It is common for us to discuss our physical wellness (e.g., are we eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, getting enough exercise, enough sleep, etc.) and to seek treatment if we have a physical ailment. However, it is less common to openly discuss our mental wellness. Mental wellness being our social, psychological and emotional well being. Of equal note, since we may find it uncomfortable to discuss mental wellness with people we know it is even less likely that we would bring this up to a medical provider. Clinicians are able to run labs, take X-rays and do procedures to diagnose and treat physical wellness troubles. It is not possible to take this route with diagnosing mental wellness troubles. Moreover, the language we use with physical wellness complaints (e.g., sore when I move it up and down) seems easier than the language we use with mental wellness (e.g., I do not have the energy to complete tasks or I’m apathetic towards my school grades dropping, etc.)
Although there has been an increased discussion surrounding mental wellness over the past five years, there still remains a stigma. An individual may tell themselves ‘it’s not that bad’ or ‘I should just be able to snap out of it’. In order to effectively treat mental wellness we need to have conservations and those conversations need to lead to action.
How can we lead this change?
Recognize the warning signs that someone is struggling with their mental wellness: These can affect your mood, thinking or behavior. They might include: Feeling tired all the time, trouble sleeping, low energy, drop in school/work performance, difficulty getting out of bed or completing tasks/making decisions, increased use of drugs or alcohol, excessive fear, extreme mood changes, trouble coping with stressors, withdrawal from family/friends. Additionally, a person may indicate that they want to harm themselves or others. At this time immediate action needs to be take by calling 911 or taking the person to the nearest emergency room to be assessed by a clinician.