Mental Hygiene s a science which deals with the process of attaining mental health and preventing mental illness in society. It is a life long process which begins in early childhood and continues till death of an individual.It coversall phrases of life from infancy to old age.
Before we trace the development of the mental hygiene movement, let us differentiate between the two terms:”mental hygiene” and “mental health” which often confuse the readers.Mental hygiene and mental health may be differentiate as means and ends. Mental hygiene is a means of mental health meaning thereby that the main objective of mental hygiene is to attain mental health. In other words mental hygiene is a systematic body of knowledge which aims at attaining mental health.
The specific goals of mental hygiene fall into the following four categories:
1)Realization of Potentialities
The main goal of mental hygiene is to provide opportunity to the individual to develop his potentialities to the maximum.Every individual has some inherent potentialities which remain repressed through want of proper opportunities.Such individuals feel frustrated and consequently become the victims of mental illness.
Happiness is a subjective criterian which is very difficult to define in operational terms. Here it means that the goal of mental hygiene is to develop a positive attitude towards life and work so that the individual may lead an efficient life by utilizing maxinally his potential abilities.
Mental hygiene aims at the harmonious development of the physical,mental and spiritual capabilities of the individual so that he may properly adjust to his social environment and contribute to the welfare of society.
The last goal of mental hygiene is to prepare the individual for the existence in society.Indian society is moving very rapidly towards industrialization which is fraught with many problems of adjustment. Mental hygiene prepares the individual for effective adjustment in home, school, work and society. The scope of mental hygiene includes all behavior problems from infancy to old age.
Functions of Mental Hygiene:
Mental hygiene is a recently developed science whose functions have not yet been clearly defined and delineated in our country. However, the following four functions have been given by mental hygienist in the literature on mental hygiene:
The first function of mental hygiene is to train mental health personnel who can understand people’s psychological problems and can help them to meet their needs.
The second important function of mental hygiene is to prevent mental problems by developing such programmes as may check and reduce mental disorders in the population.
c) Cure of Mental Disorders
The third function is to develop programmes for those who have already become victims of mental illness.Such programmes of counselling/psychotherapy may be developed for the individual or the group as may help in curing the patients.
All people are not mentally ill.A good majority of people possess sound mental health.One function health through education programmes.