Mental Health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to his or her community” (WHO, 2001). Mental Health is made up of three components which include: emotional well-being, psychological well-being, and social well-being (CDC, 2013). Mental Health is an essential part of our lives, and just like we exercise to maintain our physical health, we must practice different strategies to maintain and strengthen our mental health. The problem with sustaining and improving our mental health is that starting when we are young we are socialized to believe that mental illness and emotional health are undervalued forms of illness. Individuals who have mental illness face the stigmas associated with receiving a diagnosis, which impacts their decision to seek out treatments. For some reason as humans, it is easier for us to accept that our bodies can be hurt than it is to think about our brains and our minds falling ill. The reality is though that the brain is an organ just like any other organ in your body and it can become sick. So How do we prevent our brains from becoming sick? What can we do to change the way society views mental illness and emotional health?
One of the answers to the questions that I just posed above, is by educating people on mental health. As a society, we don’t talk about the concepts involved with mental health the way that we do when we discuss the concepts involved with physical health (Winch, 2015). People don’t know how to maintain their emotional health and practice good “emotional hygiene” (Winch, 2015). This is surprising because people tend to experience psychological injuries far more frequently than they experience physical injuries (Winch,2015). What we need to realize as a society, is that our bodies and our minds work together. If we wish to be healthy, we cannot place more value on physical health than we do on mental health or vice versa. In his TED Talk (shown below) Guy Winch talks about why we need to practice emotional first-aid. In the video, he explains four concepts: loneliness, failure, rejection, and rumination, and discusses how each of these concepts are toxic to our lives. In his video Winch poses an important point, factors that are involved in our mental health cannot be ignored. We need to recognize when we are mentally hurt so that we can seek out the proper interventions, increasing the quality of our lives.
The big picture here is that no matter who you are, where you came from, or where you are going, you are human. As a human, if you intend to maintain a healthy lifestyle you need to balance all of the components of your life (physical and mental). There are no favorites because illness is illness no matter what the type. So weather you scrape your knee, or feel extreme depression, you need to recognize that you are hurt and seek out the appropriate resources so that you can heal.
Mental Health Basics. (2013, October 04). Retrieved August 30, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics.htm
World Health Organization. Strengthening Mental Health Promotion. Geneva, World Health Organization (Fact sheet no. 220), 2001.
Winch, G. (2015, February 16). Retrieved August 30, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2hc2FLOdhI