Mental Health Awareness Week starts every year on the second Monday in May – in 2018 from 14 – 20 May. To those who understand mental health this is a great thing and champions a mission critical need in society. But to those who don’t have a good idea, the merits of Mental Health Awareness Week may not be that clear at all. Nevertheless, it should be clear to us why mental health matters, and it matters more and more in our day to day live.
Many of us might think that Mental Health simply means mental disorder. That such matters are the preserve of the unwell – the depressed, disordered, even suicidal. And although evidence suggests half of us will suffer from some form of mental illness during our lifetime (Andrews 2005), thankfully most of us aren’t this way right now. So why does it matter?
Well we at Your Daily Bread believe that Mental Health is firmly for the well. Our contention is that no matter what our historic levels of well-being, or indeed our current level of well-being, that we can all do a little better. And this idea is supported empirically.
If we are struggling (rating our happiness 1-3 out of 10) we can use the skills of Resilience to bounce back quicker. If we are doing ok (4-7 out of 10) we can use Happiness techniques to push us into the higher zone. And if we are already rating ourselves 8-10 out of 10 we can find practical ways to optimise our well-being while we are there and build our capacity to better deal with future times when we might not be.
And a plethora of studies throughout the world illustrate the point that good mental health produces a series of individual, personal benefits. It strengthens our ability to have healthy relationships, make good life choices, maintain physical health, and handle the natural ups and downs of life to name but a few.
And positive Mental Health has implications for society too. Aside from developing better people and communities, positive mental health reduces NHS costs significantly too.
For example, one study of people with anxiety disorders showed that after psychological treatment, the number of medical visits decreased by 90%, laboratory costs decreased by 50%, and overall treatment costs dropped by 35%.
And in addition to the personal benefits and those for society, positive mental health is also good for organisations. As we will be detailing more next month, mental health is good for business.
Rather than being limited to an unfortunate minority suffering from a mental disorder, mental health is very relevant and important for us all.
So if you’ve not given it much thought before, perhaps this week provides a good opportunity to assess how you’re doing in your head and think about how things could get better – for the benefit of you, our communities and organisations and for our society. If it’s totally new, an easy way of opening the conversation is to take a free online survey, such as our own one here: Survey
Have a great week,