What is Mental Health? by Tanya Fisher

Some of the confusion regarding mental health is that the term covers such a wide range of issues.

In a nutshell, Mental Health refers to a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is how people think, feel and act as well as their ability to cope with the stresses of daily life, how they bounce back from those stresses and how they engage in the world around them.

Mental health, like our physical health, is an important aspect of our overall wellbeing. It helps to think of it as a moving continuum. Everyone, every day is working on their own mental health continuum and are in different places.

The most common mental health issues people deal with in Australia are depression, anxiety. Generally, these are situational and can be worked through using talk therapy, such as CBT, with a qualified clinical counsellor or psychologist. Sometimes when we just feel wrong and go to the GP, who then diagnoses that what we have been dealing with is a mental health issue and prescribes medication. They might also recommend talk therapy with a psychologist or clinical counsellor.

Then there is the other dimension of Mental Health which are the disorders. These are diagnosed by a medical practioner such as a GP, Psychologist, or Psychiatrist. Often people have been working with their practioner for some time to make this assessment. A disorder can be defined as ‘a clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with a person’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities’ (COAG Health Council 2017). There are many layers to each of these and they are generally classified as anxiety disorders, affective disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders.

Beyond Blue statics show that around 3.3 million Australians are living with anxiety while 1.5 million live with depression. Every one of these people will be in a different place on their Mental Health continuum. Impacts to this can be how they feel physically and emotionally and what stories they are telling themselves at that moment.

There is no one size fits all answer for mental health however what we do know is that early intervention leads to the best long-term outcomes! Having a conversation with someone about how your feelings are important, even if it is a little uncomfortable. You just need to start talking, it could be to a family, friend, GP, or a fellow Chamber Member – just talk and let them help you. If you just cannot tell someone then know there are great online and telephone support available from groups such as Beyond Blue, Ahead for Business and Business Wellness Coaching. There are also many private therapists, of which I am one, who are qualified to support you through this.

Do not hesitate to reach out to me to chat about any of the available resources, information, or support services that might be beneficial to you and your employees. I am happy to help you as you start your mental health journey.

Warm regards,

Tanya Fisher
Redcliffe Counselling
0487 844 603

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