Most mental disorders affect people who have difficulty in coping with life’s challenges..
It has been widely demonstrated that some people can preserve their mental health more effectively by developing special abilities to cope with stress.
Coping abilities appear to relate largely to one’s early life experience, and attempts to provide people with more ability to cope with stress by teaching them specific strategies (like assertiveness training or life skills training) have never been demonstrated as being effective in reducing the incidence of mental disorders in a population.
But, it does appear that people can be taught how to cope with specific problems if they are offered help soon after the problem has developed (the sooner, the better).
For example, counseling and support offered by other people who have faced similar problems (self-help groups), with or without the supervision of professional therapists, can help some people to cope with bereavement, eating disorders, port-traumatic stress disorders, disabling diseases and many other mental disorders.
Self-help groups provide emotional support and help people in building skills which they can use to adapt more successfully to their life challenges.
Also reading self-help books can be useful in many cases.
Self-help can be the first choice in the treatment of mild emotional disturbance, and self-help groups are often offered by mutual aid societies and groups, as well as by many health services.