Mental health is a struggle often veiled in silence. People struggle with their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours over a period of time, being unable to overcome negativity, feeling ashamed for not being okay, and fearful of voicing their struggles to anyone.
RECOGNISING Mental Health
Our overall wellbeing comprises not just physical, but also mental, emotional, spiritual, and social health. Health is not just the absence of illnesses (physical). Without a healthy mind, emotions, and relationships, one cannot fully experience the wholeness of life.
Looking out for SYMPTOMS
While challenges in life teach us persistence, patience, and perseverance, prolonged exposures can develop into significant stress and a feeling of helplessness. At the extreme, suicidal thoughts may creep in.
Here are some signs and symptoms to watch out for:
*changes in behaviours
*social withdrawal and isolation
*irritability, mood swings
*loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed
*low energy, constant fatigue
*prolonged sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt
*struggles with maintaining personal hygiene
*drop in work/school performance
*addiction or substance use
Physical symptoms can be linked to hidden emotional turmoil. Mental health conditions can manifest physically as:
*insomnia or sleeping too much
*mysterious aches and pains
and other medical conditions.
COPING with the Challenges
Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness but a testament to self-worth. Mental health professionals provide guidance, support, and treatment, much like consulting doctors for physical ailments.
Friendships play a crucial role. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging and supportive.
Embrace self-care, such as prayer, meditation, hobbies, rest, and exercise.
SUPPORTING through Actions
Be a community of support and love. When we encounter others struggling with mental health issues, we can:
* listen actively and without judgment
* offer practical assistance, such as help with daily chores, encourage them to seek professional help, and offer rides to appointments.
* be present and offer empathy
Building the Community
Mental health should not be stigmatised. It is an integral part of life, just like our physical and spiritual health.
People with mental health challenges yearn to be understood and accepted. We need to recognise one another’s worth, foster camaraderie, and that we are human, and we need one another. The hope of humanity is to enable each person to truly reach their best in body, soul, and spirit.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Nelson Mandela
1) Is there someone we can support by being non-judgmental and a listening ear?
2) What do I need to happen, to take the first step to seek help?
By Patricia Tan, Mental Health Therapist/Life Coach/ Founder, Healing Journey (USA, Singapore).