Mental Health Awareness Week
What is mental health? How has its definition progressively changed over the years?
According to a study done by Columbia university (Phelan, 2000), in the 1950s it was defined as “a public conception of mental health with any unusual, violent, harm to others behaviours, attitudes or psychiatric conditions.”
In 2000, mental health shifted to focus on the fundamentals of health and well-being (Preboth, 2000). This was done by diagnosing variables of the patient as per the events that occurred in their personal life.
The World Health Organization (WHO) now conceptualizes mental health as a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
According to the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (CAMH), 1 in 5 Canadians experience mental illness. Statistically, people with mental illnesses are most likely to be victims of substance abuse. In the homeless population in Canada alone, between 23 and 67 percent suffer from mental illnesses. Over 35 percent of Canadians have testified that their lives have been affected by mental health problems either personally or within their families.
Common factors of poor mental health are lower quality of life, chronic pain, and prolonged stress, all of which can result in depression, anxiety, and various other mental health difficulties.
Mental health has been linked to the social, emotional, and psychological factors of an individual. A balance between activities and life wellbeing can result in better cognitive functions, decision-making, and stress management.
What can you do?
As it is hard to live a balanced life in this fast-paced world, here are some suggestions that you can use for your mental well-being.
- Talk to a friend.
- Grow spiritually: give yourself some quiet time to meditate everyday for at least 15 minutes. Or you could indulge in some good spiritual growth books. This may help you to get better sleep and to focus throughout your day.
- Sign up for activities: Take a look at your city’s event calendar and get involved, or check out a Facebook group for hobbies that you might enjoy.
- Talk to a therapist: there are hundreds of licensed professional therapists that provide virtual services and in-person counseling, psychological services, art therapy, and psychotherapy. #talktotherightperson.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” -Oprah Winfrey.
Above all be your best motivator.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Mental illness and addiction: Facts and statistics. https://www.camh.ca/en/driving-change/the-crisis-is-real/mental-health-statistics
Phelan, Jo C., et al. (2000). Public conceptions of mental illness in 1950 and 1996: What Is mental illness and Is it to be feared?” Journal of Health and Social Behavior, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 188–207. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/2676305. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.
Preboth, M. (2000). Surgeon General releases mental health report. American family physician vol. 61,12: 3739-40.
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