ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Concise Primer to Mental Health and Pursuit of Happiness

Updated on July 29, 2013

Pursuit of Happiness & Overcoming Mental Distress

The U. S. Constitution doesn't guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.

Benjamin Franklin

Good mental health is the most important element of pursuit of happiness in life. Most of us know how easy it is to experience mental distress that can initiate from variety of causes, many of which the individual distressed had no control.

For example, being diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, a personal relationship that went the wrong way, and not least, losing one's source of income, a job or a business.

It's easy to experience loss of mental health due to these "environment" caused reasons. There is also the possibility of distress due to genetic reasons, that one is lead to the thoughts of suicide, particularly prevalent today in our society among young people, teens/early 20s and also elderly.

The person experiencing loss of mental health may be a family member, a child perhaps or a parent. It could be a friend or someone who is important person in your social support structure in the community.

type=text
type=text

The Key Elements of the Primer

The Road to Climbing Back to the Top of the Mountain

This primer is partly based on my own personal experience in mental health, personal, family and community. In my first career, I worked in the financial service industry for many years, and had the personal experience with some clients with whom I had long time relationships, professional and also personal, of indivdiual or family mental health distress, when a spouse or a child died of cancer or when a totally unexpected suicide occurred. Life changes forever then.

Mental distress must be dealt with appropriate combination process and tools. Both by the person experiencing it, and hopefully through a social network of family, friends and community support, when such are in place and made available.

I like to start this primer with two examples based on my own experience dealing with "mental health" issues which is the most difficult and costly to society, and family, i.e., Suicide. For other topics that are less serious, such as diet, change of environment, health supplement, and building support network, knowledge can help solve, I will add later going forward with this important topic that is likely to affect most people in some part of their life, during a life time.

01. Self Help & Mutual Help :

Self Help requires an assessment of where to go for help first. This is a difficult task that may require assistance from someone else to get the process started. I will give an extreme example of a failure in a tragic suicide I have known in my community service activity of many years in the past.

An example of a failure leading to suicide of Anna:

I will call her Anna. A bright Ph.D student at a nearby university here at Metro Washington DC community. Anna came to our "Tech Entrepreneurs" breakfast event we held then each month at a local Buffet Restaurant.

I was the volunteer President of the "Tech Entrepreneurs Group" and started this as a community service self-help and mutual help network for those who aspired to tech entrepreneurship and innovation. Anna's mom was a leading business woman and President of her own company. Anna had finished her course work for a Ph.D. degree in the life sciences. She was hoping to do her thesis on a topic relating to her interest via some sort of a technology development linking her expertise, and link up with an entrepreneur in our group. I was eager to help Anna make a suitable connection as I saw her as a bright, technically talented and innovative person.

A few months later, I went to Anna's funeral at the Russian Orthodox Church located at Washington DC.

Anna had shot herself with a gun. She had told me about her distress due to a loss of love. She had also told me that that issue cannot be fixed. I didn't probe too deeply as I normally did not know Anna that well and she was not really a friend but more of an acquaintance. Later I found out from her mother after the funeral, at a business meeting I attended, that Anna was undergoing psychiatric counseling. I

have asked the question many times since, could Anna have been saved?

I don't know the answer to this question even today. But Anna was a great loss to our community and to the nation due to a malady that is increasing among young people, high school and college students today. Not decreasing.

Happy & Sad Faces--Mental Health Challanges

Click thumbnail to view full-size

An Example of a Success in Suicide Prevention, Case of Aisha:

Aisha was experiencing mental distress and thought of Suicide. She has experienced "bullying in school" and she was having problem with some subjects in her high school. Aisha is a creative child and very much influenced by her emotions in life.

She began to experience serious suicide thoughts almost every day and it got worse after a few weeks, not better with all her parents try to do with self-help in an affordable way. Her father was experiencing distress also due to loss of job.

Her mother did her best to help her but Aisha often got terribly angry with her mother. Mother called the doctor (fortunately at this point the family still had health insurance and a family physician who had prescribed medication earlier). Physician suggested taking Aisha to a Psychiatric Hospital. That's what they did. Aisha stayed at the hospital for several days. But this was the right answer. Parents were vigilant and supportive.

