We Exercise. We Eat Clean. We do regular check-ups. How is your Mental Health?
According to the World Health Organization (2001), one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.
Depression is a term used by many to express distress, sadness, and other emotions in seeking to describe the impact of life’s challenges. However, depression is so much more; it is the most common mental disorder in the world, with 300 million people being affected (WHO, 2017). For many, it is a prolonged feeling of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, weight gain or weight loss, inability to sleep or concentrate, excessive fatigue, reoccurring thoughts of death for a period of two weeks or more.
Unfortunately, depression is not the only mental disorder. Others include schizophrenia and other psychosis, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, dementia, personality disorders, intellectual disabilities, and developmental disorders just to name a few.
Did you know that children suffer too?
Worldwide 10-20 per cent of children and adolescents experience mental disorders (WHO, 2014).
Sadly, although assessment and treatments are available, over 70 per cent of people with mental disorders never seek help from a health professional (Henderson et al, 2013).
WHY? Stigma, discrimination, and neglect, prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Where there is neglect, there is little or no understanding. Where there is no understanding, there is neglect.
Despite having many counsellors and a psychiatrist on our island, many of our citizens suffer in silence, fearful to speak up about being unwell, hiding diagnosis from friends and family, and often living in denial.
However, maintaining ones Mental Health is possible, through exercise, dietary control, medication (if necessary) and social support. Recent studies have found that individuals who have healthy social support live longer and are able to overcome severe health conditions. Thus, individuals with some mental disorders can maintain healthy lives, adapt, and successfully function as a part of society.
To the many silent suffers, you are not alone. There are many persons like you who are suffering from mental disorders but are too afraid to take the first step in seeking help. Help awaits; speak to your doctor, a psychologist, or a counsellor. Talking is therapy; the first step towards healing. Educate yourself about your condition. Talk to persons in your life who you can trust to support your journey. Advocate, so that others will be able to fearlessly take that first step.
Your mental health is as important as your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and should not be taken for granted.
Educate yourself. Know the Facts. Become Aware. Mental Health Month. Let’s Talk!