MENTAL HEALTH AND MENTAL ILLNESS

1. What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is a state of complete physical, intellectual, emotional, behavioral, social, and spiritual well being, and not merely the absence of disease. (World Health Organization)

2. What is Mental Disorder?

Mental disorder is a medically diagnosable illness that results in the significant impairment of an individual’s intellectual, emotional, behavioral, relational abilities, and occupational abilities as a student, worker, parent, etc. It is equivalent to mental illness.

4. Who May Develop Mental Illness?

Any person may develop mental illness regardless of his/her race, nationality, age, gender, civil status, and socio-economic background.

5. What Causes Mental Illness?

There are three interrelated factors that may cause mental illness. These are the biological or physical factors, psychological factors, and socio-cultural factors.

The BIOLOGICAL FACTORS are the imbalances of the neuro-chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters aid the brain nerve cells communicate with each other. If these chemicals are not in balance or are not working properly, messages from the senses or organs may not make it through the brain correctly, leading to symptoms of mental illness. Moreover, the presence of injuries and defects in the brain may also cause mental illness. These are called the physical factors.

The PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS include the person’s negative interpretation, attitude, thoughts, and feelings about him/herself, other people and the events in his/her life. For example, if a person has a very low self-esteem and self concept he/she will likely experience difficulties coping or dealing with problems in life. He/she will likely cope negatively for example by blaming others, isolating him/herself, resorting to alcohol, drugs and other self destructive behaviors which may contribute to the development of mental illness. Conversely, people who have traumatic and abusive experiences may be at risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), Dissociative Identity Disorder or other types of anxiety or mood disorder. On the other hand, although these people are at high risk, some may not develop mental illness if they have adequate coping mechanisms as well as the presence of other protective factors.

The SOCIO-CULTURAL FACTORS, on the other hand, refer to the cultural, environmental, and familial stressors that can trigger the occurrence of mental illness in persons who are at high risk. Examples of this are the death of a loved one, separation of parents, dysfunctional family life, or unemployment, discrimination among other.

6. One of my parents is suffering from mental illness, does it mean that I will also become mentally ill?

Not really. Whether the inherited potential for the illness will actually be expressed in the person’s life will depend on the delicate balance between the contributing factors and the protective factors in the person’s situation. While it is true that parents pass their genes to their children it does not necessarily mean that the mental illness is also passed to them. Being born from parents with mental illness makes the child predisposed or with a greater tendency to develop the symptoms of the illness as compared to children whose parents are not ill.

7. Is Mental Illness Curable?

Yes, mental illness is curable in the sense that the signs and symptoms may be controlled to the point of enabling the individual, with proper treatment, to improve in his daily functioning.

8. How will I know if I am already experiencing illness?

Try to assess yourself every now and then. Here are some early signs and symptoms that may be suggestive of mental illness;

a. Persistent disturbance in sleep.

b. Loss of appetite

c. Loss of interest in activities or responsibilities you previously liked.

d. Persistent isolation of oneself from other people.

e. Frequent attacks of palpitations usually expressed as “nerbyos” associated with unexplained fears.

f. Over sensitiveness and excessive irritability

g. Constant complain of headaches, weakness of hands and feet and other bodily complaints.

h. Frequent attacks of dizziness and fainting

i. Exaggerated and/or unfounded suspicions.

j. Persistent worrying, forgetfulness and absentmindedness.

If you think you are experiencing most of the aforementioned symptoms, try to seek professional help.

9. Where can I seek help if I am experiencing some of these symptoms?

You can ask help from the following individuals and institutions;

  • family physician
  • school guidance counselor
  • Chaplain, pastor or spiritual director
  • Private psychiatrist
  • Government Mental Institutions – Baguio General Hospital Medical Center
  • Private Hospitals with Psychiatric Services –

Notre Dame De Chartres Diagnostic and Pastoral Center

Baguio Medical Center

Sunflower Children’s Center

  • Philippine Mental Health Association Baguio – Benguet Chapter Inc.

