Mental health refers to the extent of mental disorder or an inadequate state of mental health. It is the state of a person who is “working at a satisfactory degree of emotional and behavioural adjustment”. Mental Health Australia states that mental health issues are associated with a range of life-threatening diseases and disorders. Mental Health Australia defines a mental health condition as a state when “a person is suffering from any of the following: persistent depression, constant worry about things he or she cannot control, thoughts of suicide, constant paranoia, or thoughts of hurting oneself or others”. It should also be noted that people suffering from anxiety disorders are more likely to be diagnosed with panic and phobias than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
The National Comorbidity Survey Replication reports that one in six adults report having one or more mental health issues in their lifetime, which is approximately four percent. However, most of the mental health problems are not reported to the health care provider and are not diagnosed as they are initially misdiagnosed. The primary reason for misdiagnosis is that mental health concerns are not seen as psychiatric conditions and therefore are not subject to the same tests for diagnosis as physical illnesses. This means that the misdiagnosed symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders may be caused by non-existent conditions.
Although mental health issues are associated with various serious illnesses, the majority of these issues will go unnoticed. People will often experience symptoms such as headaches, stomach pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression without realizing it. For this reason, it is recommended that patients undergo regular checkups. Some patients may have underlying medical conditions but their illness may mask the symptoms of a more serious mental health concern. This leads to a delay in identifying the problem and treating it. People diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorders will experience various different symptoms and should not be dismissed. When these symptoms are ignored, the chance of the condition getting progressively worse increases.