When people think of healthcare, the first things that come to mind are surgeons, doctors, injured patients in hospital beds, or even needles and bandaids. But healthcare doesn’t just stop there. Our well-being stems from within us, and it’s time to redefine mental health and its value to our well-being.
Living life is a lot of work with unpredictable stressors, decisions to make, relationships, and traumatic experiences constantly changing the landscape of who we are. Effective emotional management requires an understanding of and control over one’s emotions. People who are emotionally well are better able to handle stress, form meaningful relationships, maintain a good attitude and avoid burnout. This means they have a more robust capacity to make decisions, tolerate distress, adjust to change, feel good about who they are, operate confidently, and experience greater self-assurance.
If you are not doing any of that well, this blog is for you.
Good emotional, psychological, and social development is vital through all stages of life, from childhood to adulthood. This is known as mental health. The beauty of our emotional experience is it can be supported and protected with skills, the proper support, and changes to our environment.
Redefining Mental Health and What It Means
We often only speak of mental health on the challenging side of the spectrum, such as psychosis, where there is a disconnect from reality, or through the lens of stigma equating mental health to being “crazy” or “weak.” Still, mental health and wellness exist on a spectrum. Mental health impacts how humans think, feel, interact, behave, and handle stress. It’s a complex continuum of Mental health and wellness to mental health disorders that varies from person to person. Meaning everyone has unique vulnerabilities and life experiences that shape their mental health condition.
In this beautifully chaotic world, mental health is a shared human experience, and redefining it from a negative into a perfectly normal human experience is absolutely okay.
The Connection Between Mental Health and Our Silence
There are varying degrees of contributing factors to our mental well-being, such as stress, substance use, brain chemistry, family history of mental health problems, gender, trauma, and abuse, and even a willingness to seek help with the average person waiting over ten years to seek professional help at the onset of a mental health issue.
Some Additional Stats:
Women are more prone to having a mental health disorder than men are, specifically 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely.
More than 80% of Black Americans are very concerned about the stigma associated with mental illness, which discourages them from seeking treatment (1)
Around 1 in 6 people (14.7%) experience mental health problems in the workplace, meaning work is negatively impacting their mental health 
Only 13% of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health in the workplace. 
Mental Health Applies to Us All
Mental illnesses exist everywhere, from home to work and in between, and can range from mild to severe such as feeling like everybody in the room is staring and judging you, also known as paranoia, to hallucinating like people with schizophrenic may experience when they see or hear things that other’s don’t. Even with anxiety, there can be mild worries to where one experiences obsessive concerns about a perceived flaw, or it manifests in forms like body dysmorphia. In some cases, anxiety is professionally disguised as procrastination or perfection.
While it can be scary to think about experiencing challenges with our emotional health, it’s no different than experiencing physical concerns and seeking help from a doctor or engaging in preventative measures to protect your well-being. It is always important to engage in activities or good habits that will change your mental health for the better, and what we know is positive mental well-being is influenced by supportive networks, getting connected socially, doing more of what you love, getting active, and prioritizing self-care.
How Are you Prioritizing Your Mental Health this Summer?
Industry Scholar and College Freshman Valerie Vallejo shares, “This summer, I will be practicing good habits like staying physically active, socially connecting myself with supportive people, and quieting my mind. I enjoy being physically active by going to the gym and playing soccer with my family and friends. By doing so, I am devoting my time to care for my health and look my best because when you look good, you feel good.”
Scholar and recent graduate Keria Emptage reminds us to be social and to check in with family and friends. Valeri adds the benefits of that are you “make new memories, learn about different cultures,” and it’s an opportunity to express yourself “freely, and laugh uncontrollably”. All of the above is excellent medicine for well-being.
As a Psychotherapist and Self Care Facilitator, I always get asked how I care for myself, especially after hearing many client stories. Well, this summer, I plan to be intentional about reconnecting to things I love to do even if it means scheduling it weekly. I am my most present self when I spend time alone (at the beach), get outside to beautiful places like State Parks, and spend time with family doing activities that encourage connection and communication.
Key to improving your mental health is giving yourself permission to actually pause, unplug, and regroup and without guilt.
How long can you keep putting off taking care of yourself? Your mental health depends on it.Kensho Psychotherapy Services
We can’t wait to hear what you will do to protect and nurture your emotional selves for the summer. We’ll be sure to share some more protective tips in future posts, but in the meantime, wishing you a happy and emotionally healthy summer!
Article was put together with support from Industry Scholars Keria and Valerie, who are interning with Kensho Psychotherapy Services of the Summer. We love having them and are grateful for their input on this piece and all they are learning about Mental Health! If you need support in Redefining your Mental Health or need someone to come out and talk to your organization about protecting your Mental Health please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Black Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Mental Health Fact Sheet
compiled by Danielle Leblanc, MSW, Diversity Outreach Resource Specialist, Laurel House, Inc. & www.rtor.org
 The Impact Poor Mental Health Has on People at Spill the Tea https://www.spill.chat/mental-health-statistics/workplace-mental-health-statistics
“University Health Service.” Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health | University Health Service, uhs.umich.edu/tenthings. Accessed 12 July 2023.“What Is Mental Health?” SAMHSA, http://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health. Accessed 12 July 2023.