A mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cosgnition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.
Genes. Interpersonal Relationships. Enviroment. Stress. Education. All these factors play a key role in the develompment of physical and psychological health problems.
Genetic disorders and Hereditary illnesses increase obviously the probability to have critical health conditions but the power of the environment on our wellness never has to be under- estimated.
- Risks in Modern Society
In a mad world, only the mad are sane. (Akira Kurosawa)
During the life, we can experience three main types of stress that carry physical and mental health risks:
- Routine ( working under pressure, family, responsibilities).
- Unexpected negative events (losing a job, divorce).
- Traumas ( war, natural disaster, sexual abuse, danger of being killed)
Stress affects people in different ways: some people suffer mainly from physical symptoms (digestive issues, headaches, sleeplessness) , other people experience depressed mood, anger and irritability.
Weight and Body Images are considered in different way among countries: where food is scarce, being overweight is a positive symptom of physical and mental health. Where food is too much, people overweight are often seen as lazy, passive, greedy. In this case, the lack of social aceptance dramatically increase the number of people who eat emotionally and have serious food problems ( Anorexia, Obesity, Binge eating Disorders).
Socioeconomic Status (SES)
SES is the measure of an individual’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on income, education and occupation.
People of different SES levels have different access to medical care, healthy food, and physical activity opportunities.
Low SES means prolonged stress, low self- esteem, social exclusion, no proper nutrition – all factors that affect negatively health conditions. Indeed, research found a significant link between a Low SES and the prevalence of disability and chronic diseases.
Poor social and economic conditions affect health during the course of all life.
According to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister as cited by Mind, between 30 and 40 per cent of individuals who sleep rough have mental health problems, with other studies suggesting that as many as 70 per cent of homeless people suffer from some form of mental illness.
To know more about how poverty and homelessness affect people, give a look at this link: Simon Accomodation, situated in Cork City, is a place where homeless people can find a bed to sleep during the night.
The experiences of these people are a concrete proof of what homelessness causes: high number of health disorders and addiction problems.
Taking a breath
The constant stimuli of city life can be mentally exhausting and life in the city can actually dull our thinking. In navigating the outdoor environment, one must continually monitor traffic and pedestrian flow while constantly focusing on where one is going and the means to get there. Constant response to even such low-level stimuli cannot be maintained indefinitely.
So, what could we do to take care of ourselves? Nature has to be our recovery.
- Nature restores the mind from the fatigue of work.
- Nature experiences are important for encouraging creativity, cognitive development and social relationships in children.
- Nature provide respite for people who experience short-term and chronic mental illness.2
- Outdoor activities alleviate symptoms of Alzheimers, dementia, stress, and depression and improve cognitive function in those recently diagnosed with breast cancer
Let’s go away from the chaos of the city for a few hours. And take a breath.