The World Health Organisation (2014 online) depicts mental health clearly as ‘A state of well being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. (WHO, Aug 2014)
Having worked in mental health for most of my adult life the way I see mental health is –
Everyone has a mind (mental health).
Everyone’s mind is shaped through life from birth.
Your beliefs and life has been shaped – good, bad, ugly and we all find ways to cope in some way or other….whether that be ‘normal’ or a bit ‘weird’.
Some people deal with mental challenge (uncertainty, anxiety, low mood) by trying to gain control (eating, exercise, focussing on studying).
Some people don’t deal with mental challenge so well. Is this because these people are ‘mad’, ‘psycho’, ‘hard work’, ‘attention seeking’, ‘scary’, ‘crazy’? No! Everyone has ways of dealing with what life throws at them.
I don’t know if it would be a surprise to tell you that whenever I discuss my work in mental health – that every single person I talk to has a story….
‘My brother has an eating disorder’
‘My cousin has depression’
‘My aunt has bipolar’
‘I think my friend has something wrong with her….’
Honestly – there is not a person I have EVER spoken to that has not been affected by mental illness.
Yet…I am always so shocked at how people are still frightened of mental health and…sometimes have little idea of how to help someone that may be struggling.
Physical and mental health are hugely linked. They are all connected. Yet often general nurses do not know how to support/help someone with mental health problems – and if a nurse doesn’t know…why would the general public?!
My ‘fitness is therapy’ blog highlights how fitness can be part of how people manage their mental health. Even, my ‘fitness to observe progress’, is about having a focus. But this does not take away from the fact that we as a nation do not see mental health as it should be – normal.
We all have a mental life – we all think – we all balance choices – we all have relationships – we all experience difficulty in life. Mental health is normal. Mental illness can happen to anyone – and let me tell you, I have witnessed all walks of life walk through the psychiatric door. Mental illness should be talked about normally.
Please continue to follow my mental health blogs and contact me if you have any questions about concerns you may have.