Health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is an “uneven state of health with complete physical, emotional and social well being and not just the absence of illness and disease.” A variety of other definitions have also been used over the years for various purposes. The best definition of health that has consistently been used is that which meets the basic needs of life: food, health, and shelter. Without health, these three areas are significantly impaired. Inadequate nutrition, or a lack of the proper nutrients that are crucial for good health; a lack of good health practices, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet; and inadequate protection from the effects of heat, cold, and other hazards contribute to poor health. These risks increase as a person gets older, particularly if he or she fails to adapt to environmental changes, such as those associated with aging, such as changes in environment and climate, which can lead to increased susceptibility to diseases.
The absence or deficiency of any of these important components leads to an individual’s health status. There is no specific test to diagnose physical illness; rather, it is usually determined through a series of tests, including a physical examination and review of one’s medical history. Mental health, on the other hand, can be determined through a series of tests, including a mental health evaluation, a standard mental health screening, and a specific mental health diagnostic test. Depending on the severity of a mental illness, treatment may include psychotherapy and medication, or a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
In addition to poor physical health, a person’s mental health can be threatened by everyday influences, such as stress, noise, workplace violence, and household violence. A number of research studies indicate that a number of people who suffer from a mental illness are at an increased risk of suffering from serious health complications, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Even a relatively minor deterioration in a person’s mental health can have severe consequences on his or her physical health. These and other environmental factors work together to create a dangerous situation, and many people who suffer from mental illnesses find themselves repeatedly exposed to both bad environments and good environments, with little chance of escape.