Speak Woman Magazine Spring 2018 Issue of Speak Woman Magazine - Page 14

How To Boost Your Mental Health Shanda Campbell Few people understand the importance of mental health, until an illness occurs. Think about it… The moment a tragic crime occurs we immediately start a discussion on the mental status of the assailant. We try to figure out how someone could commit such a heinous act. It is important to know that mental illness is often very complicated. There are many factors that contribute to the severity of mental ill- ness, such as: biological factors (genes or brain chemistry) , life experiences (trauma or abuse), and family history of mental illness. In these cases pro- fessional intervention is required to attain a good quality of life for all involved. That said, a lot of us do not carry out heinous acts, but still suffer in silence. We go through life feeling and being defeated. So how do we change this? Understanding mental health is the first step. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) mental health is not ‘just the absent of a mental illness’, but “a state of well-being in which every individ- ual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stress- es of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” So the question becomes how do we get to this ‘state of well-being’? 14