29 Apr Mental Health Awareness – The Importance of Mental Health in Our Lives
Mental health is a sensitive topic for people, but it is one that society needs to talk about. With so much talk about mental health and mental health disorders, more and more famous and successful people are joining the conversation about how mental illness has affected their lives. Recently, celebrities like Jim Carrey, Chris Evans, Chrissy Teigen, and Prince Harry have spoken publicly about their struggles with mental illness.
Celebrities influence their fans, so when they speak about a cause they care about, people tend to listen. By discussing mental health, people can help raise awareness of the issue. Here are a few celebrities who are known mental health awareness advocates.
However, do celebrities speaking about mental health issues mean that everyone is educated about mental health? Moreover, do people know the importance of mental health and how to take care of themselves?
What is mental health?
Mental health is the way we think, feel, and behave. It is the relationship between our emotions, social well-being, and ourselves. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Causes of mental health
The exact cause of most mental illnesses is unknown, but it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by biological, psychological, and environmental factors.
Sometimes, there is a complicated combination of factors, although different people may be more deeply affected by certain things.
Research shows that many mental illnesses are linked to abnormalities in many genes rather than just one or a few. How these genes interact with the environment is unique for every person (even identical twins). Mental illnesses sometimes run in families, suggesting that people who have a family member with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to develop one themselves.
Some more causes are:
- Defects in or injury to specific brain areas have also been linked to some mental illnesses.
- Severe psychological trauma suffered as a child, such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- An important early loss, such as the loss of a parent
Specific stressors can trigger an illness in a person who is susceptible to mental illness. These stressors include:
- Death or divorce
- A dysfunctional family life
- Feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness
- Changing jobs or schools
- Substance abuse by the person or the person’s parents
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed our daily lives: the uncertainty, the fear of getting sick, financial pressures, and social isolation. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues, we must look after our mental and physical health.
Surveys show that young adults (ages 18-24) reported anxiety or depressive disorder (56%). Compared to all adults, young adults are more likely to report substance use (25% vs. 13%) and suicidal thoughts (26% vs. 11%).
A KFF Health Tracking Poll from July 2020 also found that many adults are reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus. (https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/)
Can your mental health change over time?
Yes, a person’s mental health can change over time, depending on many factors. When the demands placed on a person exceed their resources and coping abilities, their mental health could be impacted. For example, working long hours, caring for a relative, or experiencing economic hardship may experience poor mental health.
Mental health SOS (emergency kit) + tips
Below are some tips on how to improve your mental health at home when you’re feeling down.
Please note that it’s better to seek a professional when things worsen.
- Take a deep breath, and look into pranayama and breathing techniques.
- Listen to music
- Talk to someone
- Watch a movie
- Remember beautiful moments
- Remember that life isn’t just about positivity; there are lessons you learn.
- Take time for yourself and do what you love!
Taking care of your mental health means you are taking care of your mental well-being, spiritual well-being, self-discipline, healthy relationships, and mindfulness. You’ll feel like you are improving your communication and managing stress better.
Also, when you become educated on mental health, you’ll become more aware of your emotions; in other words, you become emotionally intelligent.
Your mental health state can profoundly impact all areas of your life. If you find it difficult to address mental health concerns on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help!