The world, the population, is more or less mentally healthy. Expected, but definitely not alright. Many variations contribute to this sad reality. Dealing with difficult life events, change, transitions, relationship issues and so on, just to mention a few. We have different ways of referring to it; psychological well-being, positive mindset, happiness or contentment. We are basically describing the state of our mind. Whether healthy or unhealthy, mental health is a subject that we need to talk about everyday. Just like physical health, we have to show intent at working on our mental health. Not only that, but also going beyond just intent.
On physical health, Carolyn Barber says, “We want to feel physically fit, energetic, strong, balanced in our weight, eating a healthy diet, supple, resilient and not prone to minor ailments. Sure we complain about our problems, and talk about how we can’t do all the things we know we ought to do. We know it’s not easy to stay physically healthy without working at it, especially if we’ve experienced health problems. We know that even if we reach the peak of physical fitness, we can’t maintain this for the rest of our lives without paying attention to it”
If physical health is this special, then mental health is more. According to research mental health is more beneficial to the human that physical health. This is a reason for us to be more aspirational. A outstanding, positive mental outlook affects every other aspect of health and facilitates in all ways speedy recovery to life threatening aspects of a human being. Mental, emotional and spiritual maturity has the impetus to turn grave challenges of the body , soul and the spirit into quickened and matured triumph.
The term mental health is NOT ‘totally problem-focused!!!’
Mental health is not an equivalent of mental ill-health. However, the world at the moment is experiencing the highest incidences of mental ill-heath in all of history. At any point in time currently, 1 in 4 people is struggling with mental ill-health, manifesting itself in one of the following;
- Stress related symptoms
The problem we are facing currently is that the problems of mental ill-health are more than the care that is available. Mental health services are only able to provide care for only about 1% (a mere one percent) of the population. So basically the focus shifts much more to much more severe mental health difficulties. Furthermore, the problem is aggravated by the plethora of unregulated private mental health services.
The implications of misunderstanding the term mental health for mental ill-health has made most people in the population to focus on the problems and the pain more than practicing good mental health. This state has turned us into experts in the former rather than the latter. We therefore focus on the cures and treatments, wherever we can get them, to fix the problem.
The Solution to Mental Health
The path to reclaiming true mental health is understanding what it is and quelling the constant fears of what it is not.
According to Medilexicon’s Medical dictionary, this is what mental health is:
“Emotional, behavioral, and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioral disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one’s instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one’s social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits.”
And according to the WHO (World Health Organization) 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 is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
The solution to mental health is a shift of focus. Turn it to what makes for good mental health. Henceforth in our next article on mental health we will focus on the 5C’s that make for good mental health. By focusing on the things that make good for mental health, we will truly connect with all the essentials of good mental health.