Mental health – not just “all in your head”

  •   by Medihelp
  •   03 April 2017
  •   612 view(s)

7 April 2017 is World Health Day. Research shows that more people than ever before are suffering from mental illness globally and therefore the World Health Organization has put the spotlight on mental health this year.

Life’s hectic pace and many challenges sometimes take their toll in the form of mental fatigue, which most of us can alleviate with a favourite activity or a good heart-to-heart talk with a trusted friend.

But what happens if you can’t bounce back from this feeling and lose the ability to cope with everyday life? Mental health conditions can vary from mild anxiety to full-blown morbid depression and a range of other ailments that can be just as debilitating as a physical condition if left untreated. Treatment varies according to the diagnosis and can include therapy, medication and/or hospitalisation.

Simple tips for good everyday mental health
  • Talk about it. Build a supportive network of loved ones who will lend a willing ear over a cup of coffee. Just knowing you are loved and supported will help get you through challenging times.
  • Take time. Start and end your day unrushed and do something that addresses your emotional needs, be it meditation or prayer, enjoying a steaming cup of tea on the patio, or taking a long, hot bath – as long as you take the time to nurture yourself.
  • Practise gratitude. Keep a list of things you are grateful for and things that bring you joy. Put it up where you can see it every day and add to it often.
  • Have fun. Try to inject some fun into each day, even if it’s just running barefoot on the lawn with a pet or enjoying the wonder of blowing bubbles with a toddler.
  • Switch off. Set a curfew for checking emails, answering business calls and logging off your PC. Then literally switch off and relax.
  • Take care of your health. Follow a balanced diet, add exercise to your routine and have regular check-ups at the doctor. Also make sure that you get enough rest.
  • Reach out. Look around you and offer support to friends and family who are struggling to cope. This will show someone else that they’re not alone, boost your self-confidence and help you build strong relationships that will contribute to your future well-being.
  • If all else fails, get help. If nothing seems to bring back your zest for life and you feel like you can’t cope, reach out for professional help.

Some of the signs that you might need to consider professional help
  • Withdrawal from social interaction and loss of interest in activities that you once considered to be fun
  • An unusual drop in your ability to function normally in everyday situations
  • Problems with logical thought, memory, concentration and speaking
  • Heightened sensory sensitivity
  • A feeling of being disconnected from yourself and your surroundings
  • Unusual nervousness and paranoid thoughts
  • Drastic changes in your sleeping patterns and appetite
  • Mood swings

If you experience any or a combination of these symptoms and suspect that you are suffering from a mental health condition, discuss it with your GP and ask him/her to refer you to an appropriate mental healthcare professional such as a psychologist or psychiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and advice regarding appropriate treatment.

Will your medical aid pay for treatment?
Your benefits for treatment of a mental health condition depend on your Medihelp benefit option. When you join Medihelp, ask your adviser to assist you in selecting a benefit option that offers benefits that suit your specific needs. Please complete your details in the fields under “get a quote today” to speak to a Medihelp accredited adviser about Medihelp’s product offering.
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