Why Seeing Through the Label is Important

There has been a recent surge in interest surrounding mental health. This has finally become a subject that is being discussed openly. The more we discuss the issues surrounding mental health, the less stigma that remains attached to it. We are hearing more and more stories of those who are affected by mental illness and addictions. Topics that were never discussed years ago are finally being talked about now.

Mental health affects us all. Some of us hear the words "mental health" and still relate this back to having some form of a disorder. What we forget to realize, is that mental health is a part of everyone's life. Just like physical health affects us all, mental health does the same. It is a large part of our overall health. Mental health and physical health will always be interconnected. 

Anyone can have poor mental health, just as anyone can have positive mental health. There are many different aspects of our lives that can affect our mental health, including mental health disorders. However, someone who does not have any type of history of a mental illness can have poor mental due to situational issues and unhealthy coping strategies. For example, someone who is in their 50's and never had to address their mental health, can suddenly experience a loss (whether it be a job, relationship, loved one) which impacts their mental health significantly. Especially if this individual does not have any healthy coping strategies in place, a situational stressor can be very detrimental for their mental health. If their idea of dealing with issues is drinking every night, they can develop poor mental health. However, they may be able to start using an activity, such as playing music, as a way to cope which would help maintain their mental health.

On the flip side, someone with a mental illness is perfectly capable of having positive mental health. Someone can have a serious diagnosis, but live a happy life because of how they take care of themselves. For myself, I know what affects my mental health. I know that I am capable of having positive mental health by focusing on self-reflection, fitness, and nutrition, as well as the other healthy activities that bring me joy (music, art, spending time with loved ones). I also know that I can easily have poor mental health when I start to deal with things by turning to unhealthy behaviours, or becoming stuck in those negative thoughts.

The point is that everyone needs to pay attention to their mental health. Just like our physical health, ignoring it will only make it worse. A part of Seeing Through the Label is encouraging people to focus on their mental health. The other part, is to encourage those with mental health issues to be open about them. The more we talk about it, the less stigma exists. When the stigma is gone, we will be able to make positive changes in the service provided to those in need.