What is psychological health?

The psychological health of a person constitutes his mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. It deals with our thought, relationships, motivation, behavior, and perceptions. It is the result of the complex interaction between a person's thoughts and their past experiences.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs

It was put forward by Abraham Maslow in his paper “A theory of human motivation" in the journal named "psychological review" in 1943. According to him, we have five basic categories of needs- physiological, security, social, esteem, and self-actualization needs. It is shown below in the shape of a pyramid.

The most fundamental needs are placed at the bottom and self-actualization needs to be placed at the top. In other words, an individual's most basic needs must be fulfilled before they get motivated to acquire high-level needs. For example, a homeless person never thinks of prestige. Thus, our physiological and safety needs are the basic ones.

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Physiological needs

Those are vital for our survival. Example: food, water, warmth, rest, breathing, cloth, home. Maslow has even comprised sexual reproduction in it because it is vital for one's survival.

Safety needs

Some of the basic safety and security needs are financial security, health security. Finding a job, having health insurance, having a safer neighborhood, contributing to a saving account, all are examples of it.

Belongingness and love needs or social needs

It deals with the need for emotional relationships. Friendships, love relationships, families, social groups, religious organizations, etc., can satisfy such needs. These help to avoid problems such as loneliness, anxiety, depression.

Esteem needs

Self-esteem needs play a vital role in our behavior. People need to feel that they are important and valued by others. Gaining respect and admiration from others becomes equally important. It deals with the need for prestige, respect, accomplishment.


Self-actualization is at the top of Maslow's pyramid. Self-actualizing people are self-aware, less bothered about the opinion of others, interested in fulfilling their potentials.

Mental health

It describes the “thoughtful” or “reasonable” dimensions of one's health. A mentally healthy person can understand life realistically, adapt to change, invent logical strategies to solve problems and fulfill personal and professional responsibilities. Also, a mentally healthy person has the intellectual capacity to know and use information effectively. Thus intellectual health is referred to as the subset of mental health. According to World Health Organization, mental health means “more than the absence of mental disorders or disabilities."

In the U.S.A, National Alliance on Mental Illness says that almost one in five adults has mental health disorders each year.

Factors affecting mental health

Anyone can have a mental health disorder regardless of age or gender. The main factors for these are social and economic pressure, biological pressure, and lifestyle choices.

Social and economic pressure

For some groups, in terms of variable factors, which may change over time, and non-variable factors, which are permanent.

The variable factors are:

  • House quality
  • Education
  • Socioeconomic factors, such as jobs
  • Social involvement

Non-variable factors are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity

Female's mental illness ratio is higher than men. People with "weaker economic status" have a higher rate of mental disorders.

Biological factors

The National Institutes of Mental Health suggests that a family's genetic history may increase the risk of mental illness. It depends on some genes and gene variations. However, there are many other factors also. Having a gene related to mental illness does not necessarily mean that the illness will happen.

Common mental health disorders

Anxiety disorders

This mental illness is very common in people.

Examples of anxiety disorders:

Generalized anxiety disorder ( GAD)

GAD is an inappropriate concern that disrupts daily life. People can also experience physical symptoms, like:

  • Instability
  • Fatigue
  • Disrupted sleep
  • No specific trigger is required for these symptoms.

People with GAD may feel extra anxious when faced with everyday conditions, which do not pose a direct danger, for instance, making appointments. They can sometimes feel anxious without a trigger.

Panic disorders

People with this disorder have regular panic attacks that include sudden and excessive terror or feelings of imminent disaster and death.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder ( OCD )

People with OCD have emotions and compulsions. They feel a strong urge to do constant, stressful thinking and do repetitive tasks, such as hand washing.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is caused by a person witnessing any deep stress or a traumatic event. As a result, the person feels that his life or the life of another person is in danger. They may be scared or have no control whatsoever over what is happening or has happened. The effect of these sensations of trauma and fear then causes PTSD.

Mood disorders

It is also referred to as affective disorder or depressive disorder. The example of mood disorders are:

Major depression

A person suffering from depression constantly feels low mood. They lose interest in the activities and events they used to enjoy. They feel sad or extreme sadness for a long time.

Bipolar disorder

People with this disorder experience abnormal changes in their energy levels, activity levels, mood, and ability to continue daily life. The high mood is known as the manic phase, and the low mood is known as the depressive phase.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Decreased daylight in autumn, winter, and early spring cause this type of major depression. It is most common in countries farther from the equator.


