Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

How do you judge the seriousness of a mental health problem? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Is it the actual problem (the external situation)?
    Or is the the affect that the problem has on a person?

    So one thing that really helped me to get over my mental health issues was to try listening to other people who have it worse than me and trying to help them. I found that doing this helped me to put things into perspective, and it made me realise that my own problems are nothing. In fact, I am very, very fortunate in life. My only "problem" is that I'm a social misfit / outcast and I have no friends at the age of 20. But otherwise, I have my health, my education and a supporting family; I'm actually very happy with the way that life has turned out for me.

    I sometimes feel really selfish and guilty for getting depressed and isolating myself over such superficial problems when there are other people out there who actually do have problems, like not having enough food on the table, having abusive parents, eating disorders, etc.

    I've been judging others this way too but I've started to question myself for it. I'm starting to think that it's wrong to judge the seriousness of a mental health issue by the scale of the problem itself, as it's possible that even the smallest thing like being dumped by a girlfriend can put someone into a state of mind that it worse than one caused by a more serious problem like being poor and uneducated.

    What do you think?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Mental illness doesn't have to be about "problems" multimillionaires with loving families have killed themselves, people with schizophrenia and personality disorders can be born into loving, financially secure families. Naturally people feel down if they have personal problems, that isn't technically a mental health problem on it's own.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    Its difficult to say, but I don't like it when people tell me there people in worse situations and belittle MH problems as if they're not serious, of course I know there's people in worse situation and I do feel fortunate that I don't live in the third world and have to struggle just to survive. But at the same time there are plenty of people in better situations than me all around me and I do wonder whether the people who say things like 'OMG first world problems, man up' actually have any idea what its like to have your life plagued by MH problems, problems that stop you from doing things that others can, like seeing or talking friends, going out to make new ones, having a partner, go travelling, concentrating on your work etc etc, its very difficult not to feel depressed and isolated when MH problems affect you so badly, yet ignorant, prejudiced people will just tell me to man up and that I'm being stupid, its insulting:mad:
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    There's no point trying to judge 'seriousness' against other people, that just makes you feel worse. It's impacting you, so it's serious, end of. I used to do that too and it does just make you feel worse.
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    Although it isn't wrong to put ones own problems into perspective and it can help, indeed. Nevertheless everyone has different priorities or aims in his/her life, thus different events have also a different impact on people, talking about "menial" things, as grades, girlfriends, friends...

    For an introvert being alone at home isn't bad, for an extrovert with social anxiety the same situation can be hell. (Not the best example, but I hope I get my point accross.)

    Belittling your own problems until they become so big, that you definitely have a problem and often it then turns out to be a very big problem, isn't helpful at all. Asking oneself seriously if it is really such a problem doesn't hurt at all and helps you to find out, what is important for you!

    Anyway a mental illness is called mental illness, because it isn't rationally. (Letting things like PTSD apart for a moment, because that will make it too complicated.) Especially in the case of genetically caused mental illnesses (or mental illnesses traced down to e.g. a disbalance of hormones) it becomes obvious they have nothing to do with the experience/upbringing etc. => That is basically why we call it mental illness.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    First and foremost, you have to judge the seriousness of mental health issues by the likelihood of the person causing harm to either themselves or others.

    If there is no risk... them the seriousness of the remaining problem(s) is pure guesswork.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Rybee)
    First and foremost, you have to judge the seriousness of mental health issues by the likelihood of the person causing harm to either themselves or others.

    If there is no risk... them the seriousness of the remaining problem(s) is pure guesswork.
    How is it any harder to judge distress and dysfunction than danger? Surely if anything people are less honest and forthright when it comes to revealing anything that would imply potential danger?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by PsychoHamster)
    How is it any harder to judge distress and dysfunction than danger? Surely if anything people are less honest and forthright when it comes to revealing anything that would imply potential danger?
    I'm not too sure what you're asking so forgive me for that.

    I was just stating the obvious really, that the first question of seriousness should be to ask whether the person admits to, or shows serious likelihood of self harm or harming others.

