When we talk about the term “mental health”, we always refer it to some stressful mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and others. However, mental health is actually about well-being. Mental health has can influence how people think, fell and perform in day-to-day life. With a strong mental health state, individuals will be better at coping with stress, facing challenges, maintaining positive relationships and also recovering from hardships in life.
Therefore, mental health is about wellbeing rather than illness. People find themselves with increased learning, efficiency and productivity. They also do well in prosocial behaviour and positive social relationships. On the other hand, poor mental health has negative influences on day-to-day functioning and relationships, and are associated with poor physical health and premature death from suicide.
Remember, it’s important to understand that mental health is not a simple concept. When an individual does not have mental health condition, it may not necessarily reflect that they have a strong mental health state. Equally, it’s possible where people are diagnosed with a mental health condition while feeling fine in many aspects of life. At the end of the day, mental health is about being healthy emotionally, cognitively and socially. It is not solely about the absence of mental conditions.
However, we often neglect our mental health needs due to a variety of reasons:
- In some situations, mental and emotional needs are not seen as important as physical problems. Signs of mental health conditions are considered as weakness or somehow inability of solving problems.
- Mental health problems sometimes are mistaken as “snap out of”. Especially males are often to bottle up their mental health needs before seeking help.
- We are living in a fast-paced life, where we desire quick solutions for complex problems. People take medications for instant mood boost or ease of depression, instead of focus on the underlying issues.
- Lack of awareness of mental health that makes people think that only help for mental problems are medications or therapy. Both of them can be a long-term treatment and expensive. The truth is that, whatever your issues, there are steps you can take to improve the way you feel and experience greater mental and emotional well-being. And you can start today!
Everyone goes through challenges, loss, disappointments and changes because they are part of our life. Staying mentally healthy dose not mean that you do not need to experience any these downtimes or problems at all. Similar to how physically healthy people can quickly recover from their injuries, a solid mental health helps you bounce back from stress, adversity and trauma. And this ability we call it “resilience”
People with resilience can maintain positive outlooks in life, and better at coping with difficulties. They are more concentrated, productive and happy in good and bad times. Resilient people has less fear in uncertain situations and stay positive even when they can not immediately solve the problems.
You can follow the tips below to build up your resilience:
Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in good and bad times. Establish other meaningful connections by volunteering or joining a faith or spiritual community.
Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.
Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through difficult times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify positive and negative behaviour patterns — and guide your future behaviour.
Remain hopeful. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.
Take care of yourself. Tend to your own needs and feelings. Participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer.
Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event or loss, know that your situation can improve if you work at it.
If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and still aren’t functioning optimally. It may be time to seek professional help. Following these self-help steps will still benefit you, though. In fact, input from a caring professional can often help motivate us to take better care of ourselves. If you feel that you may be affected by depression or anxiety, remember they are treatable conditions, and effective treatments are available. The earlier you seek support, the better.
Talking to your doctor is always a right place to start. Infinity Health Green Square has focus on the needs of people affected by depression, anxiety and suicide, we also believe that a better understanding of what we mean by mental health and how to achieve it will help everyone in Australia reach their full potential. This will also contribute to the prevention of mental health conditions, and support people who have experienced these conditions to get as well as they can and lead full and contributing lives.
Here are some other services and organisations that can also provide you help:
SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) — call 1800 18 7263
Beyond Blue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) — call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) — online help
Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) — call 13 11 14 or chat online
Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) — call 1300 659 467