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The Three Components to Mental Health Well-Being?

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There is an increased importance of mental health problems globally. More and more resources are being put into researching and devising treatments for psychological disorders. A staggering 10.7% of the world’s population suffers from at least one mental disorder. Lack of mental well-being is a silent epidemic that needs to be addressed.

Nowhere is the silence more deafening than on the African continent where there is a lack of acknowledgment of mental health problems. This makes diagnosing and treating such issues very difficult at best. Statistics show that 26.9% of African youth suffer from depression, yet cases go unreported due to the stigma surrounding mental health problems.

Defining Mental Health Well-Being

Mental health well-being, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is not just the absence of a mental disorder. Mental well-being is the ability to mitigate stress and cope with life daily in a manner that is in tandem with society. Mental health well-being, as a result, is critical for an individual’s growth and development.

What Is Mental Health Well-Being Composed of?

Mental health is a complex construct. This is because the brain performs multiple functions, from thinking to interpreting sensory signals to feeling emotions. It is important to distinguish each aspect of mental health well-being and study it accordingly. The three components of mental health well-being are as follows:

Cognitive Health

This relates to thinking. The way we view and interpret the world around us and form thoughts comes under cognition. While thoughts vary and make us the unique individual we are, sometimes cognition can be irrational. Meaning it is not based on evidence. Phobias, for instance, are irrational fears because they are baseless or disproportionate to the threat posed.

Cognitive health must be monitored not just in individuals suffering from mental disorders, but also in perfectly normal people. Negative thoughts, like ‘I will fail’, can prevent people from reaching their full potential in life by making them demotivated.

Emotional Health

Emotions and the mind have a close relationship. Our perceptions help shape our emotions and feelings. These feelings, in turn, determine our decisions and actions, or lack thereof. Sometimes emotions can prevent us from making logical decisions.

Behavioral Health

Behavior or our actions are a direct consequence of our mental processes. It is critical to study behavior as it has the most impact on our life, especially in a social context. Behavior is a product of our cultural and social values. Certain behaviors may be normal in some cultures but viewed as deviant in others.

Understanding Mental Health Well-Being

Breaking down mental health well-being into its parts helps to simplify the idea. However, it is an extremely complex phenomenon. Each component interacts with the other, for example, behavior is the outcome of thoughts or emotions or both. The interrelationship is also not one-way; it is a complex web of a constant feedback loop.

Awareness of these components is a step in the right direction. In Africa, however, there needs to be a recognition of the issue first. Only if there is an acknowledgment of the issue will there be efforts to rectify the situation and ensure that mental health well-being is prioritized.

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