Why Our Mental Health Matters
by Lilliane Mutoni
In these challenging times, health concerns are considering routines that have been uprooted and financial uncertainties that are unsettling nowadays. Prioritizing one’s health is critical, and that includes ensuring everyone is meeting their basic needs, getting adequate sleep, exercising, eating nutritious foods, and practicing relaxation techniques. It is hard to feel in control during a situation that is unfamiliar like this, that is out of control, and instead of seeming like a challenge, We can harness some control by staying connected.
“Why Staying Connected Ought to Be Everyone’s Priority”
Connecting with others is beneficial to our health. Feeling connected to others at a time of uncertainty can be relieving. Being reminded of the universal challenges we are all facing as a globe can bring some comfort and enable us to forge ways to learn how to go through them the right way. We should safely stay connected to family, friends, and people in our community during this outbreak, including our colleagues. Naturally, all of this connection will require to be done virtually as we are all practicing social distancing in order to reduce the continuous spread of COVID-19.
“Staying Connected to Your Friends, Work Colleagues, and Family Especially in this era of transitioning work responsibilities to virtual.”
If your role requires a lot of virtual operations, It isn’t ‘simple,’ but you most likely want to connect with your manager to determine the priorities at your workplace. Be sure you let your manager know what you need to fulfill; it could be that you need. Perhaps hardware, software, or a headset to give your best to the task you’re being given. That might sound as much as a professional engagement, but indirectly you’re staying connected. Establish a routine for communicating with your manager and team members for the task, if any. Your manager may have initiated that, but if they haven’t, you can go ahead and ask them about having some regular meetings to review the status of your work. Making this more formal will likely be necessary as you no longer see them every day at the office. These are new circumstances, and it will be vital to develop principles for this challenging situation.
“In this case, Your Work Can’t Be Done Virtually; You Can Still Stay Connected But How?”
In as much it appears that everyone can work virtually, that’s not the case because there are tasks that can’t be performed virtually, and this poses a question of how that group of people with that kind of work can stay connected to other work colleagues as well if they don’t operate virtually. It may seem less natural if you are not performing your tasks, but there are other reasons to communicate and stay connected. It could be that your organization uses Slack, where people regularly interact virtually. Typically, much of this might be about the work only. However, at a time like this, you can set up a conversation thread or platform with tips on coping strategies and keeping busy during a challenging time like this that’s been characterized by more than one lockdown.
This approach will require some leadership skills to work effectively. Although it is likely that once initiated, people will welcome the opportunity to remain connected with their colleagues; it will keep the connection amongst work colleagues and their managers.
Another vital focus point should be the well-being and basic needs of you and your family, but if you have room for more, consider prioritizing constant communication with them. Put in the effort to keep improving virtual connections to outside members of your community as well. You will likely find and provide much-needed comfort through those connections.
Mental illness is a global concern, and Depression tops other mental illnesses according to the ratings. According to health statistics, Mental illnesses are affecting more than 300 million people or 4.4 percent of the world’s population. These statistics show the widespread prevalence of mental illnesses around the globe. Mental health problems are estimated to affect one out of every four people at some point in their lives.There are many disparities, both within countries and within specific classifications. It is worrying that about 35-50 percent of people with serious mental illnesses in the Global North go untreated; however, this number nearly doubles in the South, which is estimated between 76 and 85 percent. Just 49% of low-income countries have institutions serving people with mental health issues and psychosocial disorders, compared to 83% of high-income countries.
Specific groups such as women and people living in poverty are highly impacted around the globe. As refugees and asylum seekers, five times more likely than the general population to suffer from mental illnesses. A mental health crisis will most likely affect more than 61 percent of refugees living in camps. This represents another common characteristic of mental illness: much like physical illness, mental illness manifests itself in various ways and situations.Common crimes such as Alcohol and drug abuse, bullying, and gender-based violence all affect mental health. As a result, failing to treat mental health has negative repercussions in society, such as increased mental disorder rates.
A good example is a recently announced strategy for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals by the United Kingdom. In the section on plans for Target 3 (‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all of all ages,’) this paper shows the UK government’s initiative to provide necessary services and treatment for people suffering from mental illness.
Civil society organizations should also make a concerted effort to develop and implement long-term solutions to global mental health problems. Another good example is from Health Poverty Action’s experience working with aboriginal communities to combat violence against women. In partnership with local community leaders, people engage more and create emotional and psychosocial services.
The above scenario taught the respective organizations how to recognize vital mental disorders such as Depression and anxiety and how to relate them to cultural illnesses such as “soul loss.” Simple listening exercises and locally available medicinal plants to help in relaxation and stress relief were also taught. As a result, women who have experienced sexual harassment will communicate with a trained community counselor in their native language. Mental health services must be a key component of health-care programs, and demands for high-quality primary care must be made.
Finally, any approach designed to solve mental health issues around the globe will only work if it directly tackles the main problem’s social, political, and economic determinants.
McInnis, M. G., & Merajver, S. D. (2011). Global mental health: Global strengths and strategies: Task-shifting in a shifting health economy. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 4(3), 165-171.
McIntosh, A. M., Stewart, R., John, A., Smith, D. J., Davis, K., Sudlow, C., … & Group, M. D. S. (2016). Data science for mental health: a UK perspective on a global challenge. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(10), 993-998.
Ng, Q. X., Chee, K. T., De Deyn, M. L. Z. Q., & Chua, Z. (2020). Staying connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(5), 519-520.
Pfefferbaum, B., & North, C. S. (2020). Mental health and the Covid-19 pandemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(6), 510-512.