Did you know that the word mental health is a word that actually encompasses the psychological, social, emotional and well-being aspects of our mind/lives? This is the portion of our lives that enables us to think, make decisions, affects behavior, reactions to situations, socialize and go through everyday life without stress. When a person is said to have a healthy mental health, such a person can handle issues of life without having to breakdown from stress.
As much as important as mental health is and many campaigns around the world such as those from WHO, UN and PAHO have been consistent in spreading the awareness and encouraging people to speak up about their mental health, mental health issues and conditions still remain of public health concern. About 1/8 of people across the globe live with mental health conditions and three-quarters of them do not get enough treatment due to stigmatization and discrimination surrounding the issue. For example, some places in Africa, it’s not so easy to mention anything related to mental health because people automatically think of madness, insanity or psychological issues and then people tend to want to isolate themselves from you because some how they feel it can be spread from one person to another, causing many to die in silence.
As human beings, we all have a universal right to having a well and stable mental health; it’s not just an experience of a certain kind of people probably due to their class, socio-economic capacities or race. A majority of mental health complications and psychological problems can be reduced or eliminated if the root causes are dealt with from the onset. If a healthy mental health state is universal right, then we all have a social responsibility to ensure we create a right and conducive environment for one another and also responsibility rests on each individual to call out and identify issues that affect their mental state. Issues like abuse, violence, toxic work environments, gender disparities and others that are more fundamental like poverty, social inequalities and displacements are all contributing factors to disturbance in an individual’s mental health.
Celebrating mental health day is not just about creating the awareness but also giving people the freedom to talk about the issues affecting them and also creating an atmosphere of vulnerability where people with these issues can still be treated fairly and gain access to basic commodities without being sidelined. Mental health plays a huge role in our lives right from the day we land on earth and helps us navigate our way all through childhood, so it’s safe to say a disturbed mental health state can have a negative impact on other areas of life.
Here are a few ways to take care of your mental health and others can be done to help others a conducive environment. ￼
- Find someone you trust and open up: Talking is very therapeutic, the answers to your problem may be in the hands of the next person, although it may be difficult to find someone to trust without having your news spread all over. If you’re facing issues, open up as this helps take someone load off your chest.
- Learn gratitude: About a year ago, I decided to keep records of the things I was grateful for, and it helped make up for the days when life wanted to hit hard. Gratitude has a way of helping us see life from a different perspective; seeing the cup half full instead of half empty and in the long run lightens the mood.
- Stay clear from bad energy and toxic environments: There are people who have a subtle way of putting you down and making you feel less of yourself. This is common in friendship circles and work environment, avoid them at all costs. If being around certain people makes you feel dejected or your colleagues seem to make work environment unbearable, you may want to talk to your HR.
- Learn to say NO: You can’t do everything and can’t be everything to everyone, even superheroes need rest. If you have a lot on your hands, it’s appropriate to voice out and say you don’t have space for it in your life at the moment, rather than trying to be nice and be in an unhappy space.
- Take care of your health: Eat well, sleep well, exercise, go for regular exercise; these seem to be boring repetitions sometimes but it’s like storing money in the bank against a time of need. Taking care of your health and body help cushion the effects of stress and life’s challenges when they hit hard.
- Invest in yourself and the things you enjoy: Discovering what you love or what keeps you ticking is one of the greatest joys in life. Doing this helps take away your mind from that difficulty you’re facing and the chaos around. Do you love cooking, drawing, helping others or whatever it maybe, spend time in what makes you happy. Life is too short for you not to enjoy it.
- Learn stress management: Truth be told, life isn’t a bed of roses, we need to live with that reality. If you can’t change a situation, its either you learn ways to deal with it or let it go, stress management is a crucial skill everyone should learn as things won’t always go our way, but we can still lead healthy lives being able to manage some situations.
Valuing your mental health is equal to valuing your whole wellbeing, join in breaking the silence. Mental health issues aren’t witchcraft, or a disability so help yourself in seeking care and help others too. HCI HMO values its clients that’s why psychological consultations are part of some of the packages we offer, and our Telemedicine package also enable you to put a call to a professional to seek help.
A good mental health is your right!
Rebecca Adeleke-Adesanmi, BSc. Nur., MA, Healthcare Mgt.
Health & Wellness Advocate,
HCI Healthcare HMO