Mental health is as important as physical health

October 10 is the global day for mental health. It is a day dedicated to fighting for international mental health education, awareness, and social stigma. The day was first celebrated in 1992 on the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, whose members are located in more than 150 countries.

Mental health is as important as physical health

When someone has a headache, a sore leg, or stomach pain, they usually know that they can seek help from a doctor. However, when someone is troubled by psychological concerns, unpleasant feelings, or thoughts they cannot cope with, low self-esteem, depression, difficulty concentrating, it is often decided not to address them – maybe it will go away on its own. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as many as 50% of people do not seek timely help from specialists for their mental health issues. There are reasons for this: lack of awareness of the nature and importance of mental health, fear of judgment, low availability of psychological and psychiatric help in different regions, fear of treatment or therapy, stereotypes, or misconceptions about mental health issues. Therefore, it is very important to talk about the nature of mental health, to raise the value of psychological and psychiatric assistance, and to normalize attitudes towards people who have mental health concerns. As a society, we all must contribute to valuing mental health and normalizing seeking help.

The World Health Organization describes mental health as a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their abilities, copes with the stresses of everyday life, and can contribute to society.

Mental health thus means much more than the absence of a mental disorder or disability – it is an essential and inseparable part of a person’s health and the foundation of community well-being and effective functioning. Mental well-being and health encompass how we think, feel, and cope with life. A mentally healthy person has the ability to adapt to different changes and find the best in every situation they encounter. It is the ability to live a balanced and fulfilling life, despite the problems that arise.

Take care of your health

Just as you must take care of your physical health, you must also take care of your mental health. How can you do this?

  • Understand yourself and your feelings: what situations cause stress for you, when are you anxious, how do you like to relax?
  • Always accept yourself and your feelings: talk about your feelings and thoughts, do not suppress them.
  • Consciously fill “your cup”: for each person, they should be the most valuable and loved person in their life. Take time for yourself every day: exercise, go for walks, light candles, read a book, take a bath – whatever helps you relieve stress. Rest and relax.
  • Take care of your physical health: our physical and mental health are closely linked. Therefore, healthy eating, regular exercise, and good sleep also help us cope mentally.
  • Find coping strategies that suit you: to maintain your mental health, we need a package of different skills: assertiveness skills, communication skills, coping skills with emotions, etc. Find safe and effective ways that suit you to solve different situations.
  • Find something positive in every situation and day: just as every person has positive qualities that make them special and valuable, you can also find a lesson in every situation. This does not mean turning off analytical thinking and wearing rose-colored glasses, but analyze negative situations so that you learn from them and appreciate life in all its diversity.
  • Take care of others and be grateful: studies show that gratitude helps maintain our mental health. If we can find reasons to be grateful, then we can also better cope with the difficulties that arise in life. Keep a gratitude journal and write down 3 things you are particularly grateful for every day/week.
  • Educate yourself on mental health topics: read books, attend trainings, listen to podcasts. There is a lot of information available nowadays. Use reliable sources to obtain information and ask for advice if needed.
  • Seek help: do not be ashamed to ask for help. If you feel that you cannot cope with your mental health issues on your own, confidently turn to a specialist. This is a sign of your awareness and self-care!

Take care of your own and your loved ones’ mental health!