Day 5: Do you believe nature (biology/physiology), nurture(environment), a mix, or something else has an impact on mental health?
I believe that everything has an impact on mental health. For example, yesterday I was unable to write effectively because of reading about the Norwegian massacre. I thought that crying as I read about the tragedy was enough of an emotional release but apparently I needed some grumpy time too.
There are of course studies that show genetic predispositions to certain mental illnesses like schizophrenia. For my anxiety, my mother experiences similar issues. For my depression, my Auntie Doff (grandmother’s sister) definitely had depression subsequent to her fiance dying. I am sure if I looked further into my genealogy there would be other examples. In fact, mental illness is no different from physical illness in that aspect. As in many others, no matter how often they are refuted.
Nurture has its place as well. Some mental illnesses are derived in trauma, obviously like PTSD. How we are bought up, or not, is a factor in whether we get a mental illness or in how we manage it. Support can be really important in recovery and maintaining independence. Family life can also determine the decisions we make. I remember a young man who was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. The psychiatrist’s believed that his recent try at methamphetamine (P) had triggered this. He might never have developed full blown schizophrenia otherwise, but of course that can not be fully known.
I believe that societal attitude can impact mental health. It can determine the stereotypes about illnesses that is perpetuated regardless of their veracity. Funding can be in line with the mental illnesses that find favour in society or have front people that are acceptable. For example, in NZ All Black John Kirwan fronts the depression campaign. This can also determine which medications are subsidised and therefore more likely to be within any income restraints. Discrimination against people with certain mental illnesses can impact their ability to obtain work and interact effectively in society. Research grants and topics can be determined by their popularity which can impact on advances in all aspects of mental health.
Therefore, I believe everything impacts mental illness from its inception or trigger to the process of recovery and maintaining independence. The various combinations can mean a greater impact or a greater opportunity to recover independence and the opposites of course. We can do nothing without our brain and everything can impact upon that.