, the brain’s DMN goes into overdrive. Mind-wandering is commonly reported during bouts of DMN activity and, although that may be associated with positive daydreaming, we are also ruminating about unresolved problems that continue to concern us. According to one influential study that contacted people at random points of the day to ask them about what they were doing, what they were thinking and how they were feeling, people were more likely to be unhappy when their minds were wandering, which was about half of the waking day. Probably because they were focusing on their own predicaments.

If you focus on your problems, this can become difficult to control. There’s no point trying to stop yourself ruminating because the very act of trying not to think about a problem increases the likelihood that this becomes the very thought that occupies your mind. This was first described in an 1863 essay by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, when he observed the effect of trying not to think; he wrote: ‘Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.’ My late colleague Dan Wegner would go on to study this phenomenon called ironic thought suppression , which he explained resulted from two mechanisms: the tendency to increase the strength of the representation of a thought by the act of trying to suppress it, and a corresponding increased vigilance to monitor when the thought comes to the fore in consciousness. Ironic thought suppression is one reason why it can be so difficult to fall asleep. This is why one of our recommended activities on our Science of Happiness course is to journal on a regular basis because this helps to process information in a much more controlled and objective way, rather than succumbing to the torment of automatic thinking.

Could the long-term benefits be something to do with altering the ego?

Other recommended activities that calibrate the level of self-focus also attenuate DMN activity. For example, mindfulness meditation advocates not trying to suppress spontaneous thoughts but rather deliberately turning attention to bodily sensations or external sounds. In this way, the spotlight of attention is directed away from the internal dialogue one is having with oneself. It is during such states that brain imaging studies reveal that various solitary interventions we recommend on the course – such as meditation or taking a walk in the country – are associated with lowered DMN activity and, correspondingly, less negative rumination. This is why achieving absorption or full immersion during optimal states of flow draws conscious awareness and attention out of egocentric preoccupation. To achieve states of flow, we recommend that students engage in activities that require a challenge that exceeds their skill level to an extent that they rise to the task, but do not feel overwhelmed by it. When individuals achieve flow states, their sense of self, and indeed time itself, appears to evaporate.

There are other more controversial ways to alter the egocentric self into one that is more allocentric. Currently, there is a growth in the use of psychedelics as a treatment for intractable depression and, so far, the initial findings from this emerging field are highly encouraging. One clinical study has shown that psychedelic-assisted therapy produced significant improvement in nearly three-quarters of patients who previously did not respond to conventional antidepressants. The primary mechanism of action of psychedelics is upon serotonin (5-HT 2A ) receptors within the DMN which, in turn, produce profound alterations of consciousness, including modulations in the sense of self, sensory perception and emotion. Could the long-term benefits be something to do with altering the ego? One of the most common reports from those who have undergone psychedelic-assisted therapy, aside from euphoria and vivid hallucinations, is a lasting, profound sense of connection to other people, the environment, nature and the cosmos. Across a variety of psychedelics, the sense of self becomes more interconnected, which is why a recent review concluded that there was consistent acute disruption in the resting state of the DMN.

I f chemically induced states of altered consciousness through psychedelics (which is currently still illegal in most places) is not your thing, then there are other ways to redress the balance between egocentrism and allocentrism. Engaging in group activities that generate synchronicity – such as rituals, dancing or singing in choirs – alter the sense of self and increase connection with others. But if group activities or psychedelic trips don’t work for you, then take a rocket trip. One of the most moving emotional and lasting experiences, known as ‘ the overview effect ’, occurs to those lucky individuals given the opportunity to view our planet from outer space. As the astronaut Edgar Mitchell described it, it creates an ‘explosion of awareness’ and an ‘overwhelming sense of oneness and connectedness … accompanied by an ecstasy … an epiphany.’

Back down on Earth, we can be happier when we simply acknowledge that we are all mortal, interconnected individuals who suffer personal losses and tragedies. No one’s life is perfect, and indeed you need to experience unhappiness in order recognise when things are going well. As the Stoic philosopher Epictetus put it: ‘Men are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of things.’ In other words, it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond, that matters, and that’s where positive psychology can make a difference – but only if you keep reminding yourself to get out of your own head.