10. How can I achieve good mental health?

Here are some suggestions you can to do to achieve or maintain a good mental health;

1. Maintain good physical health

2. Choose worthwhile activities and develop a hobby

3. Solve problems as they come and avoid excessive worrying.

4. Cultivate friendships and choose a friend in whom you can confide

5. Strike a happy medium between work and play.

6. Recognize early signs and symptoms.

B. ON PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTING

  1. Why am I being referred for Psychological Testing? Does it mean that I am mentally ill?When sent to PMHA BBCI, it does not mean you are crazy. It only means that the agency or person who referred you needs your psychological evaluation or the assessment of your intellectual and emotional functioning at present, to aid him/her manage your case- for clinical cases, verify if your traits are fitted for the job you are applying for – for neuropsychiatric cases, ensure that your child be placed in the level which is equivalent to his/her potential/s – for school placement cases, and others.
  2. What happens when I’m referred for Psychological Evaluation/Assessment/Testing? Will I be given medicines and injections? Will they examine my brain?When referred for Psychological Evaluation, you’re simply going to take a battery of paper & pen tests. These tests are designed to measure the current state of your intellectual and emotional functioning. The tests given depend on your case, but basically, a set of tests contain IQ, Personality, and Unstructured tests. No medicines or injections are involved and the staff will not examine your brain.
  3. How long is the Psychological Testing?Depending on your pace the average duration is three to five hours. For special cases, assessment may last for as long as two days.
  4. How accurate are the given tests?These tests are highly valid & reliable. They have undergone a series of intensive research, test-retest, and other test construction processes.
  5. Who will conduct the Psychological Evaluation?Your examiner is a Psychologist who has undergone a rigorous training in the administration, scoring, and interpretation of psychological tests.
  6. Why is there a payment? What am I paying for?All fees are subsidized by the Chapter. The minimal Testing Fee includes the use of psychological test materials, and the thorough labor involved in making the report from the delicate administration and scoring & interpretation to the skillful & tedious report-writing process, of which includes pre-writing, editing, re-writing, and finally printing.
  7. For every 10 clients how many usually fails or passes the psychological evaluation?The psychological evaluation is not on a pass or fail basis. So nobody fails or passes it. The evaluation describes the examinees current intellectual & emotional state.
  8. Can I read and have a copy of the results?• As per Standard Operating Procedures of the agency, all sealed psychological reports/results will only be given to the referring party. Nonetheless, you may ask a general feedback from the person/agency about your evaluation results. With the exception of school placement cases, reports are addressed & explained to the parents of the referred child.

C. ON COUNSELING

  1. What types of Counseling are offered by your office?• Depending on your needs, counseling sessions may consist of the following: Individual Counseling, Group Counseling, Family Counseling, and others.
  2. Who facilitates the Counseling Session?• A Psychologist facilitates the counseling session. He/she has handled a varied range of issues; hence, you can be sure to trust your Counselor to competently assist you in your concerns. In addition, rest assured that what transpired in the counseling session will be kept with high confidentiality.
  3. Who can go for counseling?• Anyone who wants to consult regarding an issue, a concern, or a problem may come for counseling. Not having a problem doesn’t mean exemption from counseling, as a simple concern bothering you may evolve into a huge problem. Hence, don’t wait for the leak to turn into flood. Visit a Counselor when you feel a need for a helping hand or a listening ear.
  4. I want to refer my child for counseling. How do I tell him/her about counseling? Would it be alright to lie about it to convince him/her?• Lying to your child about counseling may only worsen the situation. For instance, telling your child that you’ll bring him/her to the mall or Burnham Park, will only trigger tantrums and more resistance when he/she finds out that he/she is brought to an unfamiliar place, such as our office. Thus, you may simply say to him/her that you & your child will visit a friend in our office.
  5. When I refer someone for counseling, do I expect immediate results?• Counseling is not a one-shot deal. The number of sessions depends on the needs & motivation of the individual referred for counseling. Hence, a deep issue may need more sessions than a light concern. Furthermore, several factors affect the effectiveness of counseling, such as the presence/absence of family or social support, the dynamics of persons involved with the counselee, and other factors within & outside the individual.

