In spite of the progress the world has witnessed in terms of enhancing people’s well-being and quality of life, particularly in aspects pertaining to granting and implementing human rights, mental health care is yet to be emphasized and recognized as important as that of physical health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his/her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his/her community”.
Being mentally unhealthy does not necessitate suffering a mental illness. If one is experiencing anxiety, stress, or fear, one can be said to have an unhealthy mental state.
Even though innumerable individuals are subject to poor mental health conditions or suffer mental disorders and illnesses, many countries fail to take measures in order to ensure the safety and well-being of their citizens’ state of mind. In fact, governments seldom provide their people access to basic mental health care.
In Lebanon, mental health disorders are not covered in the social security system designed to cater to people’s needs. Moreover, Lebanon has not yet enforced and implemented human rights and protective laws for the mentally unhealthy. One main reason for this issue is that people refrain from discussing matters related to their mental health as the culture has deemed it as a social stigma. People are more likely to remain silent about their mental problems than to seek professional help and be labeled as “sick” or “crazy”.
Nonetheless, if governments do not address issues of mental health, grave consequences are bound to take place. Psychologists assert that should mental health disorders be left untreated, incidents of violence and self-induced harm would become more frequent.
Today, stressing the importance of mental health through its recognition in the social security and by ensuring the application of legislations in different areas of mental health is a must. Awareness campaigns are key to openly discuss such matters without judgment, and to educate the people about the necessity to take care of their mental health and to visit concerned professionals when needed.
- Luay Shaaib