    If they answer and admit yes, then you have to take the necessary precautions.

    If the answer is no, then you must proceed further to investigate the seriousness of their health, but keeping in mind that self-harm or harm to others may still be a real factor at any given point.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I think that the seriousness of a mental health condition can be assessed by its impact on the sufferer's and their co-sufferers (parents/spouses/children/family members that care for them) lives (in terms of their social and emotional life, their education/work life, their home life and their physical health). In this way a condition that may be perceived as minor (e.g. a phobia) may have as much of an impact on someone as a condition externally considered 'severe' (e.g. psychosis).

    This is where labels can be unhelpful. I have extreme OCD and my level of functioning at the moment is similar to that of someone with a thought/psychotic disorder, however the diagnosis means that it is often perceived as a minor problem or even a quirk.

    You never need to feel like your social anxiety problem isn't important or that it's not "actually a problem"- if it affects your quality of life then it matters and you're not feeling sorry for yourself by addressing the situation and getting help
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I used to have an outlook of "my problems don't matter, they're are plenty of people who have it worse than me" but when it comes down to it if a mental problem is causing issues for you and your ability to function in your everyday life. You are quite justified in saying, you know, I think I'm struggling and need some help. It's so hard to compare people's problems and mental health problems because everyone's experiences are so different.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    These two questions seem to be very simple are they are be the answers are very complex. Mental health are judged by the perspective of the person with the distress and that can depend on a lot of factors and a person ability to let stress wash over them and coping or distraction techniques that are in place. I'm glad that you have found it useful in your recovery to look at other peoples problems find some grounding within the context of your own experiences but I think the challenge is to not let that get tangled within the negative thought patterns and let that change/influence the way you think and feel about yourself.

    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle- Plato."
    Offline

    13
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by darthgirlie)

    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle- Plato."
    Where is the quote from?

    Btw: I think the problem is that the frontier between problems and mental health problems is fluent. From what I know, the general consensus is, as soon it really bothers you/you suffer, you have the right to turn up at the psychologist/counsellor/etc..
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Nathanielle)
    Where is the quote from?

    Btw: I think the problem is that the frontier between problems and mental health problems is fluent. From what I know, the general consensus is, as soon it really bothers you/you suffer, you have the right to turn up at the psychologist/counsellor/etc..
    I don't know where the quote is from, I found it on a quote website- so not all that reliable sorry!

    I'm not really sure about the context about the point you made. My interpretation is sort of service provision that someone has the right to get support if they feel it bothers them. However from a professional's perspective suffering is relative and for practice to be defensive you need to weigh it up against risk to say someone has the right to a service. I hope I've got the right end of the stick!
    • #1
    #1

    It's quite hard to define how serious a mental illness is or compared yourself to others because different people have different interpretation of what mild, moderate or severe symptoms are. For example, my friend right now is getting counselling because she has just started to suffer from anxiety before she goes to parties - mainly with people she doesn't know, or where she's the centre of attention. She often talks about this and refers to her 'anxiety,' which is far enough since I guess she's never experienced anything like it before. However, I've had social anxiety for quite a while so things like getting nervous before parties is expected and completely normal, and I've never considered it proper anxiety or worth talking to someone about. The only time I feel like it's not normal is when I get really nervous or anxious before seeing my best friends.

    It's also quite hard since most doctors would consider it a moderate mental illness if it was affecting your function in everyday life, but I guess this is arbitary. To use myself as an example again, I often miss out on things I want to do e.g. going out, or even struggling in a subject because I can't talk to the teacher. These affect my life but I'm kind of used to them now and don't really consider it significant enough.

    Just in general I would advise not to compare yourself to others because it might stop you getting the help you need if you feel like your problems aren't important enough.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
TSR Support Team

We have a brilliant team of more than 60 Support Team members looking after discussions on The Student Room, helping to make it a fun, safe and useful place to hang out.

Updated: April 19, 2013
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brussels sprouts
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.