‘A clear distinction is often made between ‘mind’ and ‘body’. But when considering mental health and physical health, the two should not be thought of as separate.’ – Mental Health Foundation
Mental Health isn’t linear. With it being mental health awareness month I thought that there is no better way to start my mental health blog than to focus on the overall importance of mental health and why raising awareness is important to me.
Mental health influences your physical health and physical health influences your mental health. There is so much available help for physical illness. If you break a bone you go to the hospital, if you have an on going ear ache you go to the doctors or if you have tooth ache you can go to the dentist. While it is extremely important to take care of your physical health, it is just as important to take care of your mental well-being. I think it is important to stop seeing these as separate and start embracing them as having a joint impact on us. For me, this point hit me hard. I’ve suffered from chronic back pain for years and always believed it was the result of physical damage. However, when going to physio I was told that I have very tense muscles as the result of high stress levels which meant that I had to reach out for help at student well-being. Once there, I was informed that they believed that my high stress levels were the result of high anxiety levels. Looking back this made a lot of sense and made me realise how powerful minds are and it’s influence over our bodies.
I realise that there is help already available out there for mental health. You can go to the doctor to get diagnosed, there are mental health charities out there such as MIND and there are mental well-being advisers in education. However, unlike getting help for physical health there is still a negative stigma surrounding mental well-being, impacting decisions as to whether to reach out for help. Therefore, this blog is to help in any way possible to help tackle the stigma through the awareness of mental well-being. I aim to do this through sharing my own experiences and journey, sharing other peoples journeys (please send me yours if you wish to share it), talk about techniques that have helped me as well as discuss influences of the stigma.
What do you think are the best ways that we can reduce stigma and raise mental health awareness?