October 10 is World Mental Health Day. It’s celebrated every year. This year’s theme is Mental Health in the Workplace and seeing that I work in the Mental Health Service, I’ve been very busy planning events to commemorate this day.
There’s still a lot of stigma and misconceptions about mental ill health but it’s getting better. We’re probably where cancer was in the 80s. When people have a physical ache they often don’t mind saying so but with mental aches they feel less inclined to share.
Like the physical aspect of health, mental health is a spectrum. Headlines about ‘psychotics’ and ‘sociopathic killers’ may ensure more clicks online or sell more gossip mags but the unsexy truth is that only about 1 to 3 per cent of the population experience severe and enduring mental ill health.
So for the majority of us and the people we come into contact with every day like friends, relative and co-workers what we’re really talking about is stress, anxiety and depression. Recovery from these is very possible and though medication can help, talking therapy is increasingly the first line of defense.
Our mental health is at risk just as our physical health which is why we do pap smears, mammograms, fasting blood tests, cholesterol tests, endoscopies, colonoscopies and x-rays; and donate blood.
At work we’re using a framework called the Wheel of Wellbeing which was developed by the South London and the Maudsley which is a Mental Health service within the UK National Health Service.
WoW focuses on 6 domains. It is a common sense tool for prevention of mental ill health and improving wellbeing. https://www.wheelofwellbeing.org
My idea of wellbeing is being on Mayaro Beach – see picture above but I can’t always be there, so this World Mental Health Day, I’m doing the following:
• Using WoW to check my wellbeing
• Asking at least one friend or colleague how they are and going beyond when they say they’re fine
• Challenging any outrageous and often erroneous depiction of mental ill health – it could be a comment on a FB post or a discussion with a relative.
Would you join me? You could save some lives and one of them may be your own.
How’s your mental health?