The PeopleAlchemist Edit: change & transformation, business & lifestyle experimentation for TheWomanAlchemist
“Mental Health in an Unequal World” is this year theme on World Mental Health Day.
But what does it all mean? And how can
Well, to start with, mental health or “emotional health” / wellbeing is not the same as not having a mental health problem. It’s the ability to cope with life and what it throws at you. The ability to participate in life and make the most of it. Fully.
Mental health impacts everyone. We all can feel stressed or frightened from time to time. Most of the time, those feelings pass. But sometimes, they escalate into something more profound.
Mental health is not a constant either. It can change as we go through different events at different times in our life. No one is exempt.
People deal with things differently: some might feel uncomfortable talking about it. Some people feel uncomfortable talking about their feelings – period. However, talking about it and say how you’re feeling does help mental health.
Thus, good mental health is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems. However, good mental health can help to protect against the development of more serious mental health problems.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience in everyday life to severe long-term conditions. Luckily most people can get over mental health problems or learn to live with them, especially if they get help early on.
Mental health problems affect the way you think, feel and behave. Therefore, they are problems that a doctor, not personal weaknesses, can diagnose.
Around 1 in 10 people are affected by anxiety and depression, the two most common mental health problems, at any one time.
Both can be severe and long-lasting and significantly impact how people can get on with life.
Additionally, between one and two in every 100 people are affected by severe mental illness, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and have periods of losing touch with reality.
Mental illness is still a stigma and, because of it, many people try to keep their experience with mental illness hidden, afraid of what other people might say or do.
MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE
When it comes to mental health in the workplace, employers have a “duty of care” responsibility. In practice, this means taking any reasonable action to support employees’ health, safety and wellbeing.
Mental health can be considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010 and, as such, must not discriminate against them because of their disability and consider making a reasonable adjustment to support the employees in question. But this goes beyond the law.
IT IS GOOD TO TALK
The stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental ill-health affect their physical and mental health and affect opportunities, current and future earning and job prospects and their family environment.
When employees feel they can talk openly about mental health without fear of reprisal or being left out of promotions, problems are less likely to build up. In addition, creating a supportive environment where staff can talk openly about mental health as they would of physical health is conducive to a more productive work environment and higher engagement.
Inequality in general needs to be addressed just because of it. Inequality in regards to mental health, when people are at their most vulnerable, even more so.
Each of us can make a contribution to ensure that people dealing with problems concerning mental health can live better lives with dignity.
We all, employers, employees, entrepreneurs, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, have a responsibility and a role to play and ensure that people with mental health issues can fully integrate bad participate in all aspects of life.
And as a final thought, remember, having issues with mental health can happen to everyone, including you. Be kind.