Whether we have a mental illness, know someone who has experienced such a problem, or neither, we need to care about the issue of mental health. After all, we all have mental health. We may not think much about our mental health or even use that phrase, but it’s a common element in all our lives. Some people define it as a “state of mind.” Others view it as “being content with life” or “feeling good about yourself.”
Mental health is perhaps best explained as how well we cope with daily life and the challenges it brings. When our mental health is good, we can deal better with what comes our way -- at home, at work, in life. When our mental health is poor, it can be difficult to function in our daily lives. It is a fluid state with disability and untreated illness at one end, and recovery and complete wellness at the other end. Most of us live and move within the middle range of the spectrum.
However, most of us take our mental health for granted. Since it is such a basic, yet unseen, part of who we are, it doesn’t seem to merit a lot of thought compared to everything else going on in our lives or in the world. The reality is: our mental health is a major factor in all aspects of each of our lives. We see it have effects in our relationships, in our performance at work or school and in physical health issues.
Today, protecting and strengthening our mental health couldn’t be more important. With our fast paced, 24/7 culture, we face more stress from our daily lives than ever before. Many of us work extended hours or multiple jobs, and take less vacation. In fact, one in three American employees is chronically overworked. The line between work and home life is often blurred, so home is no longer a place of rest. Sleep and exercise feel like luxuries. We are eating poorly more often. We are constantly bombarded with information. We are also more disconnected from family, friends and neighbors, and less engaged in our communities than we used to be. Trust in one another has steadily declined over the last 30 years. Kids aren’t immune either— many are racing from one activity to another without any downtime.
All of us live with these daily threats to our mental health. Many of us also face additional challenges that test us and put our mental health at risk. For some of us, it is the stress of care giving, divorce, losing a loved one, losing a job, living with a disease such as diabetes, cancer or hypertension, an addiction to alcohol or drugs, a major illness such as depression or schizophrenia, or surviving domestic abuse, a street crime or a natural disaster
Whatever the source of the threat, how able we are to deal with these challenges can positively or negatively impact our ‘mental health,’ overall health and well-being. When considering all the ways it can affect each of us and our society, the issue of mental health amounts to the largest public health and economic concern in the country.
We believe that mental health is essential to the development and realization of every person's full potential.
We believe that the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental, emotional and social problems is the responsibility of every person and social institution in the community.
We believe that all persons must have access to a full array of high quality, community-based, integrated mental health services regardless of ability to pay.
We believe that all services must be linguistically and culturally appropriate.
We believe that all persons with mental illness can recover and live healthy and productive lives.
We believe that children with, or at risk of, serious emotional disturbances and their families or surrogate families must have access to high quality, community-based, integrated systems of care.
We believe that consumers, parents and families are unique and essential participants in providing advocacy, services, education and training.
We believe that mental health treatment should be provided and paid for at the same levels as other illnesses.
MHAH believes that justice demands that everyone, regardless of disability, has the rights and responsibilities of full participation in society.