Mental Health and Mental Wealth are surely two different words. The First one according to Wikipedia, is defined as follows:
Mental health is a level of psychologicalwell-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the “psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment”. From the perspective of positive psychology or holism, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. According to World Health Organization (WHO) mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.” WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community. However, cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how “mental health” is defined.
Indeed, in some cultures like ours back in Africa, the definition of mental health is so stigmatized and subjective. It has come to be related to mental disorders, and it is definitely not talked about as openly as physical health.
The need and benefits of Talking about Mental Health
No projects or problems can be faced without talking about them. Even talking to one’s self is another form of communication. Man as a social being, belonging and needing to feel part of a community, derives a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment when he feels there is an open communication channel through which projects and problems could be talked about and faced. Some have come to rely to a larger extent to communications with their own selves, while other equally rely on spiritual communications depending on their spiritual beliefs. But, we hold that, it is beneficial when man is not ashamed or afraid to talk openly in society too.
It is of great benefit to a society when it doesn’t lose members of full potential like Gabriel and several others to mental disorders. It is true that only talking alone can not solve any problem, but talking is the definitely a first and very important step to planning and agreeing on a common approach to solving a problem. Especially a problem as a poor mental health which in every way negatively impacts the mental wealth of the community.
Mental Wealth and the need to take care of our Mental Wellbeing
Given the WHO report linking Mental Health to Development, calling for policy change, and a 2010 policy brief calling for mental health to be integrated in all development efforts including the MDGs, it can rightly be argued that society loses out on tremendous mental wealth needed for its development, when mental health is neglected. There is ample need to care for our mental wellbeing, and this includes seeking for help when things start going wrong.
As culled from an article on a health and fitness blog: ” Starting the conversation, planting the idea in people’s minds that it’s not shameful to ask for help, and bringing mental health to the forefront, play a huge role in destigmatising. We learn about physical health with biology and PE, yet a person is not complete without their mental health (no one is a headless body), so we should be teaching our future generation how to nurture theirs. There is no point in just teaching facts if we don’t equip people with the skills of how to cope in life”.
True, the services available may leave much to be desired especially in Africa where Mental Health is still considered a Silent Crisis. Yet, the problems must not remain invisible as current statistics show. It is for this reason that the Gbm-em Foundation was created, to contribute to the fight against stigma and to encourage both patients, caregivers and other stakeholders, to dare2talk about Mental Health and keep the awareness in the limelight, for a better development of the nation.