Mental health is a hugely important, yet often misunderstood and overlooked, area of overall health and wellbeing. For many people, mental health is still shrouded in misconceptions and stereotypes about what it looks like or how to cope with it. It can be difficult to identify what signs indicate a potential problem. To help raise awareness and increase understanding of mental health issues, here are five examples of what mental health looks like versus what it actually is like:
Social Interactions: Mental health can look like avoiding social interactions because of fear or lack of confidence, but in reality it’s a more complex issue involving feeling disconnected from people and unable to process emotions correctly.
Stress Management: It may seem like a successful individual is better equipped to manage stress, but many times it's the other way around: an emotionally healthy person can process negative situations and handle everyday stressors far more effectively than someone who appears successful on the surface.
Self-Care Routines: Mental health may look like not having any self-care routines or engaging in unhealthy habits, but in reality it's often about finding balance between being productive and taking time for yourself to do something fun or relaxing.
Coping Mechanisms: It's easy to see experimenting with drugs and alcohol as a form of escape from difficult emotions, but this isn't always the case – sometimes mental health means trying out healthier coping mechanisms such as journaling or talking with trusted friends instead of relying on substances.
Relationships: On the surface, healthy relationships may appear perfect without any issues, whereas troubled ones may have obvious signs such as communication difficulties or physical aggression. In reality mental health involves knowing when to seek help for interpersonal problems and knowing how to communicate effectively with others even during challenging times.
By discussing mental health openly and reducing stigma through education we can work together towards better understanding how our minds work and helping each other continue onto a path of good psychological health.
By: Emily Tran
Cover photo by: Dawn Mercy