Why Is Mental Health Important?
Why Is Mental Health Important? Mental health is increasingly being recognized as an important issue that we must face together as a society. For centuries, societies have been viewing mental stability issues with suspicion. In the past, poor mental well-being has been associated with poor character, poor judgment, and even witchcraft.
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Today, we no longer view our mental stability through such outdated lenses. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of the UK have recently spearheaded a mental health initiative called Heads Together. It aims to “tackle stigma and change the conversation on mental health.” With such high-profile participation in the conversation around mental health, the tide is finally turning in the 21st century.
What Is Mental Health?
What is it? The World Health Organization provides a fulsome definition: “Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
Indeed, the truest expression of sound mental health lies in the flourishing of healthy, supportive communities. But first, it is about managing our “internal world” well, which encompasses our thoughts, emotions, and how we process events. We achieve sound mental stability when we have a positive view of ourselves and our ability to contribute to our communities.
Mental balance or health is important because stress, anxiety, and depression physically change the brain. For example, scientists have discovered “significant brain alterations” in patients with major depressive disorder. Scientists have also observed altered brain connections in those patients. This means that scientists can literally observe the effects of poor mental health on the brain through brain imaging.
How Do You Get Help?
How can people tell that they are suffering from mental stability issues, and how do they get help? The problem with poor mental health is that it encourages patients to become even more isolated. This can result in a downward spiral. This is just the opposite of what people need.
The first step to recognizing an issue related to it in your life is by being honest with yourself. Remember that mental health is a spectrum. If you feel low, stressed, or burned out, it is best to seek help from a trained psychiatrist. A psychiatrist will listen to your story and evaluate how you are coping with certain events in your life.
If you have been diagnosed with a mental stability issue such as depression, don’t worry: help is available. For example, a form of therapy available is cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). It is a form of therapy in which you are encouraged to change toxic patterns of thought into positive ones. According to the American Psychological Association, CBT “has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.”
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Regardless of who is struggling with these issues in your life, remember to be kind – to yourself and to others. Everyone is on a journey. Sometimes life gets bumpy, but with a little help, anyone can get back on their feet. Sometimes, asking for help may be the bravest thing you can do.
- Murphy H. B. (1979). Depression, witchcraft beliefs and super-ego development in pre-literate societies. Canadian journal of psychiatry. Revue canadienne de psychiatrie, 24(5), 437–449. link
- Heads Together (2021) About. link
- World Health Organization (2018). Mental health: strengthening our response. link