By SHANNON SKAE, health and life coach at Revive with Shan
Mental health is something we need to keep having conversations about. In 2021, especially, we saw a significant jump in mental health crises due to the pandemic and lockdowns. While it appears that COVID-19 is losing its sting, we are not yet in the clear because the consequences of the pandemic will be felt for years to come.
The most common mental health disorders include anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, mood disorders, and depression.
There is a substantial stigma in response to these disorders despite how frequently they occur. Those experiencing distress related to their mental health may find it challenging to reach out and seek help, let alone be responsive to the possibility of care and treatment. They fear the stigma and subsequent discrimination that many who experience mental health disorders continue to face. This fear of stigma and discrimination is another reason why so many people go undiagnosed and struggle in isolation.
This is why it is so critical that we have conversations about mental health disorders and destigmatise something that many people will experience at least once in their lifetime.
How to identify if you may be experiencing a mental health crisis:
- You experience low energy and/or fatigue
- You feel sadness for extended periods
- You feel anxious and may have reoccurring negative or obsessive thoughts
- You may struggle to get out of bed
- You are irritable or irrationally angry
- You may have thoughts of self-harm
- You increasingly rely on alcohol or drugs to make you feel better
What to do if you experience some of the above:
- Seek out a therapist or health professional
- Seek out a free therapy call centre like LifeLine if you need help without payment
- Go to a psychiatrist if you think you need medication
- Reach out to your doctor
- Seek out a health or life coach
Ways to manage your mental health:
- Talk about your feelings to your friends
- Keep active and exercise
- Eat well and healthily
- Limit alcohol intake
- Start a hobby
- Meditate and use deep breathing
- Go for walks in nature
- Write down how you feel
- Go to sleep early and try to get eight hours of sleep
- Minimise caffeine and fast food
Therapy is a critical process for someone struggling with a mental health disorder or distress. Therapy can help you process your thoughts and feelings, establish how to change unhealthy thought patterns, and help you to understand why you feel the way you do.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help. Your mental health is as important as your physical health, and so consider this: you would not ignore a broken bone or measles, for instance, would you? Then don’t ignore your anxiety, depression, or other mental health distress. Seek help and take care of yourself.