What is Mental Health?
Mental Health is an emotional, psychological and social state of well being which impacts how we feel, how we behave and how we think. Each year on the 10th October there is a World Mental Health day. This is to raise awareness of all mental health issues and for everyone to try and get a better understanding and look at how the stigma of Mental Health can be removed.
There are nearly 300 different types of mental health disorders. That is a huge number and it shows us that Mental Health is something which we need to take seriously. Below are some of the most common disorders that we hear about;
- General Anxiety disorder
- Eating disorders such as Anorexia, Bulimic, Binge eating, orthorexia
- Personality disorders such as schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder
- Addictions with drugs, alcohol and gambling
- Trauma such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sexual, physical and emotional abuse
It is highly likely that at some point in our lives we will have experienced some sort of mental health issue. If we look over the last 2 years with the global pandemic of COVID-19, the impact that had on all of us was huge. It removed everything that we took for granted, not seeing our family and friends, not being able to go into work or attend school or colleges, all socialising stopped, no travel allowed. Parents had to home school their children whilst trying to do their job at the same time. Many families got into financial difficulties which created huge pressures. Mental Health rapidly declined with individuals struggling in so many different ways.
It is with the up most importance that we care for our mental health and well being just like we care for our physical state of being. If we are unwell and sick or our bodies are not working properly because something may be broken, then we always go to a GP or medical professional to see if we can get whatever is broken ‘fixed’. We don’t even question it, we seek the help that is needed and do what has to be done.
With our mental health however, we do not seem to have the same urgency in seeking what we need. We can and do, put up with or ignore what is going on in our mind. We do this for many different reasons: no one will understand what I’m thinking, it’s not important, the thoughts will go away, no-one will want to listen to me…
When we think like that and don’t seek help or support it can manifest in so many different ways. It can impact our day to day living, we can have intrusive thoughts, lack of concentration in our workplace, our relationships can suffer and we can start to feel very alone. The impact of that can mean you start to isolate yourself and become withdrawn. We start to neglect ourselves and may hurt or punish by way of self harm, cutting or hitting ourselves, not eating or eating too much. The list can go on and on and we fall into this new way of being just because we ignored ourselves or didn’t ask for help.
The only way is up...
Thankfully, mental health is now becoming a lot more recognised and a lot more understood. There are a lot of charity organisations that you can contact, for free, who will be there to listen and help you work through whatever is happening for you. For children and young adults the government are implementing a scheme whereby there is a counsellor in every school across England. Mental Health support in the workplace is now taken seriously and many employers have great support systems in place.
There are so many things that we can do to improve our own mental health. Talking and sharing is a must, no one is ever alone and there will always be someone who will listen. Exercising is another way of helping. It is a known fact that when we get active, our body produces endorphins which is a chemical in the body which relives stress and pain. Eating well and sleeping well also need to be high up on our list. If we look after the physical part of ourselves then the mind part will follow suit.
On this World Mental Health Day take 5 minutes to check in with yourself to see how you are doing. If we start to do this and make it part of our daily routine, it may just be the best start to our own self care. Make it your mantra to Be Kind to yourself and always remember how important you are.
Samaritans 116 123
Mind 0300 123 3393