Mental illnesses have long been a major cause of death and disability. From 30 to 60 percent of all patients visiting, doctors do it mainly for complaints due to emotional disorders. Many productive people permanently maintain a chronic neurotic adjustment to life. And most people have emotional disorders often unrecognized minor, but medical importance.
Despite all this, the average person has a curious attitude towards mental health. It recognizes the importance of physical health, realizes that everyone is standing and is well physically, and may even take a few basic precautions against the disease. If not exactly smart about physical health, it is at least interesting and asks the advice of doctors, quacks, or advertisements.
But regarding his mental health, his attitude until recently been strangely indifferent. If anything he sees it as something quite foreign to him, as he could pay attention turning to the antics of a foreign bandit. He considers his friends and associates as in perfect mental health; when his attention is forced on it by the “sudden” onset of mental illness in a person he knows, he is surprised and shocked.
If the person is a member of his own family, he attributes the disease to overwork, to worry about the financial, physical illness, or another socially acceptable factor. If the person is just an acquaintance, he is likely to consider heredity, alcohol, and syphilis as probable causes.
He rarely tries to think intelligently why these things happen or try to inform reading or consulting with experts in the field. This attitude seems especially odd when you consider the horror that is generally considered a mental illness.
Specific instructions to prevent mental illness can be given, but a general understanding of the issues and processes involved often helps tremendously in treating minor emotional distress, whose negligence is an important factor in the development of more serious conditions. Then, in addition to the problem of avoiding the real madness, knowledge of the mechanisms leading to mental disorders is the best guarantee against the inefficiency, failure, and misery in life.