THE Ws OF MENTAL HEALTH
What makes you, YOU?
Have you ever struggled while trying to introduce yourself to a stranger? We debate and deliberate on which parts of our life should be included in our description. Such is the complexity of being human! We are an amalgamation of several different spheres of our life. And removing any sphere seems like an injustice and oversimplification of who we are.
We are a product of both our genetics (biological make-up) and the environment (family, friends, peers, education, socio-economic status, culture etc). Thereby, to understand an individual we must adopt a holistic viewpoint that includes all aspects of them. Although, the genetic component is untamable; fortunately our environment can be shaped to better fit our health and purpose in life.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?
When talking about mental health, the usual thought that is provoked is that of mental illness and disorders. That one needs mental health help, therapy, or medication is only seen in the context of suffering from mental illness, i.e., a diagnosed issue which is very apparently making the individual dysfunctional. While that does comprise an important aspect of it, our mental health is way more holistic in nature. It affects every little aspect of our lives.
In the simplest words, our mental health refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. While most of us believe that our physical health plays the most major part in keeping us capable of doing everything and facing hardships, in the absence of a healthy mental state, one’s physical capabilities would be rendered useless in helping them finish even the most regular tasks.
WHY IS UNDERSTANDING OUR MENTAL HEALTH IMPORTANT?
Our mental health is not only decisive of whether or not we develop a disorder. It dictates our entire existence. Every aspect of our daily lives - how we feel, think, and act at every point, how we handle stress, make life decisions, foster relationships, and even the way we lead our everyday life - is deeply affected by our mental health.
Since childhood, efforts are made to foster our physical health - making sure we eat the right vegetables, get enough exercise, take our vaccines, all of it in an attempt to garner good physical health and prevent any possible illness. After all, ‘health is wealth’! But physical health does not determine the entirety of our health. We often neglect our mental health and in doing so, miss out on half the wealth we could have had!
WHEN TO SEEK HELP?
While for a healthy, fulfilling living, regular check-ins with a therapist (just like a physical check-up) are advised, at certain points in time, seeking help becomes a necessity. Life is not without its challenges, some however can be too overbearing to just ‘move on’. While friends and family can offer advice on many such problems, their responses come from their own biases stemming from their feelings towards you. The advice does not equate to professional help and that is something people realise with their own experience of the same. There are many life events where people can benefit from seeking professional help.
The most common instances and problems where seeking help becomes important include:
Notice how disorders are only one of the many things listed here. That goes on to explain further how mental illness is not the only thing people need to seek professional help for. And remember, early help makes a big difference!
WHO TO SEEK HELP FROM?
Who you seek help from largely depends on the problems you are facing.