Introduction to mental health
Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), 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". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". Mental health is something that people fear to talk about. They feel by sharing it they will get tags or that no one will understand. But these can stop if we start talking about mental health.
Why to start talking about mental health
The state of your mental health affects how you think, feel, and ultimately how you act. It's crucial that we express these emotions with others on a daily basis. Because this helps us keep our mind free and also helps us to be free from stress. By talking about mental health openly, more people may be encouraged to seek professional help.
It helps us to remove the stigma around it. Many people tend to not talk about it, they think talking about it will make people feel that they are mentally unstable.
One study found that the occurrences of the Major Depressive Episode in the youth have increased from 11.93% to 12.63% in one year. Yet many people don't know what its causes are and few don't even realize that they are suffering from mental illness. Sharing your story makes more people aware that such problems exist and help spread awareness
A research study found that over 90% of people who commit suicide had symptoms of a mental health disorder. By talking about mental health we can surely reduce the suicide rate. If we share our story it makes others feel that they are not alone and it also makes us feel better. This eventually will help us in decreasing the rate.
What happens when you share about your mental health story
Sharing a story about your mental health challenges can help in your own recovery as well as offer encouragement and support to others with similar experiences. It also helps promote understanding and empathy to those without mental illness. Moreover, you are also breaking the taboo which surrounds mental health. You can help yourself and also others by starting to talk about mental health. You feel good after you let everything going on in your mind out, you feel that some kind of burden which you were carrying has now finally started decreasing. Furthermore, you will feel heard. Talking to someone you know about what’s going on can relieve some of the anxiety or stress you may be feeling. While your friends and family aren’t medical professionals, they are there to support you and know you well enough to be trusted with your emotions. While it’s natural for you to want to bury your feelings and pretend everything’s fine, talking openly can help you find relief and begin to work through your struggles.
How you can help others by sharing your mental health story
You’ll help reduce the stigma. The more people who raise their hands and say they’ve experienced depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders, the less fear someone else will have to admit they need help and seek treatment.
You’ll see that there’s power in numbers. You may also encourage others to open up to you about their feelings, which can create a powerful community. When you feel like you’re the only one going through something, it can add loneliness and isolation to an already scary situation. By knowing others are experiencing the same thing, you won’t feel as alone.
You must keep in mind that, while being open about your mental health experiences is beneficial, it doesn’t replace talking to a therapist or doctor. If you have feelings of depression or anxiety that persist, consider reaching out to a licensed medical professional for additional support.
Tips through which you can share about your mental health story
Write a letter if you are afraid to talk face-to-face.
Talk to someone who doesn’t know you such as a therapist or psychologist if you don’t feel comfortable talking to a loved one.
Start by journaling and then transition to speaking.
But we all should always remember that we should not force ourselves or others to talk about their mental health. If they are not comfortable then we should give them their own space and time and take ours if needed. Because forcing ourselves or them to speak out might lead to something unexpected and we might feel more insecure.
Mental health isn’t just about mental illnesses. It’s also about maintaining a positive state of wellbeing. Talking about mental health helps improve our communities by helping members maintain positive mental health, and a community of people in good mental health creates a more productive and collaborative environment. Being mentally healthy allows you to realize your own potential and help with that of your community. Lastly, talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your well being and doing what you can to stay healthy. At the end of the day your mental health is the most important thing.
Written by - Anisha Bhoot (Intern at Just A Teen)