Health Science and Mental Health
Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of full mental, physical and social well being and not just the absence of illness and infirmity. A number of definitions have also been used over time for different medical purposes. In modern society, however, the word “health” usually refers to prevention of illness and the promotion of general well being. It is a very broad term, since it encompasses a range of concepts that deal with the physical, mental, and social aspects of life. The American Medical Association has identified 10 universal characteristics of health that include: physical well being, mental health, capacity for pleasure and achievement, social adjustment, maintenance of well-organized and functioning relationships, ability to interact with others, and adaptability or resilience.
The mental health of an individual includes his ability to understand, control, and manage his own emotions and thoughts; his capacity to cope with stress; his ability to acquire, develop, and maintain good relationships; his ability to establish and maintain a supportive and trusting relationship with others; his ability to attain and maintain a healthy self image; and lastly, his ability to develop and maintain a positive outlook in spite of setbacks and challenges. A person’s health status may vary from time to time depending on a number of factors, such as the genetics, nutritional habits, social conditions, and so on. When it comes to communicable diseases, AIDS is a notable example, where the disease was almost eliminated a few decades back only because the population was getting more educated and believed in more responsibility in their health status. The most common communicable diseases are measles, lice, cholera, diarrhea, hepatitis, viral encephalitis, genital herpes, shingles, heart diseases, and cancer. Prevention through exercise, appropriate nutrition, and safe sex is the best way to avoid contracting any of these diseases.
In line with this, the field of public health sciences has been developing various techniques to prevent, protect, and cure diseases that are known to be transmittable to humans. A number of diseases still remain to be unknown, like those that involve higher levels of complexity, requiring better research and development methods in order to be effectively combated. Thereby, health science provides humankind with the latest tools to fight against diseases and improve overall health status.