How do you stay mentally well?

It is good that we are more aware of mental health but what worries me is the danger of more and more labelling and medicalising.  What I dream of is an acceptance of difference that does not have a cut off between mentally ill and mentally well but that we live in societies where all our needs are met in such a way as to keep us all well. 

I remember being on a course about psychopathology run by a psychiatrist.  The first thing he did was give us all an assessment to do and then grouped us according to the scores that put us into mental health categories as defined in DSM1V.  Believe me, especially in a group of psychotherapists, we all had at least one category that we scored in. He then said - OK so you have these traits and symptoms but none of you would say you were mentally ill.  So how do you stay well? For me that is the essence of mental health.  How do you stay well?  What do you need to stay well?  Some of it is out of our control but there are things that we can all do that would contribute to our wellbeing. This will be different for all of us.

I have recently, after 17 years as a psycotherapist, let go of my psychotherapy practice.  The financial cost of practicing became too great a burden for a small practice like mine but I am not done with supporting people as they strive to stay well. Helping them to stay on track and find ways to be the best version of themselves they can be. 

I got an invoice this morning and the royal mail had stamped “Supports Mental Health Awareness” on it.  Lets not let that be about a them and us but an us.  We are all different, our differences make us who we are.  Lets support one another to feel good about being who we are.

 

Just as we need to eat a balanced diet to stay physically well - we need to lead a balanced life to stay mentally well. You can take a moment to discover the things that are important for your mental wellbeing.  Can you make more space in your life for these things? What would life be like if you could? What help do you need to be able to do more of what keeps you well?