World Mental Health Day is a date that appears on my calendar every year. While I usually write a post for that day (you can see last year’s post here and my post from 2018 here), this year I was busy participating in something else. I’m a mental health attorney at Rethink Mental Health Incorporated and on October 10th they hosted a World Mental Health Athon on Instagram by getting their attorneys to talk every hour on the hour about their own mental health stories and why mental health to talk about matters. For my part, while I was on Instagram Live, the founder of Rethink made a good point during our conversation that I wanted to elaborate on today – that everyone is concerned with mental health.
There are many factors influencing the mental health stigma, and one that I come across frequently is who is allowed to have mental health conversations. For some reason, many feel that the only people who can talk about mental health are people who are dealing with a mental disorder or a mental illness. And while these people should have a more prominent voice that deserves to be heard more, mental health is an issue that is part of our entire lives. Whether we acknowledge it or not, how we deal with things in life and how we respond to our daily tasks and challenges is our sanity (for more information on building your sanity, check out a helpful guide here).
That brings me back to the Instagram Live session (which you can check out here). As a mental health attorney on a live chat with a mental health organization, I knew it wouldn’t shock anyone to attend something like this for World Mental Health Day. But one of the things that we addressed was that mental health is an issue for everyone because it affects everyone. Mental health is just as important in my life as it is in any other because we are both working towards the same goal – to be as sane as possible.
I’ve written before about the difference between mental health and mental illness. In doing so, I have found that there are often misconceptions that lead people to have misconceptions about important mental health concepts. In this case, there is also a misconception that mental health does not apply to some people. But it does. Whether we acknowledge it or not, it applies to all of us, and although it looks different in every person, we all practice it.
Mental health can be like so many things during the day. You may be eating well-balanced meals, exercising, or getting enough sleep. It could pause from screens or meditate. And for some who may have chronic mental illness, mental health may include standing up or managing a panic attack or difficult bout of depression. For some people, it can be all of these things in a single day! Your journey to mental health is your own, but we need to change the idea that only some people have mental health. Mental health affects us all, and whether it means taking care of others or ourselves, there is much that can be done to remove the stigma and all to be honest and open about mental health.
Do you know people who don’t want to talk about mental health because they “don’t have any mental health problems”? Do you think everyone has mental health? Let me know in the comment section!