According to the report issued by the World Health Organization in 2020, more than 264 million people suffer from depression. The National Health Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI, 2015) further stated that 43.8 million people experience mental illness in America. Mental health issues are also common in adolescents. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) believes that at least one in five young individuals between ages nine to seventeen has a diagnosable mental health disorder. So, mental health issues are frequent among people across the age spectrum.
However, some people are more at risk of mental health issues than others. Mental health is vital at every stage of life since it affects our welfare. It can also affect our lives in several ways and may take a toll on our social, psychological, emotional, and physical health. If left untreated, these disorders cause widespread disability. It can also stifle our abilities and make us feel fatigued.
However, this article will focus on the effect of mental health on our personal and professional lives.
Effect of Mental Health on Personal Life
Our relationship can suffer because of deteriorating mental health. Patients suffering from mental health issues can get medical help from specialized professionals for individual problems or marriage counseling. It is worth mentioning that many patients lack basic knowledge regarding various types of counselors and the types of services they provide. For instance, Licensed professional counselors (LPC) focus on clients whereas, licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT) focus on their client’s relationships. Despite the professional differences between LPC vs LMFT and their job responsibilities, you can find these experts in similar settings.
However, some mental health problems such as substance abuse can make it difficult for patients to socialize with others. They may feel angry, sad, and helpless in various instances. These feelings can negatively impact their relationships with loved ones. People suffering from mental illnesses often feel it difficult to communicate with their partners. Therefore, they may develop trust issues and communication problems. Both of these are the most common causes of relationship breakdown.
Acute episodes can also make a patient lash out at their loved ones. Similarly, some diagnoses can increase the risk of abuse in relationships. Parents suffering from mental health problems struggle to manage their roles and may feel it difficult to connect with their children. These issues also increase the risk of suicide among individuals of various age groups. Patients may cause self-harm because they find it difficult to cope with things. Therefore, suicide rates skyrocket when we neglect mental health.
Effect of Mental Health on Professional Life
Ignoring mental wellbeing can affect our psychological health and develop severe consequences on our professional lives. Some illnesses, such as depression, make patients listless and promote absenteeism. Furthermore, employees suffering from depression and anxiety tend to perform poorly at work. According to WHO, the loss of productivity because of mental health issues also costs monetary loss. Recent statistics suggest that the global economy loses $1 trillion per annum due to lost productivity because of mental health issues.
Mood disorders, like anxiety, can also impair work performance. Devastating panic attacks can prevent employees from performing well on their jobs. Employees suffering from mental health issues have difficulty in focusing on even the smallest task. They cannot complete tasks and often need additional supervision. Comparatively, a stressful working environment can also have a detrimental effect on the welfare of patients. Inadequate health policies, poor management, and inflexible working hours are a few common risks to mental health. Bullying and harassment at the workplace can increase work-related stress and cause psychological problems.
Undoubtedly, some professions are more stressful than others. Therefore, employees working in these sectors are more prone to mental health disorders. Jobs with higher personal risks can have a detrimental effect on mental health. For instance, soldiers are more likely to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to a life-threatening event. According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 20 out of every 100 veterans experience PTSD. Similarly, medical professionals are also at risk of burnout. The demanding healthcare environment can make doctors emotionally exhausted due to excessive stress and workload.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of social stigmas attached to mental health issues. This attitude is detrimental to patients’ mental wellbeing and also prevents them from seeking help. Thankfully, several countries are taking steps to destigmatize mental health problems by educating people via awareness programs. Likewise, several employers now hire mental health counselors to support people with mental illnesses.
Everyone leads two lives – personal and professional. While most people prefer not to mix the two, sometimes it is impossible to keep them separate. Our negative experiences make us more likely to develop mental illnesses. These illnesses affect our relationships and work performance. However, ignoring these problems is not the answer. The situation may escalate if the patient does not seek medical help. Contact a mental health professional if you or a loved one is suffering.