If you’re wondering what is Mental Health or why it matters, let’s begin with a few examples…
Imagine you broke your leg and were in excruciating pain. Do you think you can still run at your personal best? Or perhaps if you had a throbbing headache, do you think you could still go to work or school and deliver that presentation to your peers flawlessly? Conversely, imagine you are at the peak of your physical health. Do you reckon going up a few flights of stairs or lifting boxes that weigh 10 kgs would present a significant challenge?
Mental health, just like physical health, works in a similar manner! You would be unable to perform at your best if you have experienced a personal loss or trauma. It would be unreasonable to expect anyone to be able to carry out routine tasks if they are struggling with psychological issues. Conversely, if a person is able to maintain sound mental hygiene, then they will be much more effective in their daily tasks, relationships, work projects, and overall life satisfaction. Moreover, they will also be better prepared to deal with anxiety provoking situations, if such issues were to arise in the future.
What is Mental Health?
One must invest in themselves to ensure that they are protecting their psyché, building resilience, and strategizing practices that would strengthen their psychological immunity.
Maintaining sound mental health hygiene is a process – something that takes time. One must understand what constitutes mental health, factors that affect it, and how they can instigate change to vitalize it. As shown below, there are several different components that one needs to attend to and things may become tricky if any of them is left unchecked.
Why does Mental Health matter?
Mental health is a vital and inseparable component of what makes us happy, satisfied, inspired, productive, cooperative, social, and much more. In short – it makes us human!
Despite this, the burden of psychological issues and conditions has been rapidly increasing. It is now estimated that 1 in 5 people worldwide experience debilitating mental health issues. Moreover, around 20% of the world’s children and adolescents have a psychological condition, with suicide the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. Also, approximately 1 in 5 people in post-conflict settings have a mental health condition. Furthermore, the economic cost of mental health issues are growing exponentially – conditions of depression and anxiety put together cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year. Additionally, the personal, social, and moral costs are far more devastating. Poor psychological health can cause significant impact on personal lives, relationships with family and friends, and deficient school or work performance.
Facts about mental health
- Mental health is about wellness rather than illness.
- Mental health is often misunderstood and misrepresented as a substitute for psychological disorders. It isn’t about “what’s wrong”; rather it is about “what’s going well”.
- You don’t need to be in any sort of strife to seek support. Conversely, if you are experiencing psychological issues, it doesn’t mean you are beyond help.
- You will, at some point in your life, experience mental health issue.
- Seeking professional help is an investment. It will help you gain crucial life skills and manage your issues better.
- You can do a lot more for someone who is experiencing a mental health issue. Sometimes just listening to what they have to say or being there for them means a lot.
If you didn’t know how to use a software or an app on your smartphone, should you feel ashamed to ask an expert about it? Would you spend crucial years of your life, trying to figure it out by yourself, especially when help was readily available? Or what if you developed a serious infection which you felt was getting worse? Would you seek immediate specialist attention? Or would you wait and hope it would somehow disappear. If you think this sounds like a terrible idea, you’re right!
Tips to maintain good mental hygiene
- Maintain a healthy balance of nutritious diet, sound sleep, and sufficient exercise
- Practice mindfulness
- Talk about your psychological issues with people you trust
- Seek professional assistance if and when needed
- Maintain a small but close group of social circle
- Pick a hobby that you enjoy and can maintain periodically
- Avoid drinking and smoking
- Stay away from toxic thoughts, behaviours, and people
- Develop self-acceptance, compassion, and care
- Give back to the community wherever you can
- Take rest or regular breaks
- Create an action plan to manage stress and build resilience
Where to start?
If you are interested in investing in yourself and building long-term resilience, start here!