The Crucial Role of Mental Health in Our Lives


“An enlightened mind is like heaven; a mind in darkness is like hell.” – a Chinese proverb.

The mind is the man. Man is a combination of body, mind, and soul. In the absence or even a minor imbalance of one of these three attributes, man is described as incapable, disable, and unhealthy.  Mind, being in the centre, directly affects the body and the soul.  A healthy mind is important for overall health.  It is said, “A man is well or woe as he thinks himself so.”

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood to adolescence through adulthood.

A number of factors can contribute to the risk for mental illness. Such as adverse childhood experiences like trauma or a history of abuse (child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.). Experiences related to other ongoing chronic medical conditions, such as traumatic brain injury, cancer, or diabetes. Biological factors include chemical imbalances in the brain, use of alcohol or drugs and having feelings of loneliness or isolation.

An estimated 1.2 million children and youth in Canada are affected by mental illness.  Unfortunately, less than 20 per cent are receiving appropriate treatment.  According to an estimate, by age 25, approximately 20 % of Canadians will have developed a mental illness.  The situation in British Columbia also is quite alarming. About 17% of British Columbians – somewhere around 800,000 people are experiencing a mental illness or substance use issue today.  An estimated 84,000 children and youth in BC have a diagnosed mental disorder.  Less than one-third of those children who need help are receiving mental health services.

In such a circumstance, what can we do? According to government guidelines the following needs to be done.

Parents: You know your child best. Talk to your child’s healthcare professional if you have concerns about the way your child behaves at home, in school, or with friends.

Youth: It is just as important to take care of your mental health as it is to take care of your physical health. If you are angry, worried, or sad, don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings and reach out to a trusted friend or adult.

Healthcare professionals: Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment based on updated guidelines are particularly important. There are resources available to help diagnose and treat children’s mental disorders.

Teachers/school administrators: Early identification is important so that children can get the help they need. Work with families and healthcare professionals if you have concerns about the mental health of a child in your school.

Prevention is better than cure.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  It is the primary duty of parents and the society around.   Parents should not leave their teenage children at their own in loneliness and isolation. Earning dollars are less important than to make the lives of your children mentally healthy.  Child abuse by family friends and relatives is a matter of shame.  Anger, worry and cut-throat competition also are some causes of mental illness. Too much expectation by parents from their wards is not fair.  This is quite apparent in South-Asian families. Parents and youth should not think too much about the future but should concentrate at what lies clearly at hand.  Some children are victims of social taboos.  Under peer pressure they feel strangulated.  In this matter, company or friendship plays a significant role. A man is known by the company he keeps. Better be alone than in a bad company. About the criminal and drugs gangs company, it is better to be beaten than be in bad company.

Self-help books, spiritual teachings and physical exercises play a key role in negating the mental health issues.  One can take help from volunteer organisations like KidsPlay Foundation in metro Vancouver which is actively engaged in preventing and curbing mental health problems in young generation, especially students.   A self-help book “Truths of Life – Life Enlightened” by Zile Singh which is available on can be useful to everyone irrespective of his/her age to stay happy, healthy and be successful in life.