Happiness hack

How to shift your egocentric self to one that is more allocentric using language

Consider a problem that is currently bothering you. A real problem – not a hypothetical one or a world problem beyond your control. Find something that makes you unhappy and then say to yourself: ‘I am worried about [whatever it is] because [whatever the reason may be] and this makes me upset.’ Now repeat the exercise but this time don’t use egocentric or first-person terms such as ‘I’ or ‘me’. Rather use your name and non-first-person language such as: ‘Bruce is worried about his [whatever it is] problem and this makes him upset.’

Speaking in non-first-person language should automatically transpose you out of the egocentric perspective to one that is other or allocentric, making the problem seem less.

mental health essay paper

Building embryos

For 3,000 years, humans have struggled to understand the embryo. Now there is a revolution underway

John Wallingford

mental health essay paper

Design and fashion

Sitting on the art

Given its intimacy with the body and deep play on form and function, furniture is a ripely ambiguous artform of its own

Emma Crichton Miller

mental health essay paper

Consciousness and altered states

How perforated squares of trippy blotter paper allowed outlaw chemists and wizard-alchemists to dose the world with LSD

mental health essay paper

Last hours of an organ donor

In the liminal time when the brain is dead but organs are kept alive, there is an urgent tenderness to medical care

Ronald W Dworkin

mental health essay paper

Stories and literature

Do liberal arts liberate?

In Jack London’s novel, Martin Eden personifies debates still raging over the role and purpose of education in American life

mental health essay paper

History of ideas

Reimagining balance

In the Middle Ages, a new sense of balance fundamentally altered our understanding of nature and society

The Effects of Mental Health Interventions on Labor Market Outcomes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Mental health conditions are prevalent but rarely treated in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Little is known about how these conditions affect economic participation. This paper shows that treating mental health conditions substantially improves recipients’ capacity to work in these contexts. First, we perform a systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) ever conducted that evaluate treatments for mental ill-health and measure economic outcomes in LMICs. On average, treating common mental disorders like depression with psychotherapy improves an aggregate of labor market outcomes made up of employment, time spent working, capacity to work and job search by 0.16 standard deviations. Treating severe mental disorders, like schizophrenia, improves the aggregate by 0.30 standard deviations, but effects are noisily estimated. Second, we build a new dataset, pooling all available microdata from RCTs using the most common trial design: studies of psychotherapy in LMICs that treated depression and measured days participants were unable to work in the past month. We observe comparable treatment effects on mental health and work outcomes in this sub-sample of highly similar studies. We also show evidence consistent with mental health being the mechanism through which psychotherapy improves work outcomes.

The three authors listed first (Crick Lund, Kate Orkin, and Marc Witte) are jointly the first author. This study was funded by the Wellspring Philanthropic Fund. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Vikram Patel acknowledges research support from the NIMH, Wellcome Trust, Grand Challenges Canada and the Medical Research Council. He also receives funding from the Lone Star Prize and serves as a consultant to Modern Health and Johnson & Johnson.


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How essay writing may be helpful for mental health.

mental health essay paper

We cannot afford to ignore the mental health menace. Mental health has been hidden behind a curtain of stigma and discrimination for too long. It’s time to bring it out into the open. The magnitude, suffering, and burden in terms of disability and costs for individuals, families, and societies are staggering. But we have made notable progress. In the last few years, the world has become more aware of this enormous burden and the potential for mental health gains. As the condition continues to garner attention globally, various ways to manage it have been proposed, and writing is one of them. Writing can be a self-care method for many; it helps unwind and de-stress. You can use creative writing as a way of connecting with others. Sharing tales and perspectives while also learning from and supporting one another is equally helpful. Besides, writing about difficult situations can help us healthily release our feelings.

Nowadays, students and professionals increasingly seek help from online writing services to manage their demanding schedules and complex assignments. As academic pressures mount, these services have become essential tools for many. They offer tailored assistance that can significantly impact the success of their users. Among the many platforms available, Customwritings.com provides high-quality, personalized writing services. They offer relief from the stress of deadlines and enhance students’ understanding and execution of academic projects. They emphasize originality and quality, thus aligning perfectly with the needs of students seeking dependable and ethical academic support.

