It’s difficult to pinpoint when the revolution started: one day, mental illness is considered “the most neglected disease” and the next, rallying calls to “check on your loved ones” and “take a mental health day” became part of the collective vocabulary. At the time of writing, Twitter’s search feature shows that there have been 790 tweets containing the phrase “mental health” in the past hour alone.
There is no lack of awareness campaigns for mental health, but there’s still much ground to cover. If you’re confused by this insistent pivot towards prioritizing someone’s mental state, then the first question on your mind should be:
Why is mental health so important now?
The sobering and painfully simple truth of the matter is that the world can’t afford to ignore mental health for much longer, not without risking the staggering number of people affected by illness daily. Suicide is high among the list of leading causes of death in the United States, an approximate of 10 million citizens crippled by the more serious mental issues, and yet more who experience it in some shape or form throughout a year.
Even when there’s an absence of illness within an individual, there is still an incentive to prioritize and aim for healthier mental states, both at a personal and at a more economical scale.
What factors affect mental health?
A poor mental state is one rendered unproductive by the inability to efficiently cope with stress. To figure out what might cause turmoil in someone’s mentality, you need only consider the factors contributing to your stress.
Before you tackle this exercise, it’s a general rule of thumb to remind yourself that everyone has different perspectives and, therefore, attach different emotional weight upon the same ‘triggers.’
Feeling isolated by your peer group may not have greatly affected your development, but that’s not to say everyone else can shrug it off as easily. The same thinking applies to other internal and external factors that may affect mental health such as discrimination, histories of violence and abuse, poor living conditions, poor self-image, and so on.
In many cases, especially in the cases involving one’s environment and social conditions as potential triggers, the burden of solving the fundamental problem can’t just rest on a person’s shoulders. So, in the face of seemingly unchangeable situations,
How does one remain mentally healthy?
There’s an urge to retreat inwards when someone’s not in the best place, mentally. The reason why it’s often encouraged that you “reach out to loved ones” is because withdrawing from the world is precisely what you ought not to do. When you’re feeling bad, it’s all the more important to establish a strong support group that will fuel you with feelings of connection, belonging, and positivity. They might also be able to objectively check on your state and suggest when you need to seek professional help if you’re unable to notice the signs yourself.
Whether you choose to see a doctor or not, it’s generally necessary to develop healthy coping mechanisms: through art, exercise, housework, or meditation. Find what works best for you and keep it within reach for the next time life hands you an emergency.