HOW IS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?

Mental healthy with stethoscope and hospital Vector Image

Mental health is mostly thought to be related to ‘madness’. A person walking naked in the streets, wearing several clothes. One who sleeps in the streets and everything else that is ringing in your mind right now. Do you know that you may be having mental health issues but you dress neatly to work or school? You may be the president, teacher, lawyer, nurse or anything else but suffer from mental health issues. You can be going on your normal duties but have mental health issues.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) 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 is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” The definition broadens the scope of mental health to refer to things that you don’t consider to be mental health. Losing a loved one, a job, failing an exam, contracting a deadly disease are examples of normal stresses of life. How do you cope with them? These are natural stresses that you all go through. Some people depending on support systems or personal coping mechanisms cope well while others don’t. Some even end up committing suicide, and this has been on the rise for reasons that may look to ‘little’ to you.

Do you wake up at times and feel like not doing anything? Is this going on for a long period? Do you sleep well? Do you have problems initiating or maintaining sleep? Do you have days when you don’t feel like eating at all yet you have skipped 3 or more meals? Are you becoming forgetful, yet you are in your 20s – 40s with no disease relation? Do you hear sounds that others don’t? Do your dead relatives or friends talk to you? Do you at times loose interest to once pleasurable activities? Do you feel withdrawn, you want to be alone for a prolonged period? Have you ever contemplated of killing yourself? Do you feel that you need to win peoples’ approval? Have you ever thought or told yourself that you are feeling depressed? Do you feel you have mood swings that are intense and people seem not to understand you? Are you addicted to drugs, and feel that you can’t function without them? All these are feelings or actions that you have had at one point or another. However, do these feelings affect your normal operations? This was described in the definition as “…can work productively and ……. make a contribution….” If these feelings affect you normal operation then you are at risk of having mental issues. Let me be quick to state that more assessments are done to ascertain a diagnosis. What is important is that it gives you awareness that you may be at risk.

So how do you prevent yourself from all these? I always say 2 important things; first take care of yourself (body, mind and soul) and two have a support system. The body is cared for my keeping it clean, eat a balanced diet, avoid drugs and extra precautions example is what you do to prevent the COVID-19 (keeping social distance, hand washing, wearing a mask and staying home.) For the mind, what do you watch? What do you read? What do like engaging in? Engage the mind in educative, recreational activities and avoid things that have negative effects. Nourish your soul with being in a connection with the Supreme Being. A support system is the people you trust and can tell them everything without being judged. They can be friends, family, colleagues name it. Always have someone you can talk to. Most of the times, you go through difficult situations and that one person you talk to may be the only thing between you and suicide. Talk to someone when you feel low and depressed. If someone chooses to talk to you, find time and listen, you may be their last hope. Check up on your friends regularly, even a short text of “How are you?” may do wonders. It is OK not to be OK. Do not stigmatize people having mental health issues, as it can happen to anyone. Give them love, support and hope.

Mental health is a wide topic that cannot be exhausted in a blog post. It is important for you to note the risk factors. These are the red flags that when you experience or see someone go through you reach for help. The earlier you recognize the symptoms the better, so that you help someone or yourself early enough. Abuse of drugs is the number 1 cause of mental health issues. It is because some people use it as a coping mechanism which it then puts you in a dipper pit. Avoid drugs at all cost.

Take care of your mental health as you would do for any important thing in your life. When your mental health is not in check, it will affect you productivity and everything. During this stressful times brought by the pandemic, we need to more vigilant. People are losing loved ones, jobs, dreams and many things. Talk to someone you trust and take care of yourself, remember body, mind and soul.

14 comments

  1. I can testify that a solid support system is very important whenever one is stressed. Doing exercises and reading also works incredibly well to counter possibilities of depression. This is good information Mesh. Thank you.

  2. In the past few years the world has shifted its focus on mental health and trying to solve most of the issues. however acceptance of the issues you mentioned above in form of questions as signs to seek help have not been accepted by many especially in the African context as its usually termed a sign of weakness. This is a good start, good Job as always

  3. Great read Mesh! Many carry the fear of death not only of themselves but also loss of loved ones which also leads to unresolved grief and pain. All the above solutions are awesome and major self love necessary.

  4. Great read Mesh. Many fear death of a loved one or their own death. And carry grief and pain that is unresolved due to many circumstances. These solutions are spot on!

  5. \”It's ok not to be OK\”- this is very true… Society forces people to pretend just so they show everyone that they have it all together… Once we realize no one has it together, we will learn to reach out to each other and provide safe spaces for those going through issues that affect their mental health.

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