Besides, the Customwritings Facebook page exemplifies how digital engagement can enhance customer service and community building. This social media extension allows the platform to maintain an ongoing dialogue with its users, offering them immediate updates, academic tips, and responses to their inquiries. They relieve the burden of writing, editing, and proofreading, which can cause stress and worry for students and professionals. Thus, it is not just a promotional tool but a crucial element of their support system. It is a space for users to share experiences, discuss academic challenges, and find motivation. But how is essay writing helpful for mental health?

The Benefits of Essay Writing on Mental Health

Essay writing is more than just an academic exercise. I bet you didn’t know that it has tangible benefits for mental health as well. Writing essays can act as a therapeutic activity, helping individuals to clarify their thoughts, express their feelings, and communicate more effectively. Let us explore the specific benefits of essay writing on mental health.

  • Stress reduction

Writing and depression, stress, or anxiety are connected. Numerous studies have proven that using journaling to express your feelings helps people overcome traumatic events, reduce feelings of stress and emotional tension, and even boost our physical health. Similarly, writing essays allows individuals to express their thoughts and feelings on paper, which can be therapeutic. Organizing one’s thoughts to write coherently forces a level of focus that can divert attention away from stressors. This concentration can lower stress levels by providing a temporary escape from other pressures. It leads to a relief that is productive and calming.

  • Enhanced self-expression

Essay writing develops one’s ability to articulate personal views and emotions. This skill is crucial for effective communication and personal expression. Regularly engaging in essay writing makes individuals more comfortable expressing complex ideas and deep feelings, contributing to better interpersonal relationships and greater personal authenticity. We all know that expressing oneself clearly increases self-confidence and self-understanding.

  • Improved emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage your own emotions and understand the feelings of people around you. The reflective nature of essay writing helps individuals understand their feelings and the situations that trigger them. This reflection is a critical component of emotional intelligence. By writing about their experiences and reactions, students can observe patterns in their emotional responses and develop better strategies for managing their emotions.

  • Enhanced cognitive abilities

Writing is beneficial to cognitive skills because it requires focusing attention, planning and forethought, organization of one’s thinking, and reflective thought, among other abilities. The essay writing process involves critical thinking, organization, and analysis, which are all cognitively demanding tasks. This complex process can help sharpen the mind and improve cognitive functions. And that’s not all. Regular practice of these skills can lead to improved memory, better problem-solving skills, and higher intellectual engagement.

  • Increased focus and discipline

You must stay focused for prolonged periods if you want to meet deadlines. Writing an essay requires a significant amount of focus and discipline, especially to complete it from start to finish. This practice can enhance your ability to concentrate on tasks for extended periods. Over time, your discipline translates into improved productivity and efficiency in various aspects of life, not just academic or professional settings.

  • Better mood management

Research shows that writing about traumatic, stressful, or emotional events improves physical and psychological health. In the same way, the essay writing process can lead to an improved mood among students. By engaging in the creative and analytical process of essay writing, individuals can experience a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Besides, expressing troubling thoughts or difficult emotions through writing can act as a release mechanism. It clears the mind and improves the overall mood.

  • Develops problem-solving skills

Essays often require writers to explore different perspectives and propose solutions. This process naturally develops problem-solving skills. Professors require students to consider various angles and potential outcomes when they ask students to write essays and research papers. They know that writing enhances students’ ability to navigate challenges in their personal and professional lives, leading to more effective decision-making and problem-resolution.

  • Promotes mindfulness

Writing is a social-emotional health exercise. It can be a mindful practice to stay in the present moment and calm the mind. Think of writing as an activity for you to recalibrate your mindset to a more positive setting. Writing takes time. It requires you to slow down, channel, focus, imagine, and organize thoughts, emotions, and tone. In this way, essay writing is a mindful practice, meaning you are grounded in the present moment to reflect and respond to what your senses have noticed. This practice of mindfulness can decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression and promote a general understanding of mental well-being. Being present in the moment during the writing process anchors the mind. It reduces the tendency to worry about past or future events.

