A big misconception about mental health is that it can only be bad. In reality, everyone has mental health, all of the time. Mental health encompasses our psychological, emotional, and social well-being, and is often not taken seriously according to David Pilgrim’s book “Key Concepts in Mental Health“.
Is mental health important?
Yes, absolutely it is. It’s important because it plays a role in our long-term health, as well as our overall life satisfaction. Stress and anxiety are great examples of negative mental health that can impact our day-to-day life. We also can experience these differently according to age, gender, race, and religion, among other factors. It’s important to understand what good and poor mental health look like, and when you might need extra support figuring these out.
What we should know is that mental health is just as present and important as physical health. This is because the mind and body are connected. What goes on in the mind can trigger positive or negative reactions from the body. Similarly, when we do things that make our body feel good, our mind rewards that behaviour with ‘feel-good’ endorphins.
We at Simcoe think the most important thing is that people don’t need to feel like they’re suffering in solitude every day. Nobody chooses to bear certain burdens in their life, and they shouldn’t always be expected to carry these alone. Not being able to ‘fix’ problems yourself doesn’t reflect on you as a person. It means that another type of support is needed. It’s common to think that the state of one’s mental health is ‘not that bad’. But, one shouldn’t have to hit rock bottom before being able to ask for help.
When should you seek help?
If you notice any of the following things coming up, it might be a good time to check in with a professional:
- Low mood. Feeling anxious, irritable, confused, or angry.
- Difficulty concentrating and remembering things.
- Over or undersleeping.
- Frequent mood swings that impact relationships.
- Difficulty managing daily tasks like preparing food, showering, and getting to work or school.
- Feeling paranoid, suspicious, or like you have special powers.
- Experiencing hallucinations.
- Difficulty managing money including excessive spending.
- Having flashbacks or nightmares after a traumatic event.
- More frequent drinking, smoking, or drug use.
Just because someone experiences these things doesn’t mean they will know exactly how to cope with them. If one feels overwhelmed by these experiences, having someone to listen to them is a great starting point. Help can come from all kinds of sources. It doesn’t need to be an incredibly serious conversation, but rather an acknowledgement of your concerns.
Here are examples of who you might speak to:
- Friends, loved ones, carers, neighbours, or relatives. These trusted people can help find more information for you, talk about your options, help in your everyday life, offer support, and come to appointments.
- Charities. Mental health charities often offer anonymous listening services and can signpost you to help in your local area. They sometimes offer therapy sessions, skill sessions, and housing support.
- Student well-being centres.
- Community support. Search for CMHTs (community mental health teams) locally or in mental health centres like ours.
- Trained counsellor or therapist. This is the best way to remain confidential but still receive personalized support and advice.
Here is a list of support services in the Ontario area.
Here are tests you can do to quickly check in on your well-being.
Mental health VS disorders
We must also remember that mental health is separate from mental health disorders. For example, someone can have great mental health and still be diagnosed with depression or PTSD. Mental health disorders are diseases of the mind that present various long-term symptoms. On the other hand, mental health can change from day to day, and symptoms of poor mental health are usually temporary.
There is no wrong time to check in with someone about your well-being. If you’re feeling concerned or curious about whether your overall mental health is good, reach out to the support available to you. Remember to try and find ways to practice mindfulness and self-care to help see you through.
Please feel free to give our treatment centre a call so one of our kind and compassionate members can assist you.