Toward a New Understanding of Mental Health

I have always been very interested in mental illnesses and the cause of them. Given that mental illness is starting to be a more popular topic of discussion, I thought it would be a good idea to learn more about it. The Ted Talk that I chose to watch discussed the knowledge we have about different diseases is the reason why fewer and fewer people are dying from the diseases. For instance, from the research and studies done on heart attacks fewer people are dying from them. The speaker from this Ted Talk is saying if we can have as much knowledge about mental illness as we do with other diseases, we can save more lives. Ninety percent of suicides are due to a form of mental illness. One in five people suffer from a mental disorder. The brains of people that suffer from mental illnesses differ from people who do not have a mental illness. The behavior of someone with mental illness is the last thing to change. The speaker was talking about early detection of the mental illness to prevent the behavior or self-harm that may be a result from the illness, such as suicide. If one waits until the person with a mental illness starts to show behavior of that mental illness it might be too late.

The thing that I found most interesting is that the brain is so complex. He says it is the most complex organ in our body. Humans are so intelligent because of our complex brains, but are we intelligent enough to fully understand the complexity of our brain? That question is literally mind boggling to me. I found the presenter trustworthy, he didn’t really have any new findings. It was more of a public service announcement about mental illnesses and scientist will have more information about it in the near future. People’s lack of knowledge of the brain causes difficulty to detect a mental illness prior to someone showing behavior of that mental illness. At this point, we can’t detect mental illness without someone having the behavioral signs of mental illness. If I were to do research on mental illness, I would have to know where mental illnesses come from. The reason why there isn’t a lot of information on mental illnesses and the cause of it is because it’s a hard topic to study. I would get people who suffer from mental illness and ask them different questions that would stimulate different parts of the brain. I would compare their MRI scans to MRI scans of a group without mental illness to see what the causation of the mental illness is. How does the brain with mental illness differ from the brain that doesn’t have mental illness?Having more knowledge about the brain and mental illness can help us detect if someone has mental illness before they start showing behavioral signs. If we can detect the problem sooner, we could save more lives from suicide.


One thought on “Toward a New Understanding of Mental Health

  1. I agree with you that Insel seemed like a very trustworthy speaker, but you didn’t give much reason why you believe this. Do you feel this because of his presentation of facts or because he didn’t present any new findings? Personally, I felt he was trustworthy because of all of the information and statistics he gave that then related to his views smoothly, although he did not cite his sources much. As for your research idea, I am incredibly interested in your ideas and I admire the determination you seem to exhibit for it. What you propose is a field that needs more research always, but I’d be interested to see your take on the theories about whether mental illness causes the brain to form the way it does or if the brain’s formation causes mental illness. Also, would this study be able to determine environmental factors? It’s a great base for study that would be richer with more factors added to it.


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