The Importance of Mental Health

Danial Asadolahi, Adler University

Following the death of his father in a terrible car accident, Kevin develops a lack of interest in playing the guitar and reading (his regular hobbies; American Psychiatric Association, 2013; Fakhoury, 2016). He also begins experiencing sleep difficulties, severe weight loss, a daily lack of energy, and problems concentrating (APA, 2013). Kevin’s relationships, job performance, and ability to enjoy life start to suffer, causing him social, financial, and personal distress (APA, 2013). Soon, he finds himself regularly contemplating taking his own life (APA, 2013). When he was 14 years old, David began demonstrating unfair and dishonest behaviours towards other people (APA, 2013). He would cheat his school friends, steal from his parents, and physically aggress against kids weaker than him (APA, 2013). As an adult, David enters the corporate world and, through his charm and smooth behaviour, rises to a senior-level position in a major corporation (Boddy, 2011). While in this position, David callously bullies his employees and engages in greedy behaviours that negatively affect the larger economy (Boddy, 2011).

Though the above stories are fictional, they are, as indicated by the citations appearing in parentheses, inspired by empirical research conducted in the field of mental health. These brief stories illustrate the potentially wide-ranging and important impact of psychological health issues. In Kevin’s case, depression wreaks havoc in multiple areas of his life, including hobbies, physical and cognitive health, relationships, work, and finances. In David’s case, his conduct disorder symptoms when he was a teen resulted in harm to friends and family members, while his antisocial personality disorder symptoms when he becomes an adult harm his employees and general society, the latter via the negative economic effects of his actions. David’s story in particular demonstrates the potentially especially extensive harmful reach of certain psychological disturbances, in this case, antisocial traits; not only is it conceivable that a psychological malady such as antisocial personality disorder can exert a negative influence in such a crucial area of societal life as the economy (Boddy, 2011), it is also possible to envision antisocial personality features playing a devastating role in the political domain (examples of historical leaders with such characteristics and these leaders’ destructive and society-affecting actions are abundant). The potential for various psychological disorders to harmfully influence a wide range of life realms, including such significant areas as personal relationships, physical health, and politics and economics, makes both the importance of mental health and of expanding societal access to mental health services and education, crystal clear.


References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Publisher.

Boddy, C. R. (2011). The Corporate Psychopaths Theory of the Global Financial Crisis. Journal of Business Ethics, 102, 255-259. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-0810-4

Fakhoury, M. (2016). Revisiting the serotonin hypothesis: Implications for major depressive disorders. Molecular Neurobiology, 53(5), 2778-2786. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12035-015-9152-z

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