Aisha missed school for several weeks, but was able to return to school after several weeks. With supportive understanding of her teachers in school, Aisha was gradually adjusted back to her school work. With expert help and psychiatric counseling, identified by the parents with some assistance from community and health insurance, Aisha received personalized psychiatric counseling, and was gradually able to reduce and eventually lose her Suicidal thoughts. Aisha is a bright child, creative and emotionally driven. She is now aspiring to go on to college. She is still taking some medicine as prescribed as she still needs it, but other treatment elements are no longer needed.

Aisha is a 'success story" in preventing suicide. Having the community support medical and psychiatric support structure in the community and supportive parents who were available, patient and attentive made the difference in this success. It was not easy. Aisha is an only child.

I have found a qualified non-profit who has been working on suicide prevention for many years. I give the url below. There is other support structure in the community. For those with senior parents, and children who may need such support, it's good to be aware of those community resources available at the community where the people who may need such help reside.

01. National Suicide Prevention Life Line:

02. American Foundation For Suicide Prevention

This primer is partly based on my own personal experience in mental health, personal, family and community. In my first career, I worked in the financial service industry for many years, and had the personal experience of mental health distress among some of long time clients, when a spouse or a child died of cancer or due totally unexpected suicide. Life changes forever then. I have also done research on this topic as a follow up to my experience with this topic.

I find that many people who are highly creative, ie , music people , artists , writers, also have higher tendency to this malady.

Just look at the records. How many creative talented musicians in America, for example, have committed suiside or died due to substance abuse ? Quite a few as I have found, How many could have prevented somehow ?

I don't know the answer yet but hopefully together we can discussion and work toward strengthening mental health on an individual, family and community basis.

Mental distress must be dealt with appropriate combination process and tools. Both by the person experiencing it, and hopefully through a social network of family, friends and community support, when such are in place and made available.

A Short Memory Book of Creative People Lost By Suicide

Click thumbnail to view full-size
An American actor, director, and screenwriter .In addition to acting, Brandis also directed several independent films and authored screenplays. During his stint on seaQuest DSV, he co-wrote an episode of the series entitled "The Siamese Dream".     Chang wrote three books documenting the experiences of Asians and Chinese Americans in history..       She is best known for her best-selling 1997 account of the Nanking Massacre, The Rape of Nanking. She committed suicide on November 9, 2004. Chang
An American actor, director, and screenwriter .In addition to acting, Brandis also directed several independent films and authored screenplays. During his stint on seaQuest DSV, he co-wrote an episode of the series entitled "The Siamese Dream".
An American actor, director, and screenwriter .In addition to acting, Brandis also directed several independent films and authored screenplays. During his stint on seaQuest DSV, he co-wrote an episode of the series entitled "The Siamese Dream".
Chang wrote three books documenting the experiences of Asians and Chinese Americans in history..       She is best known for her best-selling 1997 account of the Nanking Massacre, The Rape of Nanking. She committed suicide on November 9, 2004. Chang
Chang wrote three books documenting the experiences of Asians and Chinese Americans in history.. She is best known for her best-selling 1997 account of the Nanking Massacre, The Rape of Nanking. She committed suicide on November 9, 2004. Chang

YouTube--Regional Music at County Fairs & Town Fest - Café Twin Conversation #5 Fairfax Va C2C

Music is value added for Mental Health in Everyday Life

My New Group at LinkedIn.Com. - Welcome !

type=text
type=text

Comments most welcome to appreciate, share and learn more as we go

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • TapIn2U profile image

      TapIn2U 4 years ago

      What a sad story and loss. Such a hard question to answer if Anna could have been saved or not. Thanks for sharing it. Fantastic lens! Sundae ;-)

    • Seeds Of Future profile image

      Seeds Of Future 4 years ago

      Very informative! I have learned a lot!

      I am also writing lens to improve human health, not only physical body, but also mentally.

      Hope you can come and give me some advices and comments!

      https://hubpages.com/health/happiness-attraction

    • NYtoSCimjustme profile image

      NYtoSCimjustme 5 years ago

      I went through a dark period in my own life - fortunately I was able to work through it and regain my sense of value and purpose. Thank You for sharing great insight in the challenges and possible solutions to those who may need outside help to deal with their mental health issues.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      I have been dealing with mental health issue in both my family and my marriage. It is a complex issue that I appreciate you putting some light on.