IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is an integral and essential component of health. The WHO constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
Why is Mental Health important?
If we fall while playing and we fracture any part we end up going to a doctor because we can see the injury, but that’s the problem with mental injuries, we don’t see that people are injured and we don’t see their sufferings. It is very important to take mental health as serious as we take of care of our physical health.
Mental illnesses should not be thought of any differently from physical illnesses. In fact, I believe the two are inseparable. Because the whole body is connected and interwoven, the two cannot be separated. The brain is an organ just like everything else in the body and can be hurt like everything else. When the brain is ill, it is not isolated in just the brain, but instead affects the whole body and the overall wellness. Substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide are very common and dangerous in those with mental illnesses. The stigma surrounding mental illness keeps people from getting the help they need to get better and causes them to hide their pain and hence it is very important not to take mental illness lightly and to help our loved ones when they open up about their feelings, and it is equally important that we also share our thoughts and feelings.
What can we do to help?
Although the general perception of mental illness has improved over the past decades, studies show that stigma against mental illness is still powerful, largely due to media stereotypes and lack of education, and that people tend to attach negative stigmas to mental health conditions at a far higher rate than to other diseases and disabilities, such as cancer, diabetes or heart disease.
Stigma affects not only the number seeking treatment, but also the number of resources available for proper treatment. Stigma and misinformation can feel like overwhelming obstacles for someone who is struggling with a mental health condition. Here a few powerful things you can do to help:
- Showing individuals respect and acceptance removes a significant barrier to successfully coping with their illness. Having people see you as an individual and not as your illness can make the biggest difference for someone who is struggling with their mental health.
- Advocating within our circles of influence helps ensure these individuals have the same rights and opportunities as other members of your church, school and community.
- Learning more about mental health allows us to provide helpful support to those affected in our families and communities.