October is Mental Health Awareness month, and today, I would like to spend 10 minutes to talk about our mental health. According to Singapore’s National Mental Health statistics:
Mental illness can strike just about anyone. We have heard of people suffering from Postnatal Depression, Hidden Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder….. But what does it mean to the rest of us?
Myth: Mental illnesses are caused by personal weakness. People who are depressed could just snap out of it if they try harder.
Fact: Experiencing a mental condition such as depression is not a character flaw; it has nothing to do with being lazy or weak, or lacking will-power. Mental conditions can be triggered by losses in life, and changes in brain chemistry or function.
There are common myths and misconceptions about mental illnesses, and sometimes the stigma can be worse than the illness itself.
Most people with mental illness can function as contributing members of society. Just like us, they also have aspirations, hopes and dreams. It is the public’s lack of awareness about mental illness that can hinder them from moving forward. You can make a difference to end mental health discrimination. Let’s #find10minutes to learn more about the different types of mental illnesses, and educate ourselves, and others about what we can do to stop this stigma:
- Avoid using terms like “crazy”, “cuckoo”, “psycho”, and “wacko”. Such words belittle and disrespect people with mental health problems
- View mental illness like any other health problem
- Learn more about mental illness to understand why the person behaves strangely
- Show friendship and support to those affected by mental illness
- Encourage the mentally ill or their families to seek help
Read NEXTSTEP YEAR 2011 ISSUE 03 for more information about mental illnesses, and where to seek help for your loved ones who are suffering from mental illnesses.
Self-care is also an important and necessary practice, to prevent stress from taking over you, so you can continue to function at full capacity. Self-care is not like a one-time voucher you use at your favourite store.
It’s the constant repetition of many tiny habits, which together soothe you and make sure you’re at your optimum—emotionally, physically, and mentally.
Self-care activities do not need to cost you money, time or otherwise. You can integrate and implement tiny self-care habits regularly, to give your body, mind and soul the TLC and attention it needs. Here are some ideas for you to include in your life:
- Clear your mind as you rake the sand in your mini zen garden
- Greet the day and energise your body with Morning Yoga
- Do meditation: Sit cross-legged with your hands on your thighs. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Any time your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breathing.
- Soak it up: Find a shady place, and spread out a nice mat. Lie on your back, relax and watch the sky
I hope you have enjoyed this Deepavali holiday, and have used it to do something for your body, mind and soul. And I hope this has been a fulfilling 10 minutes of your life.
Peace be with you.