Mental Health Matters! What could this possibly mean?
Is this saying that mental health should matter to us?
Is it suggesting that we should look into matters around the issue of mental health?
Whatever this statement means, one thing is clear. Mental Health as an issue, is a serious matter.
So let us look at why this is the case.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined HEALTH as “A State of Complete Physical, Mental and Social well-being and not merely the Absence of Disease and Infirmity.”
They further go on to define Positive Mental Health as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work or study productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community”
When it is written in black & white (so to speak) for us to read, the words sink in. Our Mental Fitness is a requirement for us to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Our Mental Health Matters!
Unlike physical health, where it is mostly obvious when there is an injury or illness, mental health injuries or illnesses are not so easy to spot. In a lot of cases, they are very well hidden and may only become apparent when the individual is seriously ill or injured. This is concerning! Imagine a world where we must become seriously ill or injured before we can get any help or treatment. Well, I do not need to imagine. My husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Renal Cancer in 2016 – the outcome for us was that 10 months later, in 2017, he was dead. I sometimes wonder what the outcome might have been if he had been diagnosed at Stage 1 or even 2. All I can do now is wonder!
After his death, I decided to be strong for my 2 daughters who were teenagers at the time. They were strong too. We never talked about how we felt. Nobody wanted to talk about the elephant in the room and upset the cart, so we kept everything inside and pretended that all was well and normal. Nothing was well or Normal. We had suffered a huge blow!
A few months down the line my daughters started to suffer – one with anxiety & panic attacks and the other with anxiety & depression. They both needed counselling.
As I look back and reflect, I realise that I had not left room for them to be open and honest with me, but I also realise that I was grieving too and had not received any help or support for my grief. My daughters and I put on a fake face so nobody could detect what was really going on. Most people are like us. This had an impact on my family, but I am glad to say that something positive came out of this experience. I was no longer ignorant when it came to the importance of our mental health. I am aware now and I am equipped now!
We all need to be aware and equipped.
We cannot let the loss of life be an outcome of a delayed detection.
Let us pay attention to our mental health and let us keep an eye out for others