1.3  Psychological health

  • Think about people in the community who are showing behaviour that may indicate they are going through a period of mental distress in their lives. Or think about Serena again. Do you think that everyone in distress shows the same sorts of symptoms?

  • Sometimes it can be really hard from the outside to tell if the person is struggling with mental health issues, but at other times they show symptoms that suggest a lack of self-awareness or personal identity, or an inability of rational and logical decision-making.

At other times it might be apparent that they are not looking after themselves and are without a proper purpose in their life. They may be chewing khat, drinking alcohol and have a non-logical response to any request. You may also notice that they have an inability to maintain their personal autonomy and are unable to maintain good relationships with people around them.

So how do we recognise a mentally healthy adult?

You will learn more about mental health and ill health in the Module on Non-Communicable Diseases, Emergency Care and Mental Health.

The mentally healthy adult shows behaviour that demonstrates awareness of self, who has purpose to their life, a sense of self understanding, self value and a willingness to perceive reality and cope with its difficulties.

The mentally healthy adult is active, hard working and productive, persists with tasks until they are completed, logically thinks about things affecting their own health, responds flexibly in the face of stress, receives pleasure from a variety of sources, and accepts their own limitations realistically. The healthy adult has a capacity to live with other people and understand other people’s needs. It is sometimes considered that the mentally healthy person shows growth and maturity in three areas: cognitive, emotional and social.

The next part of this study session will help you understand these three components of psychological health.

1.2  Physical health

1.3.1  Cognitive component