04 November 2021

Is there a mental health problem today?

Is there a mental health problem today?

(Mental Health issues today)

Topic by Norma

Essay by Lawrence

 

At face value, when we think of mental health we think of emotional problems or behaviour problems. People who are feeling depressed, suicidal, anger issues, loneliness, and so on. There are some good lists of mental health condition at: NHS (Mental health conditions: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/) or MentalHealth.gov (https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health). Mental health issues are well documented on the internet even though one must approach them with caution.

 

So what does mental health has to do with philosophy? At the one extreme mental health might affect how people act, their intentions, their beliefs, their social interaction and maybe their risk of putting themselves in danger. Even more important, people might affect others, interfere with the lives of others, especially relatives, impose their unreasonable will on others, especially from those in a position of authority, and so on.

 

At another extreme of mental health people can spread out to affect others in society and maybe society itself. The first question for us is how does mental health affect the actions of people with such a health problem? Even accepting that having a healthy mind is also part of mental health issues, but is there a difference in solving problems by the two different groups?

 

Mental health problems for some people do not necessarily manifest themselves in the open for others to see. Many people are very good at hiding and suppressing their issues which may not do them no good. This is understandable since it is human and biological nature not to expose one’s weaknesses to other people.

 

Some mental health issues might reflect the society we live in today: over crowded cities, financial pressures, loneliness in the elderly, hostile work environment and so on. The NHS website also offers advice on these ‘modern’ issues. Excluding some biological cause, it can be argued that at the essence of some mental problems is fear. Fear of the future, fear of adversaries of life, fear of failure and so on. Indeed fear is a very effective way to immobilise one’s enemies but in evolutionary terms the enemy might not be other people but nature itself. It is not surprising that our most important organ for survival is our brain and whether we like it or not our brain gets battered remorselessly. Surely this affects how we think, our beliefs and intentions.

 

And yet we know that cooperation is the antidote to some human caused stress, difficult human relations, inequality in resource distribution, and so on. Indeed modern society can only function by cooperating even if we have to do it in the environment of a working environment and the motive is to earn the means to exchange for necessities. And yet at the individual level we still come across obnoxious people.

 

An issue worth exploring is whether mental health affects our decisions in important social issues such as elections or voting behaviour. Specifically, what makes some people vote against their interests?

 

Best Lawrence

 

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