When it comes to your health, your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical wellbeing. But sadly, many people find it difficult to talk openly about their mental health — mainly due to misconceptions and outdated stigma about the subject.
However, organisations like WAYS Youth & Family are working to change the conversation about mental health. Instead of just focusing on mental health disorders, we’re helping young people and their families establish good mental health habits to take with them through life.
In celebration of World Mental Health Day on 10 October, we’ve put together this article to explain the facts behind mental health, including what it is and how it impacts your overall wellbeing. Below, you’ll find more information about this important subject, as well as tips for looking after your mental health.
What is mental health?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is defined as “a state of wellbeing in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
Unfortunately, mental health is frequently viewed through a narrow lens and only associated with disorders like anxiety and depression. But in reality, mental health is much more than that. It’s a complex part of our wellbeing that’s impacted by several different factors, including social, psychological, and biological conditions.
Although some of these factors are out of your control, there are many things that you can actively do to improve your mental health. For example, your mental health is likely to improve when you eat well and exercise, build relationships with others and ask for help when you need it. (Keep in mind that this is general advice, and you should always speak with your doctor or therapist if you are worried about your mental health.)
Why is mental health important?
In Australia, nearly half of all adults will struggle with mental health issues at some point in their life. For some, the issues may be mild or occasional, but for others, the challenges are lifelong and severe.
To feel your best, it’s essential to look after your mental wellbeing. The benefits of good mental health include better relationships with loved ones, improved creativity and productivity, and longer life expectancy. On the other hand, inadequate mental health can have tragic consequences, including suicide, which was the main cause of death for 15-49-year-olds in 2019.
If you’re feeling unwell and aren’t sure what to do, your best option is to reach out to a professional — whether that’s your GP, a therapist, or a counsellor. These experts will listen to your concerns without judgment and help you create a plan for improving your health. It’s important to ask for support as soon as you think that something might be wrong; otherwise, your quality of life could deteriorate until you receive treatment.
At WAYS, we’re passionate about helping our community thrive and create successful futures for themselves. We offer a range of health services, including counselling, case management, and GP service, treating every client with respect, dignity, and empathy.
To learn more about WAYS, visit our website or call us on 02 9365 2500.