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Sparking the Mental Health Conversation By: Parmita Vijay

The word has spread, but not the meaning behind it. As attraction and curiosity grow around mental health, so do fear and doubt that come together to create stigma. Stigma exists from a place of real fear and a lack of understanding. The key isn’t to deny this but to educate. (Parkinson)


And so, here we are.


There is a spectrum of information we have yet to dig up regarding mental health. Each step is a step forward, and each new question is yet another way to find out more. Keeping that aside, let’s focus on understanding the information we have at hand.


In the article from WHO, mental health is described as the state of mental wellbeing. It is just as important as our physical health. (David T Kuhar). There are five key pillars of mental health everyone should be aware of. They include sleep, nutrition, mindfulness/relaxation, movement and social connection. These aid in maintaining good mental health. Mental health can change over time and an illness of the mind doesn’t necessarily last forever. Healing doesn’t just mean therapy and taking medication. You are in control of yourself, nobody else. It is very important to maintain your mental health well; romanticizing mental illnesses is a surface–level joke.


Prioritizing your self care and keeping up with your hobbies and interests is good for you. Anything done in excess isn’t good. Always be kind to yourself; you’re going to need it.


One step forward in understanding mental health is one obstacle eradicated. A simple conversation starter like ‘How are you feeling?’ could be a step to understanding someone. If it is someone you know well and notice they are not feeling okay, you could deepen the question and ask them if they would like to talk about what’s bothering them. You could work on making them comfortable and providing them with insights regarding their problem while supporting them through this time of need in any way they need it. Everyone needs support in different ways.


Continue to spark the conversation, light up the dark roads.


References

“About Mental Health.” CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/learn/index.htm. Accessed 28 November 2023.

“mental-health noun - Definition, pictures, pronunciation and usage notes | Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary at OxfordLearnersDictionaries.com.” Oxford Learner's Dictionaries, https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/mental-health. Accessed 28 November 2023.

Parkinson, Hannah Jane. “'It's nothing like a broken leg': why I'm done with the mental health conversation.” The Guardian, 30 June 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jun/30/nothing-like-broken-leg-mental-health-conversation. Accessed 28 November 2023.


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