Mental health is a dynamic process in which a person’s physical, cognitive, affective, behavioral, and social dimensions interact functionally with one another and the environment.
Mental health: a state of well-being
Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
The positive dimension of mental health is stressed in WHO's definition of health as contained in its constitution: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."
This fact file highlights the important aspects of mental health and disorders.
Mental health stands for the “the wholesomeness of the mind” and it concerned with the health of one’s mind and its functioning as well as physical functioning.
J.A. Hadfield (1952): Mental health is the full and harmonious functioning of the whole personality.
Cutts and Moslay (1941). Mental health is the ability which helps us to seek adjustment in the difficult situations of our life.
K. A. Menninger (1949). Let us define mental health as the adjustment of human beings to the world and each other with a maximum of effectiveness and happiness. It is the ability to maintain even temper, an alert intelligence, socially considerate behavior and a happy disposition.
We can conclude, the mental health as the health of one’s mind which can prove a potent determinant of one’s integrated personality and balanced behavior identified on the basis of the level of his adjustment to his self, others and environment.
Understanding the Concept of Mental Health
There are certain well-known characteristics and findings for understanding the true concept of mental health. They have been mentioned briefly as follows:
1. Nothing called perfect mental health: Mental health is a fiction and not reality. Hence, it is always better to talk of optimum mental health in place of perfect mental health.
2. Mental health is dynamic concept: Mental health denotes a state of balanced equilibrium of our mind. This balance is not static, it is quite dynamic. The circumstances in our life are never static and since they are changeable, so is our adjustment. The adjustments we have achieved at any point with ourself and the enviourmental forces may not be helpful in future and so one’s mental heal is always in a state of dynamics.
3. Mental health can’t be achieved without physical health. The saying that ‘ a sound mind lives in a sound body’ is quite true. For achieving an optimal level of mental health, one has to first acquire adequate physical health.
4. Mental health and efficiency are not the same thing. It is not essential for the successful and efficient men to be mentally healthy as well. One may be quite efficient and successful at his work or profession but he could be most unhappy, full of anxiety, etc. otherwise.
5. Mental health and Social ability are not the same things. While a mentally healthy person is sociable, it is not necessary for a sociable or socially adaptable person to be healthy minded. One may be sociable but extremely anxious to please everybody. Similarly he may be amenable because of an inherent feeling of insecurity or inferiority.
6. Mental health differs form ethical standards: Mental health differs from ethical standards. Morality does not guarantee mental health. There exist many individuals who are very moral but suffer from serious abnormalities like phobias or sex perversions.
Common Characteristics of a Mentally Healthy Person
The common characteristics of psychologically healthy individual as proposed by several psychologists are listed below:
1. Adaptable and resilient mind
2. Conscious control of life
3. Cheerful and optimistic outlook
4. Well-regulated instincts and habits
5. Emotional balance
6. Insight into one's own conduct
7. Enthusiastic and reasonable
8. Normal sex-consciousness
9. Freedom from prejudice
11. Good tempered
12. Socially adaptable
13. Definite philosophy of life
14. Capacity to think independently
15. Satisfied with the work or occupation
16. Realistic imagination.
Adjustment Meaning and Concepts:
“Life presents a continuous chain of struggle for existence and survivals”, says Darwin. Adjustment is a necessary characteristic to be able to live peacefully in this world. Adjustment problem starts right from the birth of and continues till death, various situations arise at home. School, college, and workplace where we need to give up a little of our demands and accept what is present. Adjustment is the process of arriving at a balanced state between the need of individual and their satisfaction. Home and school play pivotal role in the adjustment of an individual.
According to the Darwin (1958) theory of evolution, those species which adapted successfully to the demands of living, survived and multiplied while others who did not, died out. Therefore adaptation or change in oneself according to the external environment is a basic need for survival. However the concept of adjustment is not as simple as adaptation. Psychologist and scholars differ considerably in interpreting its meaning and nature.
James Drever defines adjustment as the modification to compensate for or meat special condition.
According to the Shaffer, L.S. (1961) “Adjustment is the process by which living organism maintain a balance between his needs and the circumstances that influence the satisfactions of these needs. In the words of Coleman, James C., “Adjustment is the outcome of the individual’s attempts to deal with the stress and meet his needs: also his efforts to maintain harmonious relationships with the environment.
And according to the Carter V Good , “adjustment is the process of finding and adopting modes of behavior suitable to the environment or the change in the environment.
