World Mental Health Day is observed internationally on October 10
The overall objectives of this internationally recognized day involve raising awareness of mental health around the world, and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. This day also encourages us to provide space to talk about mental health and advocate for the additional needs of others around the world so that mental health care can become a reality for everyone.
Mental health is something we all need to care for, including, for some, caring for a mental illness. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), one in five adults experience impacts related to mental health issues. With so many of us affected, why is creating safe spaces to talk openly about our mental health still challenging?
What is Optimal Mental Health
Optimal mental health is different for each of us and strongly relates to how active a role we take in caring for our mental health needs. The article The Mental Health Continuum: From Languishing to Flourishing in Life and his Continuum Model of Mental Health by Corey Keyes further explains how the absence of a mental health illness does not necessarily mean you will experience optimal mental health. This means that, even if a person has a mental health illness they can still flourish if they are taking care of their mental health. Conversely, a person without a mental illness can have a languishing (deterioration of one’s mental health) experience if they are not caring for their mental health.
Some of the following factors can also influence our ability to achieve optimal mental health:
- navigating and accessing adequate support services
- affordability of support services
- knowledge of available resources
Reflect on the times when your mental health fluctuates. What helps you maintain optimal mental health?
What You Can Do
Help Yourself and Others
Learning more about optimal mental health, and supporting each other and ourselves are ways we can combat the judgment and stigma that continue to surround this conversation.
The following are ways you can help combat the judgement and stigma that continue to surround this conversation:
U of A students and staff who have been impacted by mental health are helping reduce the stigma by sharing their own stories. These community members show us that it is possible to flourish with appropriate supports in place. See their stories in a gallery located at Rutherford’s Atrium October 10–31, 2019. A reception will take place on October 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.