If I asked you to write every thing you know about mental health I have no doubt that most of you would think and write about mental illness, funnily that doesn’t happen when we think about physical health. So what is mental health, how can we acheive it and how can we help our children acheive it?
The world health organisation describes mental health as, ” a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community”
I think Wikipedia puts it nicely as being “a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder, mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience, an expression of emotions, and as signifying a successful adaptation to a range of demands.
When talking about mental health to large groups or individual clients I use “the long and winding road” to demonstrate how none of us are mentally healthy all of the time.
As you can see I have placed myself on the road a little way down from being 100% mentally healthy. Who is a 100% mentally healthy all of the time? Most of us if not all of us have mental health problems at some time. I mean we wouldn’t expect to be physically in top form all of the time would we?
We are all up and down the long and winding road, here are a few facts and figures about the prevalence on mental health in the UK :
- 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year
- Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain
- Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men
- About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time
- Depression affects 1 in 5 older people
- Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
- Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population
- Only 1 in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder
Luckily we talk a lot more about recovery nowadays.
But what sort of things are likely to bring us down the road perhaps more importantly back up again?
Well I of course believe having our LAMBSS (see previous post) met in balance is a good start.
Here is a list of some of the possible life situations or choices that can take us towards mental illness:
Physical ill health
And some factors that can bring us back towards being mentally healthy
A good support network (friends and family)
Talking to someone
Personality (in built resilience factors)
Good self esteem
How do we ensure our children have these, what can we do as parents to reduce the likelihood of our children developing mental illness?
Again these are my personal beliefs built on my experiences and map of the world.
I beiieve in order to have mentally healthy children we need mentally health adults that can act as good positive role models.
So take a good hard look at yourself and see what you are role modelling.
Are you demonstating how to manage stress?
Having a good work/life balance?
How to manage Anger?
Good self esteem?
Hmm, now here’s your starting point………. YOU
It’s not always easy as we are all human and fallible, but if we really want to make a difference to our children’s mental health it’s where we need to begin.
I think we all want our children to be happy.
For those of you who haven’t yet seen or heard this young 13 year old boy speak (if you follow me on facebook you may have seen it there), here is a very inspirational young man who can teach us a thing or two.
Enjoy your day.