Health & Wellbeing
JAM | Feb 14, 2023

Why is your mental health important?

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Despite mental health being one of the most talked about issues worldwide, there is an increase in the number of persons being diagnosed with depression around the globe.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 3.8 per cent of the population affected, including 5.0 per cent among adults and 5.7 per cent among adults older than 60 years.

Depression can be classified as a mood disorder and may have several impacts on the mental and physical well-being of individuals, with other serious consequences such as suicide.

A recent report from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) revealed that Jamaica has seen a notable increase in the number of suicides, with the majority of these tragic deaths being older men.

JCF data showed that there were 27 reported suicides between November and January, a significant increase compared to last year. The data also revealed that 23 of the reported suicides were men who were over 40 years olds.

Improving the quality of your life…where to start?

The state of one’s mental well-being has the potential to impact the quality of life of individuals. Mental health is defined as the emotional, psychological and social well-being of individuals.

The mind is one of the most powerful tools and it determines how we act and feel as individuals. Therefore, it is important to recognise that promoting good mental well-being has the potential to change how you look and feel.

Promoting good mental health may include taking steps to develop mental resilience such as reciting positive affirmations daily about yourself, seeking help during difficult situations and sharing your thoughts and emotions with the ones who are closest to you. Mental health is a common issue that affects many people. Therefore, you may just not know who went through a similar issue and could lend a helping hand.

Suicide prevention

One of the most notable risk factors of suicide is depression and it is one of the leading causes of death around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 700,000 people die due to suicide every year, with suicide being the fourth leading cause of death between 15 to 29-year-olds.

A myriad of factors should be taken into consideration for why suicide rates have been on the increase globally, however, often people do not utilise the different avenues for healthcare assistance that are available to treat depression.

Likewise, there is a stigma that surrounds depression and mental health in Jamaica which often prevents victims from seeking help because they are too scared of being classified as ‘mad’.

In order to tackle the current issue of suicide and promote good mental well-being, there needs to be a cultural shift in the way in which victims of depression are treated and greater avenues for victims to access healthcare.

Boost self-esteem

Having good mental well-being has the potential to change how individuals feel about themselves. As the popular saying states, “If your mind conceives it, then you can achieve it” and this has never been clearer when it comes to self-esteem.

How individuals feel about themselves contribute to their overall mental well-being. A person with low self-esteem, and a lack of confidence in their worth and abilities, is often in a bad mood and has little to no interest in social interactions.

Studies have shown that when you have low self-esteem you are more prone to depression. As such, individuals need to embrace the things that make them different and unique rather than self-internalising those differences to the detriment of their overall well-being.

Promote better social interactions

Persons who are experiencing depression often do not feel the need for social interaction, whether it is with friends or family members. They isolate themselves from any form of interaction which requires them to express their emotions. As such, this forces them into a more depressive state, often without them even knowing.

Participating in social activities is a great ways to help reduce stress and tension, which are all risk factors for depression.

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