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Mental health and Mental Illnesses

There is more to good health than just a physically healthy body. A healthy person should also have a healthy mind. A person with a healthy mind should be able to think clearly, should be able to solve the various problems faced in life, should enjoy good relations with friends, colleagues at work and family, and should feel spiritually at ease and bring happiness to others in the community. There is much more, but if these aspects are taken care of, the individual can be considered to possess good mental health.

Even though we talk about the mind and body as if they were separate, in reality they are like two sides of the same coin. They share a great deal with each other, but present a different face to the world around us. If one of the two is affected in any way, then the other will almost certainly also be affected. Just because we think about the mind and body separately, it does not mean that they are independent of each other.

Just as the physical body can fall ill, so too can the mind. This can be called mental illness. Mental illness is "any illness experienced by individuals which affects their emotions, thoughts or behaviour, which is out of keeping with their cultural beliefs and personality, and is producing a negative effect on their lives or the lives of their families".

It is estimated that one in five of all adults will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime. This shows how common mental health problems are. Anyone can suffer a mental health problem. Studies from nearly every corner of the world show that as much as 40% of all adults attending general health care services are suffering from some kind of mental illness. The World Health Report from the World Health Organization in 2001 found that four out of the ten most disabling conditions in the world were mental illnesses.

There are many people in the society who live with different mental illnesses without getting treatment because of lack of awareness about these illnesses. Mental health problems are very well treatable if you seek medical help in the beginning.

In this context we are starting a blog to increase the awareness of mental illness in the general population and to discuss and clarify the doubts of the common man.

We will be discussing about all mental illnesses but will start with problems affecting the children. After discussing the common problems in children, we would be discussing the problems affecting the adult population.

The blog will be managed by Dr. Sam P J, who is the Chief Consultant in Psychological Medicine at Innervision. A young and dedicated psychiatrist settled in Thrissur, Kerala, Dr. Sam has done his MD in Psychiatry from the prestigious National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. He is well-versed in managing children with different kinds of psychological problems, substance abuse disorders and psychological problems in the elderly. Currently, he works as the Chief Consultant Psychiatrist at Elite Mission Hospital, Thrissur and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in a private Medical College (CAIMS, Andhra Pradesh). He also works with the Autism School, Thrissur. Currently, he holds the post of the Assistant Editor of a famous Indian psychiatry journal, Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. He is the Secretary of Indian Psychiatry Association, Thrissur Branch and Behavioural Neurosciences Club of Thrissur.

Dr. Sam P J
MBBS, MD Psy. (NIMHANS)

Chief Consultant in Psychological Medicine,
Innervision Institute for Counselling & Psychotherapy,
Sree Kerala Varma College Road,
Chungam, Ayyanthole P.O., Thrissur, Kerala

Chief Consultant Psychiatrist
Elite Mission Hospital, Thrissur

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
CAIMS, Andhra Pradesh

Assistant Editor
Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine

Consultant Child Psychiatrist
Centre for Children with Autism, Chembookavu, Thrissur
(Kerala State Council for Child Welfare Society)

Secretary,
Indian Psychiatry Society, Thrissur Branch

Secretary
The Behavioural Neurosciences Club, Thrissur