The Route Towards Healthy Mental Living
Photo by Keith Ayuman
The entire month of May is devoted to mental health awareness. That’s amazing, given that not too long ago, terms like “mental illness” and even “mental health” were taboo. Having a month dedicated to mental health means that the topic is becoming acceptable to discuss in more than a hushed whisper behind closed doors. But what exactly are we supposed to be aware of during Mental Health Awareness Month?
Just like physical health, our mental health can waver and needs to be looked after. Mental health is the way our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect our lives. It is essential, even equal to physical and bodily fitness for a person’s overall health. Our mental well-being is dynamic. It can change in moments. A healthy` mind grants confidence, the ability to engage with the world and productivity, and lets us cope with the daily stresses of life.
Most people have been impacted by mental health in some way, whether personally, through a family member, or through a friend. It is important to be able to recognize warning signs, know where to find resources if in need of help and raise awareness to end the stigma around mental health issues. Mental Health Awareness Month is about knowing how to improve or maintain our psychological well-being. It means having a fresh perspective on each other and what makes us mentally healthy. It is about celebrating the fact that, even with mental health challenges, people can learn how to thrive and live fully.
This year focuses on theme on stress as it entitled as “‘Stress: Are We Coping?” It aims to raise awareness of stress, how it can affect our mental health and well-being, what you can do to look after yourself or where to go if you do need extra support. It also informs people about stress and provides them with the tools and resources to manage it. While stress isn’t a mental health problem in itself, in excess it often enables and exacerbates depression, anxiety, self-harm and even suicide. It can also lead to physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease and joint and muscle problems.
Everyone experiences stress at some point in their life, but constant or extreme stress is bad for both the mind and body. Stress can be caused by a sudden traumatic event or even just the expectations of daily life. Sometimes we have short-term stress, the kind that hits us when we get lost while driving or miss the bus. Even everyday events, such as planning a meal or making time for errands, can be stressful. This kind of stress can make us feel worried or anxious.
Other times, we face long-term stress, such as discrimination, a life-threatening illness, or separated parents. These stressful events also affect health on many levels. Long-term stress is real and can increase the risk of some health problems, like depression. Both short and long-term stress can have effects on your body. Stress triggers changes in our bodies and makes us more likely to get sick. It can worsen problems we already have.
Stress can lead to periods of constant worry, racing thoughts and changes in behavior. It makes one lose their temper more easily, act irrationally or become verbally or physically aggressive. These feelings can feed on each other and produce physical symptoms. If left unchecked, stress can be deadly—in fact, stress is often referred to as the “silent killer” because although its effects are not immediately apparent, it can lead to a number of serious health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
When dealing with mental health or emotional problems, it’s important not to go at it alone. Healing is a combination of helping oneself and letting others help them. Comfort and support, information and advice, and professional treatment are all forms of help.
It is important to have a support system in place, made of people who show concern, offer comfort and encouragement and can help arrange for treatment. In other words, find the people who truly care, like parents or friends.The consequences of not getting help for mental health problems can be serious. Untreated problems often continue and become worse, and new problems may occur. For example, someone with panic attacks might begin drinking too much alcohol with the mistaken hope that it will help relieve his or her emotional pain.
Sometimes being able to get the help, support, and professional treatment needed is a matter of changing perspectives about mental health and how we react to to mental health problems. Mental health awareness and the proper intervention of mental illness should not only be celebrated for a day or two or even a month. We must be informed about it at all times because it can easily happen to someone close to us. Community awareness for mental health reduces stigma. Mental health awareness increases the chances for early intervention, which can result in a fast recovery. Awareness reduces negative adjectives that have been set to describe our people with a mental illness.
Life will always have its challenges, and no-one wants to go back to living in caves. But unless we step back and find alternative approaches to a life of repeated stressful events, we cannot expect the tide of poor mental health to turn.
Always remember that mental health is as important as physical health. In fact, the two are closely linked. Mental health problems are real, and they deserve to be treated. It is not a person’s fault if he or she has a mental health problem. No one is to blame. These problems are not a sign of weakness. They are not something one can “just snap out of”.
Anyone may experience mental illness at any point of their lives. It is okay to ask for professional help. Reach out. Get help. Everyone deserves to get better. People improve and recover with the help of treatment, and they are able to enjoy happier and healthier lives. There is always hope.