Take Care of Your Mental Health Through Writing!

Harness the therapeutic power of essay writing to enhance your mental health. Make it a regular practice. Write regularly. The benefits are vast, as we’ve discussed herein. You’ll experience decreased stress, improved self-expression, and increased emotional intelligence. Essay writing polishes your cognitive abilities and helps develop discipline and focus. Each essay you write is not just an academic exercise. It’s a step towards understanding and improving your mental well-being.

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mental health essay paper

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Budget 2024-25 - home

Cost of living help and a future made in Australia

Strengthening medicare and the care economy.

Building a better health system than improves outcomes

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High‑quality health services through Medicare

Boosting access to essential health services

Building a better healthcare system

The Government is investing $2.8 billion to continue its commitment to strengthen Medicare. This includes the $1.2 billion package to address pressures facing the health system, which provides:

  • $882.2 million to support older Australians avoid hospital admission, be discharged from hospital earlier and improve their transition out of hospital to other appropriate care.
  • $227 million to deliver a further 29 Medicare Urgent Care Clinics and boost support for regional and remote clinics. This will increase the total number of clinics across Australia to 87. Since commencing last year, existing clinics have already provided almost 400,000 bulk‑billed visits.
  • $90 million to address health workforce shortages by making it simpler and quicker for international health practitioners to work in Australia.

mental health essay paper

Rohan’s daughter Zoya has been  off school with a runny nose and a cough. By 6pm, she is lethargic and has a fever.

Rohan is concerned because his regular GP is now closed. Instead of waiting for hours at the emergency department, he takes Zoya to a Medicare Urgent Care Clinic, without having to make an appointment. 

During the bulk billed visit, Zoya is diagnosed with an infection by the doctor and prescribed appropriate medication. Rohan and Zoya leave within an hour of arrival. Zoya makes a full recovery.

Improving health outcomes

Almost half of Australians live with a chronic condition. This Budget will provide $141.1 million for research and services for people living with chronic conditions, including bowel and skin cancer, diabetes and dementia.

To improve health outcomes, the Government is providing:

  • Support for Australians to enjoy healthier, more active lives by investing $132.7 million in sport participation and performance programs.
  • $825.7 million to ensure Australians can continue to access testing for and vaccinations against COVID‑19. The Government is also ensuring continued access to oral antiviral medicines on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
  • $41.6 million over two years to continue funding for alcohol and other drug treatment and support services, including the Good Sports alcohol management program for community sporting clubs.

The Government is allocating an additional $411.6 million (for a total $1.6 billion over 13 years) through the Medical Research Future Fund to continue existing research and introduce two new research missions for low‑survival cancers and reducing health inequities.

Improving access to medicines

The Government is investing $3.4 billion for new and amended listings to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, which means eligible patients can save on treatment costs.

By expanding the Closing the Gap Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme Co‑payment Program, eligible First Nations patients will have free or cheaper access to all Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medicines.

Australians will benefit from $141.1 million to support and expand the National Immunisation Program.

Mental health support

The Government’s $888.1 million mental health package over eight years will help people get the care they need, while relieving pressure on the Better Access initiative and making it easier to access services.

A free, low‑intensity digital service will be established to address the gap for people with mild mental health concerns. From 1 January 2026, Australians will be able to access the service without a referral and receive timely, high‑quality mental health support. Once fully established, 150,000 people are expected to make use of this service each year.

The Government is improving access to free mental health services through a network of walk‑in Medicare Mental Health Centres, built on the established Head to Health network. The upgraded national network of 61 Medicare Mental Health Centres will open by 30 June 2026. They will provide clinical services for adults with moderate‑to‑severe mental health needs.

For Australians with complex mental health needs, funding will be provided for Primary Health Networks to partner with GPs to deliver multidisciplinary, wraparound support services and care coordination.

Improving the aged care system

Providing quality care

The Budget provides $2.2 billion to deliver aged care reforms and continue implementing recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The new Aged Care Act will put the rights and needs of older people at the centre of the aged care system. The new Act will provide the framework for fundamental change within the aged care sector.

