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Mental health - Essay Example

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As nurses have the responsibility of providing care to patients, it is important to understand the individual characteristics of a patient that contributes to their health behaviors. Nurses must consider the root or cause of an individual's behavior as well as its meaning and context because it may be mere reflections of realistic forces in the person's life and culture (Stuart & Laraia, 2005)…
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Mental health Essay
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"Mental health"

Download file to see previous pages It is very difficult to give mental health an exact and precise definition. Often, people associate mental health with happiness, contentment, satisfaction, achievement, optimism, or hope (Videbeck, 2004). These associations, however, are problematic in the sense that these abstract concepts manifest differently with each individual. Generally, behavior is the determinant of a person's mental well-being, but since behavior is greatly influenced by culture, tradition, and personal beliefs, it is very difficult to determine what acceptable behavior is and what is not. As such, there is not one universal definition of mental health.
The World Health Organization defines health as "the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being" (WHO, 2007). Health, therefore, not only covers a person's physiologic needs, but also includes a person's psychologic, emotional, social, and mental needs. It is the balance between all aspects of our lives.
According to Mosby's Pocket Dictionary, mental health defined is "a relative state of mind in which a person is able to cope with and adjust to the recurrent stresses of everyday living in an acceptable way" (Allen et. al. 2002, pp. 784-85). Videbeck, on the other hand, defined mental health as "a state of emotional, psychological, and social wellness evidenced by satisfying interpersonal relationships, effective behavior and coping, positive self-concept, and emotional stability" (2004, p.3).
In these definitions, the concepts of "acceptable behavior", "emotional stability", and "effective behavior and coping" are encountered. Are these terms measurable' If so, in what way' These concepts vary in manifestations in a person's everyday living, as there are different cultures, traditions and practices, beliefs and religions, and environment and familial background and upbringing. Stuart and Laria (2005) claims that it is dangerous to equate personal or mental abnormalities with mere deviant or non-conformist behavior, and that mental health and illness, and conformity and deviation must be regarded as separate concepts.
Mental illness was hence defined by the American Psychiatric Association as "a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress or disability or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom" (2000, quoted in Videbeck 2004, p.3).
The Draft Mental Health Bill of 2004 provides a shorter yet vague definition of mental disorder: "an impairment of, or a disturbance in, the functioning of the mind or brain resulting from any disability or disorder of the mind or brain" (Definition of Mental Disorder and Exclusions, 2008).
There are many varied perceptions on mental illness throughout history. During the ancient times, it was believed that any illness was due to displeasure of the gods and was punishment for sins (Videbeck, 2004). People with mental disorders were perceived to be either divine or demonic, depending on the behavior. Those who were viewed as divine were worshipped, whereas those who were seen as demonic were ostracized, condemned, or burned at the stake ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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