Let’s Talk About Mental Health
10 October was World Mental Health Day, a day for bringing attention to the reality of mental illness and its major effects on people’s lives worldwide. Mental health is a topic too often swept under the rug. With many choosing to ignore the key word ‘illness’ and its deadly outcomes when left untreated.
According to the World Health Organisation, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally. Sadly, suicide is one of modern-day’s biggest killers, and has become an epidemic on the rise. One of the leading causes of death in Hong Kong, there has been around 900 deaths per year recorded in the past decade. Singapore has also seen a concerning rise, with suicide related deaths up by 10% in the last year.
The epidemic is clearly prevalent, so why are we so afraid of the conversation?
Removing the Stigma
De-stigmatising mental illness is a mission close to our hearts. Having gone through our own personal difficulties and struggles, we understand the important role each one of us plays in speaking out to raise awareness of the realities of mental health today. Through opening up the conversation and speaking candidly, we can help to shed more light on the real illness that it is and remove the shame that it bears.
Recognising Mental Illness
Taking care of our mental health, sometimes called ‘emotional health’ or ‘well-being’, is just as important as our caring for our physical health. We can suffer from poor mental health at any time in our lives, which can be disrupted by stress, changes in our environment and major life developments. Seven of the major mental health conditions faced globally today are:
- Bi-polar disorder
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Many people don’t seek treatment in the early stages of mental illnesses because they don't recognise the symptoms or acknowledge them as serious. If left untreated, they can weigh us down, affecting every aspect of our lives from social, work to family, and eventually manifest in physical ailments with potentially fatal outcomes.
Taking care of your mental health
Working through mental health issues is deeply personal, with different routes and methods that work better for some. One thing experts agree on is the importance of holistic approach with preventative measures. Our brain’s health is connected to many factors, from our brain chemistry and diet to stress responses and sleep patterns. There are many tools we can introduce into our lifestyles to support long-term balance and stability. The key being long-term – creating healthy habits to promote greater wellbeing! Here’s a simple meditation you can do anytime, anywhere.
If you are struggling with serious emotional distress, don't suffer in silence. Your emotional wellbeing is not something to be ashamed of - speak to family, friends, colleagues, or mental health experts. There is support out there. For more information on mental health support visit Mind Hong Kong or OCD & Anxiety Support Hong Kong.