How do we define good mental health, and why is there so much emphasis on constantly being your best self mentally when the world and your life are falling apart around you?
The multitude of questions around improving your mental well-being and understanding positive mental health benefits leads to writing this article. What is good mental health? How is coping with depression, anxiety and the endless stream of challenges people feel that invoke fluctuating states in the mental health condition on a day-to-day basis different from mental illness?
More importantly, at what point does your good mental health and a sense of purpose become compromised and turn into mental illness that requires a mental health professional and good relationships with family and friends?
The Stigma And Shame Around Having A Mental Illness
There has always been a level of shame and a stigma surrounding people diagnosed with any form of mental illness by those on the outside passing judgement without having the facts or the empathy and understanding required when someone reaches the point they are deemed mentally ill.
The words alone conjure up the image of psychic leprosy in case poor mental health is contagious, and you might catch it by setting eyes on someone experiencing mental health problems.
Thankfully, we are beginning to reach a point in human evolution whereby we have become enlightened. There is a global push in every medium to reach out to people and assure them that they are not alone in life and that no matter what mental state they are in, there is help readily available and easy to access.
Good Mental Health Versus Mental Illness
The terms mental health and mental illness are frequently interchanged, but they have different clinical meanings. Mental health refers to anyone’s state of mental or emotional well-being. Mental illnesses are diagnosed conditions that can have an adverse and significant effect on the thoughts and behaviour of someone in a negative capacity. Having an awareness of what mental illness is, is no different to having current First Aid certification. The more you know, the better prepared you can be and the faster you can see when something isn’t right and needs treatment.
When we talk about having good mental health, we are talking about our mental well-being, and that includes our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve everyday problems and overcome difficulties, our social connections, and our individual beliefs systems that affirm a positive and relatively happy life as a whole picture.
Having a mental illness affects how people think, feel, and behave. It affects their level of desire to, and the way they choose to interact with others. Not all mental illnesses can be seen by looking at a person. You can’t see the brain or a person’s thoughts the same way you can see a broken leg or a stab wound. However, to someone who has a mental illness, the internal struggle to find and return to the place of good mental health seems impossible.
What Causes Mental Illness
If you fall sick and feel unwell, you don’t automatically assume you have a serious illness. You understand that whatever is causing you to feel ill will resolve in most cases in a few days on its own or with the correct clinical treatment if required.
People can enter a state of poor mental health without having a mental illness. We all have days where we feel melancholy, stressed out, overwhelmed or like the universe is out to mess with your happy vibrations when something negative or out of our control happens in our lives. An important part of good mental health is looking at the problems or concerns realistically and weighing up their impact, and then effect solutions to correct the situation.
Good mental health isn’t about always feeling happy, being positive and confident every moment of every day. Good mental health is about living and coping well despite adversity and any problems that arise.
By the same token, it is possible to have poor mental health but not have a mental illness. It is also possible to have good mental health even with a diagnosis of a mental illness. The key to living a happy, content, good mental health life is understanding that life has up’s and downs and throws curve balls when you least expect them that naturally pull you off your horse and see you lying in the dirt wondering what the heck just happened.
It is okay to flirt with and experience sadness. Short bouts of depression are natural and have a specific design in forcing people to look at their lives and make changes that return them to a happy place. The problems begin when someone can’t find a way out of the darkness and back into the light. That is when a person needs to seek professional assessment. Based on that assessment, a diagnosis and treatment plan can be the key to restoring good mental health and returning to living a happy life.
What Are The Most Common Mental Illnesses
Mental disorders are not caused by a character flaw or personality trait you are born with. They have nothing to do with being lazy, weak-minded, or poor. They are a learned behaviour pattern created by your life experiences, stress, a history of chronic abuse, or abuse in childhood are significant factors in being one cause for developing a mental illness.
Some of the most common mental illnesses are not what most people attribute to having a mental illness. Conditions like anxiety disorders, eating disorders, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and other psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia. However, the most common and widely recognised mental illness is PTSD.
Feeling Isolated From Society
The single most common cause of losing good mental health is lacking a supportive base of friends and family. An active social life is the foundation for having good mental health. Loneliness kills more people than cancer each year and is the leading cause of depression in the 30-50 age group.
The fastest way to return to good mental health is to get out of the house and take a course that forces you to meet new people, make new friends, and learn new skills. With summer advancing, the nights are longer, and it is the perfect time to enrol in a FACE First Aid course and become a certified First Aider with First Aid Course Experts, a nationally recognised and accredited RTO.
First Aid skills are for life and equip you with the skills to recognise signs and symptoms of a range of medical conditions long before those without the training and skills. If not First Aid, pick a hobby, find a course or venue in which others do that thing, and go check it out. You have nothing to lose, and a future filled with good mental health awaiting you!
If you need a little inspiration or motivation, check out the FACE website blog page. Discover a diverse world of blog articles on First Aid topics that will get you started and keen to gain your First Aid certification.