What exactly is a "quality" of life? Well, according to Wikipedia, quality of life is the degree of well-being felt by an individual or group of people. Unlike standard of living, quality of life is not a tangible thing, and so cannot be measured directly. It consists of two components: physical and psychological. The physical aspect includes things such as health, diet, and protection against pain and disease. The psychological aspect includes stress, worry, pleasure and other positive or negative emotional states. It is virtually impossible to predict the quality of life of a specific individual, since the combination of attributes that leads one individual to be content is rarely the same for another individual. However, one can assume with some confidence that the higher average level of diet, shelter, safety, as well as freedoms and rights a general population has, the better overall quality of life it experiences.

In order to attain even a minimum level quality of life, an individual must acquire basic needs in order to survive. Basic needs include food, shelter and protection from serious disease. An individual's quality of life will increase depending on the degree to which that individual acquires his or her wants. These wants are unique to each individual and can include physical possessions such as cars, books, snack food and souvenirs, as well as psychological wants such as peace and quiet or group interaction. Understanding quality of life is today particularly important in health care, where monetary measures do not readily apply. Decisions on what research or treatments to invest the most in are closely related to their effect on a patient's quality of life.

I believe that giving the option, a mentally ill person will choose good health, healthy diet, decent home, and opportunities to advance his or her self economically for blessings that will bring him or her peace and happiness. It does not have to necessarily be material because being well and enjoying normal activites without the mind and spirit hurting, makes a person peaceful and happy. Being in constant conflict with friends and family because the mind is ill or roaming the streets until shelters open and begging for food does not equate a quality life. Sometimes, the mentally ill go so long without mental healthcare, that they accept their state of being. With the right mental health treatment, between 70 - 90 percent of all individuals having a mental illness, will and can significantly improve their quality of life according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Today, I wish we help a friend or family member with a mental illness set goals to have a quality of life and then help him or her reach those goals by getting mental healthcare.

Author's Bio: 

Agnes B. Levine is the Author of: "Cooling Well Water: A Collection of Work By An African-American Bipolar Woman" ISBN 13 978-0-9754612-0-4 available on Amazon. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her three young-adult children. Agnes is also the Founder and President of Levine-Oliver Publisher which mission is to take advocacy to a higher level through literature. She is also an active member of the Obama Healthcare Reform Advocacy Team, a free-lance writer, and part-time educator. Agnes completed the Masters in Public Administration at the University of Baltimore in 2001 and certified advocacy training at the Joseph Woods Foundation/U.M.B.C. in 1999. Currently, Agnes is on tour with her new book "Cooling Well Water: A Collection of Work By An African-American Bipolar Woman" ISBN 13 978-0-9754612-0-4 and available for speaking engagements. Contact Agnes at coolingwellwater@aol.com with any questions or for more information about book purchase, consulting, and speaking.