About Mental Health
Your mental health is a critical aspect of your overall wellbeing; it includes your emotional, psychological, and social state. Mental health is completely underrated in many cultures and communities around the world, but people need to know that it’s just as important as your physical well being; for example suffering from depression is just as sever as breaking your arm.
Causes of Mental Health Illness
There are several factors that can contribute to a mental health illness, some of which cannot be controlled:

Sometimes it can a combination of factors – for example a biological factor that is triggered by an environmental or psychological factor.

Types of Mental Health Illnesses
There are many different mental health illnesses. Some of them have similar symptoms, so you may experience the symptoms of more than one or you might not have any particular diagnosis, but still be finding things very difficult. Everyone’s experience is different and can change at different times.

The two most common types of mental health illnesses include:

Depression: disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological and environmental sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may cause changes in brain function, including altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.

Anxiety: characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. Symptoms include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event, inability to set aside a worry and restlessness. Like depression, the possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological and environmental sources of distress

Other less common illnesses include; bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (ADD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), autism, post traumatic disorder (PTD)

Although less common, these illnesses still need to be taken seriously. Sometimes communities may not be aware of the severity of how these illness can affect both the person and their family.

Depression in Women
One of the leading causes of Depression in Subsaharan Africa is newborn and infant death. It is important to know and not to ignore that an infant’s death has a significant impact on the mothers mental wellbeing. The special bond that develops between a mother and infant/unborn baby is very strong, so when the child dies, the mother’s loss is devastating.
In some communities, neonatal & newborn deaths can be so common that women have been persuaded that it’s normal, so end up ‘bottling up’ their emotions. This is not a healthy way of dealing with bereavement as it could lead to many different mental health illnesses.

You and/or your family might be putting too much pressure on yourself to be successful, either academically or professionally. This can sometimes lead to a feeling of anxiety or make you feel depressed as you feel like you haven’t achieved the goals that were set by/for you.

With everyone having access to social media these days, a lot of women feel that there is a social pressure to look like the women they see on instagram, TV or in magazines. This can have a significant impact on girls’and women’s self esteem, making them feel unworthy or insecure. This is an issue that occurs all around the world, USA, Asia, Europe & Africa.

The best way of dealing with these problems is to seek the right kind of support. Your mind is like a bottle, and when you overfill it with problems it can explode. Having access to a support network allows you share these problems with people, almost like pouring the bottle out into glasses, so that it’s less heavy for you.

Whether it’s bereavement, academic pressure or social pressures, Girls Enterprise offers a safe and secure chat service for women and girls who are struggling with the emotional stresses of life. We would like to encourage women to discuss their worries and problems so that they can see that they’re not alone. Alternatively, if you would like to talk privately with one of our operators, we are always available.