MENTAL HEALTH FACTS

HOW STRESSED ARE YOU? …take this stress test

Instruction: Here are some questions which will reflect how stressed you are in your daily life – tick each one in the column which most clearly reflects how true this is for you, and then add up your scores at the bottom.

 

In the past few months, how often have you: Often Sometimes Seldom Never
1. Lost your appetite?
2. Found yourself hungry all the time or constantly nibbling at snack food?
3. Felt sick or nauseated after eating? Or had erratic bowel functions like diarrhea & constipation?
4. Bitten your nails or tapped your fingers? Or touched your nose, hair & other body parts?
5. Felt backaches? Feeling unusually tired or exhausted? Or breathless or tightchested when not exerting?
6. Found yourself irritable, angry or upset?
7. Felt you have to work extra hard or late?
8. Been impatient or unable to wait?
9. Tried to win in arguments? Tried hard to win in sports, etc?
10. Been apathetic (as if nothing matters) or bored?
11. Struggled hard for perfection?
12. Felt that you don?t have enough time for your family?
13. Found it difficult to sleep? Or found yourself oversleeping? Or found yourself waking up in the middle of the night? Or used sleeping pills?
14. Used alcohol when under pressure?
15. Felt trapped by your lifestyle?
16. Found you are too busy to do things you enjoy doing? Or lost interest and energy in your hobbies or activities you previously enjoyed?
17. Found it hard to make decisions? Or found it hard to concentrate?
18. Experienced guilt feelings, shame or sadness?
19. Worried about the future? Or had fear of being injured?
20. Suffered from headaches, or dizziness or fainting spells?
21. Found yourself doubting other people?s motives?
22. Found it difficult to laugh or smile?
23. Used cigarettes when under pressure?
Now add up the number of ticks in each column
TOTAL TICKS
Then multiply each column by x 3 x 2 x 1 x 0
TOTAL
(Now add the four columns together) GRAND TOTAL

INTERPRETATION:

Above 45

Stress level is very high, you maybe a workaholic and
you may be suffering from physical effects of stress.

35 – 44

Stress level is still high. There are some areas in your life
you need to work on in order to enjoy life and be less stressed.
If you are either in one of these categories, you may feel too
stressed to recognize what is happening or to take action.

26 – 34

Stress level is moderate but you could do well with a little more
relaxation at times

25 and below

Optimum stress or you show few signs of stress. However, it is
worth learning how to relax so that you build your energy
reserves for when you need them.

WHAT IS STRESS?

Stress is a dynamic state of imbalance in response to demands, threats, unmet needs, or lack of resources. It can be both positive and negative. Positive stress can increase motivation, learning, development of creativity, and satisfaction. On the other hand, stress becomes negative or DISTRESS when it interferes with our goal-directed behaviors.

Although a certain amount of stress is known to be good for us, scientific findings have proven that too much and sustained exposure to stress can be detrimental to ones health and relationships. It may be worth mentioning that 75 – 90% of patients visit their physicians because of stress-related disorders. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization by the year 2020, five of the top ten medical problems worldwide will be stress-related. In terms of its effect in our society, it was noted that stress is a major cause of low productivity, high absenteeism, bad judgment, misallocation of resources and poor morale.

WHAT IS STRESS MANAGEMENT?

Stress management means taking charge, directing and controlling our response to stressors, thereby modifying the over- all stress.

HOW CAN I COPE WITH STRESS?

Knowing how to cope with stress does not come naturally to most of us. We have to learn it like any other skills. It is not simple. It’s a