Communication and Mental Health
Let’s be honest. 2021 has been a difficult year. The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives. May it be from being sick from the virus itself, challenges regarding employment or the impacts of lockdowns that affect our ability to be with our loved ones physically.
There is also the ongoing fear and anxiety about the future that comes with the uncertainty of when, if ever, COVID-19 would end.
It is not hard to imagine the toll of COVID-19 on people’s mental health. A study found that during this pandemic, the global prevalence of depression was at 28%, anxiety at 26.9%, 50% for psychological distress and 27.6% for sleep problems (Nochaiwong et al., 2021).
The challenges from this global pandemic are enormous. Despite these challenges, we can all make a positive difference.
This month let us raise awareness of the importance of mental health. As it is ever true, there is no health without mental health. But what is mental health and what does a good mental health looks like?
Mental health is a state in which a person has a positive sense of self and others that enables the person to live meaningfully, purposefully and able to respond to life’s challenges constructively.
Hence, a good mental health is one that enables one to feel positive about themselves, make most of the opportunities around them and feel connected with others.
Good mental health is not merely the absence of any distresses and disorders (Evans, Nizette & O’Brien, 2017; Mental Health Foundation, 2021). Of course, life can be challenging, and it is normal to feel distressed, troubled or worried at times. But even during these difficult times it can seem overwhelming with no end in sight.
When those feelings and thoughts seem to overwhelm there is a way we can help our mental health; Communication.
World Mental Health Day
Communication is part of our everyday life. From having that casual chat to sending letters, to using our phones and especially now the use of online platforms to communicate face-to-face virtually, there are so many ways to communicate now than ever before.
Yet, the core of communication remains unchanged; and that is to be understood. On World Mental Health Day (October 10th), let us communicate to others to understand what their needs are and take interest in their wellbeing.
Ask that simple but powerful question of ‘How are you?’. Let your ‘How are you?’ not be a question to greet, but rather a start of dialogue to seek the wellness of others. Most of the time, when people share their thoughts, it is not necessarily for want of our opinions or solutions but rather to have a genuine listener.
There is healing already that takes place in the act of listening with empathy. Likewise, when we ourselves are not feeling that well, let us communicate our needs to our loved ones. It is equally important for us to seek help and support when we need to. As the wise saying goes, “a joy shared is a joy multiplied, and a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved” and this is only possible when we communicate.
MAPA® & Safety Intervention
Following on from CPI’s MAPA programmes, in the CPI Safety Intervention™ programme, a critical module considers Communication Skills. This module delves into the different components of communication and how we can maximise our communication so we can promote the Care, Welfare, Safety and Security® of others.
Communication is powerful. When utilised effectively, it can empower, encourage and embolden the people around us.
Let’s use World Mental Health Day as a reason to ensure we communicate and carry that on past the awareness events. Let us communicate to seek the wellness of others and make a positive impact on others’ lives. It can be surprising what stories we may hear or things we learn from others when we come from a place of sincerity and openness.
Likewise, there is strength in seeking help and support when things become overwhelming for us. There is help and support available always. Together with CPI, we celebrate with you World Mental Health Day and remember: “A joy shared is a joy multiplied, and a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.”
Evans, K., Nizette, D., & O'Brien, A. (2017). Psychiatric & mental health nursing (4th ed.).
New South Wales, Australia: Elsevier.
Mental Health Foundation. (2021). What is wellbeing. Retrieved from September 27th, 2021, from https://mentalhealth.org.nz/what-is-wellbeing
Nochaiwong, S., Ruengorn, C., Thavorn, K., Hutton, B., Awiphan, R., Phosuya, C.
Wongpakaran, T. (2021). Global prevalence of mental health issues among the general population during the coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Scientific Reports, 11(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-021-89700-8