“Adjustment” can be defined as a process of altering one's behavior to reach a harmonious relationship with their environment. This is typically a response brought about by some type of change that has taken place. The stress of this change causes one to try to reach a new type of balance or homeostasis between the individual (both inwardly and outwardly), and with their environment.
The above discussion can lead us to summarize in the following way:
· Adjustment is a process that takes us to lead a happy and well-contented life.
· Adjustment helps us in keeping balanced between our needs and the capacity to meet these needs.
· Adjustment persuades us to change our way of life according to the demands of the situation.
· Adjustment gives us strength and ability to bring desirable changes in the conditions of our environment.
Areas of adjustment:
Adjustment in the case of individual consisted of personal as well as environmental components. These two aspects of adjustment can be further subdivided into smaller aspects of personal and environmental factors.
Broadly speaking there are three areas where an individual need to be adjusted to live a balance life. These are: Family and home, School, and Society.
The major areas of adjustment are:
Emotional Adjustment: Emotions play a leading role in one's adjustment to self and his environment. An individual is said to be emotionally adjusted if he is able to express his emotions in a proper way at a proper time. It requires one's balanced emotional development and proper training in the outlet of emotions.
Health Adjustment: One should be adjusted with health and physical aspects soundly, if an individual's physical development and abilities are in conformity with those of his peers and he does not feel any difficulty in his progress due to some defects or incapabilities in his physical organs, he enjoys full opportunity of being adjusted.
Family Adjustment: He all knows that home is a source of greatest satisfaction and security to its members. The relationships among family members and their ways of behaviour play a leading role in adjustment of an individual. All problematic and delinquent behaviour is the result of the adjustment and maladjustment, to a great extent as it is the product of faulty rearing an uncongenial atmosphere at home.
Social Adjustment: An individual's social adjustment can be ascertained by his social environment. Social adjustment requires the development of psychic qualities and virtues in an individual. It also requires that one should be social enough to live in harmony with that social being and feel responsible and obligatory towards one's fellow people, society and country.
Academic adjustment involves the students' healthy adjustment to school or college environment and work. It could be looked upon as the student's adjustment to the curriculum as evidenced in his interest and liking for it, steadiness and clarity of his goals, that is, whether the student has a carefully conceived plan for his future; whether he is conscious of clear and normal life-goals; whether he is stimulated to a proper effort to achieve them. The achievement of these largely depends upon his efficiency in the use of his time and methods of study he employs. His emotional maturity, his sound mental and physical health, his personal and social relationships with the teachers and his associates are factors that are likely to help or hinder the efficient pursuit of his goals in the sphere of collegiate life.
Academic adjustment may broadly be described in terms of the characteristics exhibited by a well adjusted student. A well adjusted student possesses or exhibits the following characteristics:
1. He has a high degree of intrinsic interest in the subjects he is studying.
2. He has a positive attitude towards the requirements of his courses.
3. He has a realistic evaluation of his abilities and capacities.
4. He has the ability to concentrate for a reasonable length of time in the performance of his academic work.
5. He exhibits stability in his goals and in his emotional life.
6. He is able to enjoy life in many areas.
Academic adjustment is the satisfactory relationship of the student to the academic situation. It may be defined as adaptation to the demands of the total scholastic environment. The adjustment process consists in the efforts of the student to overcome frustrations in achieving the satisfaction of his needs. In this sense, the exact nature of adjustment will be unique in each individual student in terms of his personality and his self-elected goals.
The process of adjustment can best be described in terms of a number of criteria:
(i) Integration: A well adjusted student is free from inner conflicts and therefore is able to concentrate his energies on his goal or compatible group of goals.
(ii) Ego development: A well adjusted student is one who has learned to apply his intelligence to the effective solution of his problems to living. He is able to work efficiently and adequately. He finds reasonable enthusiasm, satisfaction and pleasure in his work. He develops a sound and consistent philosophy of life which involves a broad and realistic outlook of the world around him. He is able to plan for the successful accomplishment of his goals.
(iii) Reality orientation: A well adjusted student recognizes reality, particularly his own limitations and capacities. He learns frustration tolerance' and to inhibit his needs when they are not suitable and postpones satisfaction for a more favourable occasion.
(iv) Responsibility : A well adjusted student has the necessary maturity to accept responsibility for his actions. He has the necessary mastery and understanding of his own feelings. He has a certain freedom of emotional expression and self-control.
