As a community we look to farewell what has been a year that we will never forget, and as we try to reflect on the positives and negatives of the pandemic it’s easy for us to head straight to the financial and social impact. For some in the community the pandemic perfectly suited their lifestyle and personality types but unfortunately for others the weight of both the economic fallout and all that comes with it or the social isolation has left negative effects on their mental wellbeing.
I find myself in a privileged position where people freely open up to me about their lived experiences or challenges during COVID, some freely open up about the effects to their mental wellbeing while others brush around it and finish with a comment like “well others have it worse off than me”. It’s important that as a community and as individuals we understand and acknowledge that life affects us all differently and we all have the right to be healthy.
Unfortunately, when we talk about health and the right to be healthy we put our mental health on another spectrum to our physical health, and what this can do is blur the lines of realty that HEALTH IS HEALTH which creates unhealthy stigmas and barriers. If we had an individual that had back pain would they say, “well others have it worse off than me” and not address the pain by seeing a health professional? The answer would be NO.
The key to individuals and the wider community becoming more engaged with the importance of seeking clinical support is as simple as think of the health spectrum. We all have health both physical and mental, which lives upon the health spectrum, on one side we have positive heath and the other side we have negative health or illness. Just like physical health during life we float up and down this spectrum with our mental health. For many of us we address a physical health with early intervention if we feel we are becoming unwell but unfortunately, we do not do the same for our mental health.
The question is, if both our mental and physical health sit upon the same spectrum why does one get acknowledged and addressed and the other does not? If Health Is Health, there should be no differences and no stigma related to addressing any health concern. It’s also important to acknowledge that early intervention can drastically improve and speed up ones recovery time like a physical illness.
If you believe you are floating towards the negative side of the spectrum and have noted changes in your thinking, feelings, behaviours or physical wellbeing it could be a strong indicator that you need the support of a health professional remembering HEALTH IS HEALTH.
If you are experiencing a crisis and need immediate help please contact one of the services listed on our Crisis Support Page CLICK HERE