More Home Care Packages

The Government is investing $531.4 million to release an additional 24,100 Home Care Packages in 2024–25. This will help reduce average wait times and enable people to age at home if they prefer to do so.

Improving aged care regulation

Funding of $110.9 million over four years will support an increase in the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s regulatory capabilities.

The Government is investing $1.2 billion in critical digital systems to support the introduction of the new Aged Care Act and contemporary IT systems.

The My Aged Care Contact Centre will receive $37 million to reduce call‑waiting times for people seeking information and access to aged care.

Higher wages for aged care workers

The Government has committed to fund the Fair Work Commission decision to increase the award wage for direct and indirect aged care workers once the final determination is made. This will build on the $11.3 billion already allocated to support the interim 15 per cent wage increase for aged care workers.

The Government is providing $87.2 million for workforce initiatives to attract nurses and other workers into aged care.

Reforming the disability sector

Better and more sustainable services

Getting the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) back on track

A further $468.7 million is being provided to support people with disability and get the NDIS back on track. This includes:

  • $214 million over two years to fight fraud and to co‑design NDIS reforms with people with disability, announced earlier this year
  • $160.7 million to upgrade the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission’s information technology
  • $45.5 million to establish a NDIS Evidence Advisory Committee
  • $20 million to start consultation and design on reforms to help NDIS participants and people with disability navigate services.

This builds on $732.9 million provided in the 2023–24 Budget.

In December 2023, National Cabinet agreed to work together to improve the experience of participants and restore the original intent of the Scheme to support people with permanent and significant disability, within a broader ecosystem of supports. This builds on an earlier decision by National Cabinet to ensure Scheme sustainability and achieve an 8 per cent growth target by 1 July 2026, with further moderation as the NDIS matures.

Improving employment for people with disability

A $227.6 million investment will support a new specialised disability employment program to replace the existing Disability Employment Services program by 1 July 2025. This includes a modern digital platform for providers and participants. These reforms will support more people with disability into sustainable work, through a program with greater flexibility, increased individual supports, and better service quality. Eligibility will be expanded to include volunteers outside the income support system and those with less than eight hours per week work capacity.

Delivering essential services

Investing in reliability and security

Strengthening resourcing for Services Australia

The Government is delivering safer and more efficient government services for all Australians.

A $1.8 billion provision will support delivery of customer and payment services. This includes funding for frontline and service delivery staff to manage claims, respond to natural disasters and improve the cyber security environment. The Government is providing $314.1 million over two years to strengthen safety and security at Services Australia centres.

The Government is investing $580.3 million over four years and $139.6 million per year ongoing to sustain the myGov platform and identify potential enhancements. A further $50 million will improve usability, safety and security of the myGov platform and ensure Services Australia can support people to protect their information and privacy.

Strengthening the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) against fraud

There will be $187.4 million to better protect taxpayer data and Commonwealth revenue against fraudulent attacks on the tax and superannuation systems. Funding will upgrade the ATO’s information and communications technologies and increase fraud prevention capabilities to manage increasing risk, prevent revenue loss, and support victims of fraud and cyber crime.

Looking after our veterans

Veterans’ claims processing is prioritised with an additional $186 million for staffing resources and $8.4 million to improve case management and protect against cyber risk. The Government will provide $222 million to harmonise veterans’ compensation and rehabilitation legislation.

A further $48.4 million will be available for Veterans’ Home Care and Community Nursing programs and $10.2 million to provide access to funded medical treatment for ill and injured veterans while their claims for liability are processed.

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Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care

Budget 2024–25

Fact sheets and other health, aged care and sport information from the 2024–25 Budget.

Budget 2024–25

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Budget 2024–⁠25: Cheaper medicines, new Medicare Urgent Care Clinics and more free mental health services in a stronger Medicare

Budget 2024–⁠25: Investing in quality aged care

Portfolio Budget Statements

Budget 2024–25: Health and Aged Care Portfolio Budget Statements

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Budget 2024–⁠25: Stakeholder pack

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Budget 2024–25: Ensuring all Australians get the health care they need

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