(v) Sense of security: A well adjusted student has a sound sense of security which grows out of his feelings of belonging and being desired. He has adjusted his aspirations to reality, that is, the reality of what he can expect of himself in the light of his talents, social position; and opportunities. He is free from excessive anxiety, depression, worry and disturbing fears. His feelings betray neither excessive exuberance nor despondency.
(vi) Curiosity and Spontaneity: A well adjusted students shows normal curiosity and exhibits a natural and easy spontaneity in social relationships. His emotions are under his control and he does not permit their exaggerated expression. He learns to put his energies to constructive and socially desirable ends. He perceives the world about him as a warm, friendly place inhabited by people largely benevolent and friendly. He is optimistic.
Man is ambitions by nature. He has so many aspirations and desires to be fulfilled. He plans and strives hard for their realization but it is possible that despite his best planning and efforts, he may not get the desired success. At times he may find himself in the state of utter confusion and bewilderment. All the paths for going ahead seem to be blocked. Such state of affairs, along with the repeated failure in the attempts, puts one into a state or condition that can be termed as frustration. For making the term more clear, let us take some definitions coined by eminent writers.
Carroll (1962): a frustration is the condition of being thwarted in the satisfaction of motive.
Good (1959): Frustration means emotional tension resulting from the blocking of a desire or need.
Kolesnic : Frustration is the feeling of being blocked or thwarted in satisfying a need of attaining a goal that individual perceives as significant.
Barney and Lehner (1953): Frustration refers to failure to satisfy a basic need because of either conditions in the individual or external obstacles.
These definitions reveal the following facts about the nature and meaning of the term frustration:
Frustration is that stage or condition in which failure dominates the attempts.
In this state one feels a major obstacle in the satisfaction of one’s basic needs or in the attainment of one’s cherished goal.
The significance of the goal and strength of the “blockade” increases the degree of frustration.
The cause of frustration lies both in the individual himself and his environment.
Causes of Frustrations
The cause of frustration may be devided into two major heads:
A External factors
B Internal Factors
Please refer Essentials of Educational Psychology by S.K. Mangal – pages 534 to 540 for remaining notes.
Behavioural Problems – Meaning and Concepts
All our behavior has some definite purpose, aim or motive and it directed towards the satisfaction of our basic needs, desires, ambitions, instincts and emotions. The way in which this give and take relationship is maintained decides the course of our adjustment with the society. Satisfactory adjustment gives satisfaction to us and the society. Consequently our actions and behavior are adjudged proper and get rewarded or praised. Contrarily when our equilibration, the balance between our self and the social environment, is disturbed, we being to suffer from social maladjustment. Then it becomes difficult to maintain harmony in our relationship with the society. We are forced to drift away from the norms, rules and regulations and expectations of the society and there begins a war like situation between our ‘self’ and the social environment. We are confronted with the feelings of insecurity, anxiety, frustration and other similar emotions resulting in various abnormalities in our behavior. As a consequence, our behaivour no longer remains a social behavior but becomes anti-social or abnormal leading to many behavior problems to our self and the society.
Due to this, they fall easy victims to many behavioural problems like: bed wetting, nail biting, autism (inability to relate socially), Thumb sucking, Temper tantrums, Lying, Truancy, Stealing, pick pocketing and other types of juvenile delinquency, Bullying or fighting, Hair plucking, different phobias, Speech disorders like stammering, Extreme fearfulness and anxiety, Copying, Negativism, Sexually deviant behavior and Drug addiction etc.
In this way, a behavior, provided it related to the point of causing problems to the individual himself as well as to the members and resources of the society. However, such problems child or adult has abnormality only in terms of the problems related with behavior, otherwise he is as normal as others. In this way behavioural problems should never be confused with the individuals suffering from developmental disorders and mental illness.
On the basis of behavioural problem meaning and nature, we can define it as:
The term behavioural problem or problematic behavior stands for that type of serious abnormality in the behavior of an individual (child or adult) which, while causing a problem for his proper adjusted to self and the environment, proves quite detrimental to his own welfare along with that of the society.
Some common types of behavioural problems of the children and adolescents are:
Truancy, Lying, Stealing, Temper Tantrums, & Drug Addiction
Truancy: is a behavioural problem is related with the school life of a child. Those children who willingly make themselves absent from the classroom or outside classroom or outside classroom activities of the school without the prior permission of their parents, teachers or school authorities are termed as truants and their such absenteeism related behavior is termed as truancy.
