In order to understand the importance of mental health, it is first necessary to define both mental health and mental illness.
What is Mental Health?
According to mentalhealth.gov “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 choices. “
What is Mental Illness?
“Mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic) and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.”
Therefore, mental health impacts every aspect of our lives and should be protected through every stage of development for a quality life.
3 Reasons Why is Mental Health is Important To Speak About
It impacts our physical health
When our mental health is poor we are not able to adequately take care of our bodies. We are more prone to stress which can impact our body’s immunity. This makes us more susceptible to illness and makes the recovery process longer. We also choose poorer coping mechanism such as substance abuse to mitigate stress.
To end the shame stigma
Many persons suffering from mental health feel ashamed. As a result, they do not speak out and get the help they need. Mental health requires the same care and attention we give to our physical health. Both our mind and body are linked so why should we neglect one and not the other. By educating and bringing awareness to mental health issues, we make it easier for others suffering to come forward.
It impacts the quality of our life
As a society mental health has been labelled as taboo for too long. This stigma has left millions of persons suffering in silence, neglected by the people who are suppose to support them. Our world is in pain and many of the actions taken by others and the societal problems may be traced back to some form of mental suffering. Things such as suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of productivity, poor concentration, low energy and spotty performance to name a few.
For this month of May which is Mental Health Awareness month, let us do our part to help eliminate this stigma.
Simple Ways to Support Someone With a Mental Illness
- Ask them what they need
- Listen without judgement
- Offer to help them seek professional support or share resources
- Open your mind to understanding not diagnosing and belittling their feelings
- Avoid confrontation. Don’t be pushy. Let them share as much or little as they want to.
- Discuss wellness and how they can manage stress or practice self-care.
- Know your limits and seek help if needed.
Thank you for reading.