HomeOpinion & AnalysisMental health just as important as physical health

Mental health just as important as physical health

By Remembrance Runyowa

The nexus between mental and physical health is often misunderstood. They are often regarded as stand-alone entities, but these two go hand in glove.

The World Health Orgarnisation (WHO)’s definition of health is a state of complete “physical,mental and social well-being”.

In other words, we are halfway there when we talk about health without talking about the mental aspect. We should talk about mental health the same way we talk about physical health. There is dire need for that balance.

Mental health is different from mental illness, but poor mental health can lead to mental illness. It is of paramount importance that one eats healthy, have good sleeping habits, exercise and stay positive.

Suicide is highly linked to mental illness, that on its own is huge a reason why we should take mental health seriously.

Mental health is a priority, worth the time and changeable. It is not a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of.

Noone chooses to be ill, mental illness is not a choice but getting better is. Happiness can be contagious and we benefit as a society. Let us show compassion and love for those with mental health issues. Learn about mental health instead.

You might not fit in or qualify in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or the international classification of diseases, but that should not be a green light to let go mental health care.

Just as we know walking a long distance on a scorching day might cause a headache or nose-bleed, we should know what to avoid that may lead to mental health issues too. Do not wait for complicated mental health issues or experiences.

That exact moment you do not feel fine, seek professional help! Common problems like depression and anxiety should be sought help for. Just like how quick we are to take a paracetamol, brufen or drink water for a slight headache we should do the same for those depressing, anxious moments that interfere with our day to day life activities, our work and social life.

I was on the radio on the first of March this year, for a discussion about grief and coping with loss. There was a question on how it’s not our norm as Africans to see psychologists or seek professional help for mental health.

I later had thoughts on how we turned to steaming, garlic, ginger and other things to cope with Covid-19, but we did not neglect going to the hospital or taking the stop payne just as much as we can have our cultural way of dealing with mental disorders but we should not neglect seeking therapy or seeking help from psychologists.

Good sleep, healthy eating patterns and physical fitness are some of the good things one can do and seeing a psychologist is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. If one cannot ignore broken bones do not ignore broken minds, after all even broken crayons still colour.

I saw a trending picture (meme) on social media of a man wearing a surgical mask at the back of his head with the caption “how l take care of my mental health”.

At first l found it hilarious,but then l was like, wait a minute, the mask is all physical ,where is the mask for the mental health ? The pandemic has resulted in mental health issues just as the physical too. These include aniexty, depresion, obsesssive compulsive disorder and substance abuse.

Contact the Zimbabwe Psychological Association for a registered practising psychologist that suit the mental health challenges you are facing.Lets talk about going to see a psychologist the same way we talk about going to a restaurant, cinema or to see a dentist.

Mental health and physical health compelete each other!

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