Home Mental Health & Well-Being Long-Term Mental Health Care Approaches Gain Ground in Enhancing Well-Being, Says New Study

Long-Term Mental Health Care Approaches Gain Ground in Enhancing Well-Being, Says New Study

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In recent years, the importance of long-term mental health care approaches has come to the forefront of discussions in both academic and public health spheres. A comprehensive study published in Psychreg Journal of Psychology by Alexander Loziak, Jurag Martonyik, and Ivan Schmidt highlights the significant potential of these approaches in improving mental health outcomes. The authors support techniques that are straightforward, supported by science, and readily usable by individuals on a regular basis.

Mental health disorders have long been a pressing issue globally, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) noting that in 2019, 1 in every 8 people was suffering from mental illness. The Covid pandemic exacerbated this situation, significantly increasing the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. The current mental health care system, despite consuming substantial human and economic resources, struggles to address these growing needs effectively​​.

The economic implications of mental health disorders are profound. By 2030, these disorders are projected to account for more than half of the economic burden attributable to non-communicable diseases. Moreover, economic disadvantage is closely linked to a higher likelihood of mental illness, underscoring the need for effective, accessible mental health care strategies​​.

Traditional methods, such as psychotherapy, are crucial but not sufficient on their own. Accessibility issues, long wait times, and mental exhaustion among healthcare workers are some of the significant challenges faced by the mental health care system. Additionally, the public is not educated to maintain mental health in the same systematic way as physical health, which contributes to the overburdening of the system​​.

Long-term mental health care approaches are defined as a set of mental activities that improve mental health, require minimal professional intervention post-initial training, and are practiced regularly, potentially daily. Examples of such activities include mindfulness, relaxation techniques, gratitude exercises, and compassion practices. These methods are supported by scientific evidence, are essentially cost-free, and offer a sustainable way to enhance mental well-being​​.

The study reviewed various long-term mental health care approaches, highlighting their effectiveness in improving mental health outcomes. Mindfulness involves monitoring the present experience with an attitude of acceptance. It has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve overall mental well-being​​. Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation and breathing exercises have been found effective in reducing anxiety and stress. These techniques are simple, can be practiced at home, and do not require ongoing professional assistance​​. Practices that involve recognising and appreciating positive aspects of life have been linked to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, and increased overall life satisfaction​​. Compassion-focused therapy has been shown to increase self-compassion and decrease self-criticism, depression, and eating disorders. This approach also promotes long-term mental well-being by fostering a compassionate attitude towards oneself and others​​.

Despite the proven benefits, implementing these long-term approaches poses challenges. The study emphasises the need for these methods to be integrated into education and workplace settings. For instance, mindfulness programmes in schools have shown positive effects on both teachers and students, reducing stress and improving classroom behaviour​​.

Furthermore, the authors advocate for national-level policies to support the integration of long-term mental health care approaches into public health strategies. This would involve educating the public about independent mental health care, providing initial training sessions by professionals, and ensuring that these practices become part of mainstream culture​​.

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