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  • Writer's pictureNgozi Ugwu

CAUSE AND EFFECT: Take away the cause, and the effect ceases.

Have you ever heard the saying, “health is wealth”? If you have all the wealth in this world without good health, you basically have nothing, your wealth will be for others. So what is health and how important is health?

Health is our physical, mental, and social well-being. It is not just the absence of disease, but the ability to recover and bounce back from illness and other problems.

Our health is categorized into physical and mental. Physical health refers to the stability of our physical body, our organs and structure, while our Mental health is the balance between our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Putting in a layman’s term, it is a balance between how we think, feel, and act.

With our physical health, we exercise, we eat right to maintain a fit health, we go for our yearly physical to prevent problems or to identify areas of concern with our physical health. When we have issues such as Asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, pain to say the least, we seek help from our primary care doctor or specialist to help treat these problems. This is like a normal phenomenon in our society and nothing we are ashamed to talk about or address.

So then, why should our mental health be secondary? Remember, health is wealth, and health consist of both physical and mental health.

Mental illness is when there is an imbalance between our emotions, psychological and social well-being. This is when there is a change that affects our mood, thinking and behavior, which in turn affects our quality of life and how we relate with others. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors to say the least.

Mental illness is a prevalent problem in the United states and the world at large. According to the National institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 adults in the U.S lives with a mental health illness and according to CDC, 1 in 6 children ages 6-8 have a mental health diagnosis. Mental health is just as important as our physical health, just like we exercise and eat right to maintain our physical health, we also have to take the right steps to care for our Mental Health.

Mental illness does not just happen, there are underlying causes to why we have mental illness. Some of the causes of a mental health breakdown include; childhood trauma such as abuse and neglect, social isolation, poverty, debt, loss of loved ones, physical illness, homelessness, unemployment, family genetics etc. Mental illness could be acute, situational or chronic. Mental illness could be mild, moderate or severe in symptoms.

I will point out some possible causes and effects of mental health problems that we may have experienced or our loved ones are experiencing below. To have a full understanding, please seek professional help.

Possible Causes

  • Genetics / Family history

  • Chemical Imbalances with our serotonin, nor-epinephrine, dopamine levels etc

  • Childhood trauma such as Physical abuse, Neglect, sexual abuse, Malnutrition, poverty etc

  • Financial crisis such as unemployment, debt, homelessness

  • Loss such as death of a loved one, divorce, ended relationship, friendship etc

  • Family relationship such as Family discord, poor relationships, abusive relationship, lack of family support

  • Exams, school, interviews, going on a date

Possible Effects

  • Depression, Anxiety, Anger, Behavioral problems, PTSD, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, substance abuse.

  • Acute symptoms of anxiety and depression with situations problems

  • Panic attacks, poor sleep, anxiety

Unfortunately, not everyone understands mental health problems. Some people may have misconceptions about what certain diagnoses mean. They may also use language you find dismissive, offensive or hurtful. However, you should know that, Mental illness is a part of who you are, but it doesn’t define you. You are not your illness or diagnosis. Knowing the cause or contributing factors to why you have your symptoms is important in addressing your concerns to achieve a great response to treatment. Oftentimes, we focus on treating the symptoms and not the root cause of the symptoms. Treating your symptoms without identifying the cause and addressing it is like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. You will not achieve an optimal response with such mentality of symptom treatment. Even with our physical health, if one has high blood pressure, you can’t control your blood pressure with taking medications alone, you also have to decrease your salt intake and exercise. Same goes for diabetes and other physical health problems. So why should you accept a different approach for your mental health treatment? Be proactive in your treatment plan, demand to be treated in a holistic way and not a partial way. Understanding what mental illness is and knowing that unstable mental health is preceded by a cause of action which brings about the effect or symptoms we experience. How then should you address mental illness?

  • Know that you are not alone, there is help out there to meet your needs, TAKE ACTION!

  • Seek professional help, Just like we go for annual physical evaluation, make it a yearly thing for a psychiatric evaluation if you already are not on any treatment, MAKE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH A PRIORITY!

  • DO NOT BE STIGMATIZED!! Don’t let the opinion of others prevent you from being true to yourself. BE YOU WITHOUT SHAME OR JUDGEMENT.


  • SHOW TRUE SUPPORT to loved ones and others who may express or endorse symptoms of mental illness.

  • EDUCATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS by talking about mental illness, asking questions when things are not clear, research from reliable sources.

  • EMPOWER YOURSELF! Participate in your treatment plan, be compliant with your treatment plan and follow through.

If you know someone that may need to read this, do not hesitate to direct them to this website. EDUCATE SOME TODAY. Thanks

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