A lot of people say it is important to talk about Mental Health, particularly in this difficult panedmic time. What is actually mental health? We keep on using this term but do we actually know what it is? Below I share a few practical learning points about Mental Health to take away.
(1: Mental health struggles is a sign, a realistic indication of our difficulties faced in life, some of which we are just forced to overcome.
2: Mental health is a challenge, but also an opportunity for us to boost psychological resilience and strengths.
3: A big change in life allows us to think of the impossibles we always regarded in the past.
4: Connection is vital. Technology cannot replace humanity.
5: When now we have more time, we can address the forgotten longstanding issues.
6: It’s time for us to talk about Mental Health.)
Point 1: Mental health struggles is a sign, a realistic indication of our difficulties faced in life, many which we are just forced to overcome.
This pandemic shows us that mental health can happen to everyone. Our struggles under the pandemic proves to us that mental health is a result of the different external oppressions on us – and we have no control over them. We are forced to work from home, or even lose our jobs; we lose contact and connections with our social circles, some even permanently lose their loved ones.
As the pandemic rumbles on, we do not and cannot predict how many more problems have further escalated, nor realize when is the time when we finally crumble. Mental health is a result of us not being able to cope with difficulties anymore. We reach the crisis point and our minds start screaming, ‘I need to stop functioning. I need help.’
Mental health is not our fault. The problem is the problem. The difficult part of this problem is we have to use our own capacity and ability, and also work extra hard to deal with the problems. We are bound to bear a sense of injustice – we are responsible for a problem we are not originally responsible for. This is often the reason we feel more depressed, frustrated and demotivated.
Point 2: Mental health is a challenge, but also an opportunity for us to boost psychological resilience and strengths.
Recovery does not happen overnight, but it does happen. When we are able to build tolerance of sitting with the difficulties, surprisingly resilience and growth already has taken place too. Healing and growth occur in the parallel lines.
The fact that we have all navigated our ways from year 2020 to 2021 shows that we have done our best already. We have done very well having gone through this difficult time. This is some resilience and strength we have shown. At times we may not relate to our own strengths as we are still wrapped up by negativity. However we do have our own strengths in place now and we can further build upon them.
Point 3: A big change in life allows us to think of those which we always regarded as ‘the impossibles’ in the past.
Difficulties are often opportunities for change and even transformation. An example is gaining new perspectives. Many of us may not deny that we have survived and can survive without the past necessities.
We have all somehow practiced minimalism. Without socializing, without the past usual lifestyle, without materialism, we have suffered from the loss, but also we recognize we also have survived till now. Our complete change of lifestyle, routine and relationships can mark as an opportunity for us to look at our priorities in life. The things we have always regarded as important, are they anymore? The things we regularly engage with and taken for granted, emerge as the key to our survival in the crisis time.
Point 4: Connection is vital. Technology cannot replace humanity.
The pandemic has proven that we cannot function alone at home and be away from face-to-face interactions. This time has proven the fact that face-to-face contact is the fundamental key to connection and intimacy. We cannot be alone. Technology can never replace such human needs.
Point 5: When now we have more time, we can address the forgotten longstanding issues.
Many people approached me and revealed that mental health problems did not just happen during the pandemic. In fact they have struggled with aspects of life before. They just did not consider support at the time.
The pandemic has cut down many things – work, socializing, range of activities, etc. When people feel they have nothing to do, from another angle we also have opportunities and space to focus on our emotional health we usually believe we don’t have time for in the ‘normal time’.
Point 6: It’s time for us to Talk about Mental Health.
This time people have realized more than ever mental health is not just a particular ‘disease’. It hits home and people feel closer to it than ever. The office for National Statistics reported in midtime last year that 1 in 5 British reported symptoms of depression, a double figure than times before the pandemic. The Health Foundation reported 70% as participants mentioned suffering from mental health issues caused by anxiety, stress and boredom.
It is time we talk about mental health, address it and do something about it.