We ALL have mental health. And we ALL have mental health issues
After Mental Health Awareness Week this month, I wanted to share a few thoughts on Mental Health myself.
Let’s start with Health. Mental health is part of our overall health, as much as our physical health is. And it is key to understand this. There is no health without mental health. When we hear ‘Mental Health’ we tend to think about something difficult, challenging, bad. However, there is ‘health’ in ‘mental health’, and it is a positive word! Indeed, according to the World Health Organisation, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”
Our first step to end the stigma around mental health issues is to consider mental health properly, as what it actually is: “Mental Health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his own community” (World Health Organisation, 2014). Mental Health is positive!
Mental Health issues now are what we need to deal with.
1 in 4. 1 in 4. We’ve heard this statistics over and over again, haven’t we? Indeed, according to the Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey (McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009)), via The NHS Information Centre for health and social care 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. It does not mean that the same 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem next year or the following. What it means, and how I tend to look at it, is that
We all have mental health issues, at some point in our lives.
I like to picture a scale from 1 to 10, and to think that we’re all navigating on this scale, between 1 and 10, on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, ‘decadely’ basis.
Let’s say 1 is the worst you can feel and 10 is the best. Sometimes, you might feel at your best on Saturday, and on Sunday, by the thought of having to go back to work on Monday, the stress rises up, anxiety kicks in, and you cannot fall asleep. It doesn’t mean you have mental health issues, but it does change your situation on the scale because it changes how you feel.
When you stay on the lower part of the scale for too long is when you might be experiencing a mental health condition and might want to seek help. Depression for instance. According to the Mental Health First Aid Kit, a person who is clinically depressed would have at least 2 of the following signs for at least 2 weeks:
An unusually sad mood that does not go away
Loss of enjoyment and interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
Lack of energy and tiredness
We see here that there is a time component as well as a multitude of signs.
How do we make sure we stay at the top part of the scale now? By taking care of ourselves and prioritising it! Have a look at our tips in this article!