Environment, Lifestyle and Mental Health
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is “an overall condition of health that determines the ability to participate in the society and to cope with life’s challenges.” A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years for various purposes. For the purposes of this article, we will define health as it relates to a person’s total quality of life.
The word quality actually goes back to the root meaning of the word. Quality is actually related to the act or process of doing something rather than the end result. Therefore, it is the ability to do something rather than the outcome as it relates to that ability. In other words, overall health is determined by the total quality of the patient’s experience or mental well-being, which can be defined as a combination of the physical well-being, financial health and the social environment.
Mental wellness is an important aspect of overall well-being, but many people are confused between the concept of mental wellness and mental health. Wellness refers to a proactive active process that addresses both internal and external factors. This active process is a natural response to living in a community. It is a means of life rather than a goal achieved through education, technology, and mass media.
While the concept of mental wellness is increasingly understood, many researchers and practitioners still disagree about what constitutes wellness. Some argue that mental health is just the absence of ill-health while others view it as a means of life that includes healthy habits and behaviors that promote health. Other practitioners believe that a person has to learn to be healthy in all areas of their life in order to be mentally healthy. The active process of wellness requires a change in lifestyle and includes a new appreciation of self-care, social support, physical exercise and nutrition as components of the change.
There is an emerging view that wellness can be influenced through lifestyle changes. These include changes in diet, exercise, home maintenance, and work/school schedules that create a healthier environment for active process. A health management company, for example, has launched a program that examines the current environmental and cultural context in which residents live, work, and thrive. The wellness strategy builds on information from the company’s previous evaluations that compare environmental and physical conditions in communities and identify those factors that increase or decrease the residents’ well-being.
In addition to looking at current environmental factors that affect the environment, the assessment also takes into consideration how residents interpret and deal with these factors. The mental health assessment therefore seeks to identify both positive and negative aspects of the lifestyle to determine if any of the environment, family, work or school factors are influencing the residents’ well-being. By tracking the changes in the environment over time, the company is able to find the correlation between environmental conditions and changes in mental health and identify potential lifestyle changes to lessen the impact of environmental factors on mental illnesses.