Mental health – what do those 2 words bring to mind? Crazy, mad, deranged, unbalanced – to name just a few??
Mental health is none of those things. There are 6 types of health or wellness – physical, emotional, spiritual, social, environmental, & mental/intellectual. Physical is the condition of your body. Emotional is expression of your emotions in a positive way. Spiritual health is about your beliefs. Social health is how you relate to others, be it at home, work or elsewhere. Environmental health is keeping air and water clean, having safe food sources, being in a place you enjoy, and having safe surroundings. Mental/Intellectual health is the ability to recognize reality and cope with life. As you can see all these areas of health and intertwined and rely on each other.
Under each of these comes a variety of areas that can be a problem. For example a broken arm is a physical condition of your body – you must adapt while your arm heals, people can see your injury. Mental/intellectual health isn’t always visible like the cast on your arm. It can present as depression, anxiety, addiction to name just a few. The stigma around mental health needs to be removed. BellLetsTalk Day is a wonderful opportunity to talk and better understand. It is only when we speak of the brain health that we can learn to understand what brain health is.
I have dealt with depression in the past – that horrible feeling of being all alone in the world, everything is dark, everything is slow, you feel like your are enveloped in isolation, nobody around you understands or even knows you are feeling so dark. There were people who recognized where I was and reached out to help me. The Youtube video Black Dog is a visual understanding about depression. There is help available but often taking that first step is frightening. If you suspect someone is dealing with mental health issues, let them know you are here for them. Sometimes it may mean taking medication(s) to help the brain, this is no different than someone with diabetes needing insulin or medication to help keep their blood sugars in check. People can be afraid of taking medications however, often this is a huge help along with medical support.
We can all do our part of listen and hear when talking with our friends and family. When you hear the words anxiety, depression, bi-polar, please don’t run – be there to listen or just sit and be company/support.
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC
The Black Dog: Causes and Cures for Depression – by Professor Glenn D. Wilson