The world is facing a mental health crisis. A recent report in the Lancet Commission states that mental disorders are on the rise in every country and could cost the global economy USD 16 trillion between 2010 and 2030. Approximately 1 billion people are living with mental health disorders right now. Sadly, around 75% of individuals from middle- and low-income countries do not receive treatment for substance, neurological and mental disorders. To help educate the masses about the importance of mental health issues, the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has decided to commemorate 10th October every year as World Mental Health Day. This year, the day has special meaning to a lot of people as the COVID-19 pandemic has completely uprooted our lives. People are facing increased amounts of stress, anxiety, loss and more.
Despite increased conversations surrounding mental health, many people do not know what constitutes a mental health disorder or what they can do to look after their mental wellbeing. So, in honour of World Mental Health Day, let’s learn about what ‘good’ mental health actually is and what you can do to take care of yourself.
Good Mental Health
Most people assume that they’re mentally healthy as long as they aren’t suffering from a major issue, like depression, schizophrenia, addiction, bipolar disorder et cetera. But, this isn’t actually the case. Good mental health is characterised by an individual’s ability to carry out some key functions. These include the ability to:
- Cope with and manage change and uncertainty
- Feel, express and manage a wide range of emotions, both positive and negative
- Form and maintain good relationships with others
If you find you’re struggling with any of these functions, it’s possible that you need to work on your mental health. Here’s a look at what you can do to take care of yourself and your health – both mental and physical:
1. Speak Up
Talking about how you’re feeling could help you work through the issues you’re having. When somebody listens to you, you feel like they support you, which means you feel less alone. Whenever you choose to speak up about how you’re feeling, you also empower others to do this same. It normalises conversations about feelings and mental health, which is something the world needs right now.
2. Stay Healthy
Eating well, sleeping well and exercising regularly will help your body and mind stay healthy. Remember, you need to give your brain enough nutrients to function properly. If your brain isn’t working well, you could end up struggling and suffering from mental health issues. Drink plenty of water and stay active if you can. Generally speaking, 30 minutes of activity 5 days a week is essential. Exercise will keep your brain and other vital organs healthy. You don’t have to go to a gym or join a yoga class. Instead, you could do some housework, gardening or even dance to stay active.
3. Take a Break
COVID-19 has put a lot of holidays on hold, but that’s not the only way you can take a break. You can take a 5-minute pause from your household chores during the day or a 30-minute lunch break while you’re working. A few minutes can help you de-stress and give you some much-needed ‘me time’. If you prefer, you could use the break to meditate or practise some breathing exercises. But really, you just need to put your feet up and relax for a few minutes.
4. Enjoy Yourself
It may sound like strange advice, but doing something that you enjoy can boost your self-esteem and better your mental health. Concentrating on a hobby like writing, painting, or doing a crossword can help you forget about the things that are stressing you out. This will uplift your mood and make you feel better.
Mental health isn’t something that should be brushed under the carpet. It’s something that we need to talk about and normalise. By looking after ourselves and sharing our experiences with others, we can help make a difference in the world.
If you’re currently struggling with anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts or any other mental health issue, you can call the mental health rehabilitation hotline, KIRAN, on 1-800-599-0019.