Causes of Truancy
Truancy, in all its kinds and shapes, is a behavioural problem and is thus the outcome of one’s maladjustment and maladaptation with his self and the environment. The causes of his maladaptive behavior resulting into truancy, thus lie well within the factors and circumstances related to one’s physical, social and educational surroundings are given below:
Physical health of the child, Mental health of the child, Level of physical and mental abilities, Behaviour of the teachers, Study and teaching methods in schools, Lack of cocurricular activities and hobbies, Indiscipline in schools, Ill effects of bad company, Home environment, Difficulty in the satisfaction of basic needs, Desire to escape from work, Social and emotional maladjustment, Desire to prove superiority and courage etc.
Lying and speaking the truth represent the two opposite and contradictory dimensions of one’s personality. While truth is associated with the virtues like honestly, integrity, and transparency in one’s behavior, lying is said to be in close relationship with the vices like dishonestly, fraud, deceit and indecency. So while speaking of truth is always appreciated and encouraged in our society, the telling of lie is considered bad, undignified and immoral. In our books and literature, we are always told and preached that we should not tell lies. However, despite such widespread opposition to lying, we all, including small children, tell lies. The question arises as to what makes such innocent children pick up the evil habit of lying in its many ways and styles. Let us study this problem in detail.
Types of Lies
Lies can be classified mainly into two following broad types and styles.
A: The lies that are told knowingly in the state of full consciousness with some definite purposes. (eg. Told on account of fear or for saving the self from punishment or some other personal losses, safety of others, making fool of others, proving one as a super hero, winning a game or competition etc.)
B: The lies that are told unknowingly in the absence of essential consciousness are included in this category. These are mainly generated through one’s unconscious mind. (eg. Lies related to an incomplete, improper or wrong reporting of the facts on account of inadequate remembrance of the things or events, for expression of one’s unconscious motives and desires, one’s world of imagination, children’s ignorance or innocence)
Stealing refers to that behaviour of an individual or child in which he (i) engages himself in picking up or taking away some thing (money or material object) belonging to others without their consent or knowledge; (ii) pleads or exhibits his ignorance about the whereabouts of the object and (iii) keep an unauthorized possession of the picked up object with him or derives benefits by selling or giving it to somebody else of his choice.
Temper tantrum or temper outburst is a common sight for any professional who deals with the problems of the children. It occurs more frequently among younger children who exhibit a variety of learning, physical or emotional problems. As a matter of definition, temper tantrum may be termed as an intense uncontrollable outburst of anger expressed though cursing, kicking, hitting, biting, screaming, rolling on the ground, destruction of property and related behavior that may be dangerous to those around as well as to furnishings.
The Drug Addiction carries with it the concept of drug and addiction.
Drugs: We generally make use of one or the other drugs for preserving our health and protecting as well as curing ourselves from illness or diseases. In this sense, drugs are our best friends. However, this is one side of the story. All drugs are not always so helpful to us. If taken in excess or in contradiction to the need of the body, they may prove fatal. It is truer with those drugs that are associated with intoxication. Here while trying to know the meaning of the term drug addiction; we must be quite specific that by work drug we clearly mean the drugs associated with intoxication.
Addiction: Physiological and psychological dependence on something may be referred to as our addiction to that thing. In this sense we may have addiction to our breakfast, lunch, or dinner. However, its excessive and prolonged use can make him quite dependent on it both physiologically and psychologically. Gradually, it becomes dependent on it thus resulting in such craving that one is compelled to take it at any cost irrespective of the consequences. Hence starting from a causal intake and ordinary habit, drug addiction may take the shape of quire a dangerous personality disorder. In its developing stages this disorder may be seen to gradually affect the individual in the following ways.
Initial effects of drugs, conversion into a habit, Tolerance for the heavy doses of the drugs, Physiological and Psychological dependence, Presence of withdrawal symptoms, and developing into a behavioural problems.
After understating the meaning of the terms drug and addiction, we may now define the term ‘drug addiction’, in the following way:
The behavioural problem associated with the drug addiction stands for that physiological and psychological state of an individual which is resulted through the prolonged and excessive use of an intoxicating drug and which may be characterized by (a) an intense craving or compulsion to obtain or consume it regardless of consequences; (b) a tendency to increase the dosage with time; (c) physiological and psychological dependence on the effects of the drug; (d) manifestation of particular withdrawal symptoms on abrupt discontinuation of the drug, and (e) to live and work only for consuming the drug.