I have been thinking a bit recently about the term 'mental health', and how I feel about this label.
I don't feel like I identify with 'mental illness', because I don't believe that I'm mentally unwell. I experience anxiety, both generalised anxiety and panic attacks - and by definition I therefore have a mental illness. Along with this label comes stigmas - that I'm unstable, fragile, or even off my rocker. And because I take prescribed medication, to help me manage my anxiety and live the fulfilling life that I have, these stigmas are magnified. I've heard all sort of comments since I started experiencing anxiety at 20.
At an event I attended a couple of weeks back research from a Dunedin study was shared which showed over 80% of the NZ population has experienced a mental health condition at some point in their lives.
So maybe we need to look at our society, communities, the lives we live and what has lead to this high number of mental health conditions, right here in our own backyard.
With these sorts of things, I do wonder if it is that we are talking about it more and it hasn't actually increased, or are we experiencing more mental health conditions? I don't know the answer, but I do believe it is a combination of the two.
The world health organistion defines Mental Wellbeing as:"A state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community."
But what is "normal stresses of life" in today's world?