According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms of schizophrenia are more common among people aged 16-30. The person will have thoughts that will appear in fragments and their information can also be difficult to process.

There are two types of symptoms in schizophrenia; negative symptoms and positive symptoms. Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are anxiety disorders, delusions, and hallucinations. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are withdrawal, lack of motivation, and a flat mood.


There are three types of phobia.

Simple phobia

Fear of certain objects, scenarios, or animals. Example- Fear of spiders.

Social phobia

It is the fear of being subjected to the judgment of others. It is sometimes known as social anxiety.


The term refers to the fear of situations where it may be difficult to move, such as standing on an elevator or inside a moving train. Many people mistake this phobia for fear of going out. Phobias are deeply personal problems. There can be thousands of phobias. What may seem unusual to one person may be a serious problem that dominates another's day-to-day life.

Early signs

We can take the following symptoms as a symptom for mental health disorder as no physical examination is possible:

  • Detachment from friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Experiencing delusion.
  • Ignoring activities that they would normally enjoy.
  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Frequently using substances for mood-swing, like alcohol, nicotine, drugs.
  • Being confused.
  • Following negative emotions.
  • Trying to self-harm.
  • Thinking of harming others physically.


People living with chronic mental illness may choose different options at different stages of their lives. The person should be treated by a doctor who can identify his needs and give appropriate treatment.


Some psychological methods are adopted for the treatment of mental illness. Examples: cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy. Such treatments are offered by psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and some mental health professionals. It helps people understand the reason for their mental disorders. It helps to start working with healthy thoughts.


Dealing with mental health problems usually requires a person to change his lifestyle for the sake of well-being. These changes include reducing alcohol intake, getting proper sound sleep, focusing on physical health, and eating a balanced, nutritious diet. People have to take time off from work. Personal relationship problems may have to be solved; otherwise, that can harm mental health. Deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness can help these types of conditions. Having a support network through a health care provider or close friends and family can also be essential for recovery from mental health issues.


Some people take antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anxiolytic drugs on the advice of a doctor. But these drugs cannot cure mental illness. However, with this medicine, some symptoms can be improved, such as following a normal routine or increasing social interaction. But taking these psychiatric drugs too long-term can lead to Tardive dyskinesia. There are some evidence-based health service providers, such as DSM-5, MedlinePlus; who provide mental health services based on evidence.

Context and Application

This topic is significant in professional exams like

  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Science
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Master of Science in Medical Science
  • Master of Science in Psychology

Practice Problems

Q.1 In what year did Maslow propose "A Theory of human motivator"?

  1. 1950
  2. 1943
  3. 1953
  4. 1940

Answer- b

Explanation-Abraham Maslow proposed his research paper with the name "A Theory of Human Motivation" in 1943 in the journal Psychological Review. So the correct answer is 1943.

Q.2 Which of the following belongs to esteem needs according to Maslow's hierarchy pyramid?

  1. Friendship
  2. Creative activities
  3. Prestige
  4. Security


Explanation- According to Maslow's hierarchy pyramid, friendship belongs to social need, creative activities belong to self-actualization, prestige belongs to esteem need, security belongs to the safety need. The correct answer is prestige.

Q.3 What kind of need is health insurance?

  1. Psychological need
  2. Safety need
  3. Esteem need
  4. Self-actualization


Explanation- According to Maslow's hierarchy pyramid, basic financial and health security deals with safety needs. So health insurance belongs to safety needs. The correct answer is safety needs.

Q.4 Which of the following age people is more likely to have schizophrenia?

  1. 11year
  2. 20 year
  3. 49 year
  4. 15 year


Explanation- According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the symptoms of schizophrenia are more common in people aged 16-30. So, 20-year-old people are more likely to have schizophrenia. The correct answer would be 20 years.

Q.5 Which of the following diseases can be caused by taking a psychiatric drug?

  1. PTSD
  2. Agoraphobia
  3. Tardive dyskinesia
  4. Bipolar disorder

Answer- c

Explanation- All of the above diseases except tardive dyskinesia are the result of mental disorders. Tardive dyskinesia is the result of taking psychiatric drugs for a long time. So the correct answer is Tardive dyskinesia

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide Prevention

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