Opinion z10

It is okay to not feel okay

We are going into a week of the MCO 3.0. Well, not a full week yet, but you know how we round up things for simplicity. In this third MCO, there were quite several incidents shared by netizens and articles on major newspaper on the state of mental health. The wellbeing of the mind, so to say.

Is this something new? No, it is not. In fact, from earliest of time, mental illness has been portrayed as being possessed or in need of religion. Hence, there was more story of how ‘patients’ were treated with exorcism and so forth. Those with mental illness were an outcast, creating a stigma those with symptoms to seek help, and to admit to their family and loved ones.

Mental health consists of our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.  The World Health Organization (WHO) defined mental health as “state of wellbeing in which individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.

It can take many forms and can vary from limited interference in our daily life or so severe that a person may need hospital care and medical attention. There are more than 200 types of mental illnesses, but the common ones are Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. During the Covid-19 pandemic, it was reported the mental health has been greatly affected. More people are reaching out to seek help through helpline like Talian Nur or Befrienders, clinics and NGO. Some said it is due to the economic shock, like sudden job losses, business unable to operate and family problems. It is not a surprised as the majority of Malaysian are already in a fragile state, with daily income or survive from one paycheck to the next.

The most important thing is to acknowledge that you need help if you have shown symptoms of mental health deterioration. Listen to trusted family members, your spouse and your children when they share their feelings, problems and watch for the change in behaviour. Take time to really listen, be in the moment and absorb that realization. Seek help, you are not alone. Communicate more and listen even more. I am sure we can all play our part in handling mental health issue. We just need to take the first step.

Infographics credit to: www.myhealthmylife.com.my