What does it mean to be mentally healthy? 

mentally healthy, girl sitting on a chair

Being mentally healthy is not just an absence of mental distress or mental illness, it is a state of well-being in which a person is able to comprehend their capabilities, can deal with the customary pressure of life, can work prolifically, and is able to provide for their community.

Important factors to consider while understanding someone’s mental health care:

  • family history of illness and disease/genetics
  • lifestyle and health behaviors (e.g., smoking, exercise, substance use)
  • levels of personal and workplace stress
  • exposure to toxins
  • exposure to trauma (getting bullied, facing any sort of abuse, etc)
  • personal life circumstances and history
  • access to supports (e.g., timely healthcare, social supports)
  • coping skills (humor, exercise, painting, dancing, etc)

What is mental illness? 

mental illness

 Mental illnesses can stem from various causes like head injury, heredity, hormonal issues, traumatic events, acute stress, etc. For example, economic hardship or working for long hours under extreme working conditions. Such situations can be detrimental to one’s mental health.

Mental illness is a profound, medically diagnosable illness that can degenerate an individual’s emotional, behavioral, and cognitive abilities. Research suggests that most of these conditions are caused by an amalgam of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

How to talk about someone’s mental health?

talking about mental health
  1. Asking questions and listening
    Asking questions provides the other person with space to express their feelings and communicate about their experience. But first, we must ask the person if they are comfortable answering questions about their mental health.  Avoid leading or judgmental questions and focus on how they feel and how they are affected. 

  2. Time and Place
    Talk while you are engaged in an activity like walking so it is easier for them. Try to converse where they feel safe and protected in order to make it easier for them to be able to express how they feel and convey what they are dealing with. Although make sure to avoid distractions.
  1. Avoid solving problems
    As much as you would like to offer help or even suggest solutions for their problems, avoid doing so as you must understand that coping with mental illnesses and recovering from them is not exactly a cakewalk. It might be likely that they have already tried what you will suggest. Being a good listener can do wonders for the other person and make them feel more comfortable. Unless they directly approach you for advice, avoid any solutions.

  2. Treat them empathetically not sympathetically
    Anyone suffering from a mental illness is the exact same person as they were prior to the illness. Treating them with the same love and affection is really important but we still must be mindful of their situation and act accordingly. Love and support them according to their guidelines and comfort zones.

  3. Being Patient
    Despite your best efforts and solid support, some people are not ready to open up and share. During such times, your support is enough to make it easier for them to be able to express their feelings in the future.

  4. Offer help in seeking professional help
    Avoid taking control of the situation, instead, be there for them and help them seek professional help or talk to a friend or family.

Reflecting and communicating about your own mental health

reflecting your own mental health, person standing on a mountain
  1. Find or create a comfortable environment for yourself
    Consider an environment that feels safe and comfortable to you so you do not have to spend time and energy warming up a location that feels ponderous. Take into account the level of privacy you desire in order to be able to open up about your issues. You can even own up to your condition according to your comfort. There’s nothing wrong with owning your state of health even in environments that are not supportive. The choice is yours completely.

  2. Time
    Avoid pressure from the conversation by setting apart ample time for the conversation, enough for them to be able to respond and ask questions. 

  3. Talk about your situation from your perspective
    Try to use “I” statements, thereby communicating the gravity of the situation. Opening up to someone can be frightening but taking time for yourself and opening up to your loved ones could provide new avenues of love and support. It is better to avoid vague terms and digressing from the point. But it’s okay to express your feelings the way you wish to.
  4. Be particular about how you are affected and establish respectful boundaries for communication
    Try to be specific about the impact of your situation on your life with clarity. Try being direct about your symptoms and about how your condition prohibits you from being healthy, this enables the other person to comprehend what you convey and be more supportive. Be specific regarding what kind of questions are welcome and what kind are not because the person you may be speaking to may not understand your side completely.

Written by Kaustubh
Edited by Harshita


Pragya · 20 February 2021 at 2:47 pm

You go Kaustubh ???????

Pragya Arora · 20 February 2021 at 2:51 pm

You go kaustubh 🙂

Naman Agarwal · 20 February 2021 at 3:44 pm

This is very informative and amazing!

ASHWIN S RAJA · 20 February 2021 at 11:11 pm

Really informative ?

Myths and Facts Surrounding Mental Health | BEYOND MEDS · 7 May 2021 at 5:14 am

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