Part 2: Why mental health matters to us

by Rebecca Wagner, PhD on May 22, 2013 · 1 comment

in mental health

"Mental illness"In “Part 1: Why mental health matters to us,” I explained that Menninger has recently “adopted standards of behavior that are intended to guide our actions and promote a culture of excellence. This month the Psychology discipline was charged with bringing attention to one standard: ‘We are linked to one another by a common purpose: serving our patients and our community.'”

In that post, four Menninger psychologists shared their views on why mental health matters. Now, I’m pleased to introduce you to some other psychologists from Menninger who have weighed in on this topic. After you’ve read their views, please take a moment to share yours with us and comment on the post. We all welcome the chance to discuss the importance of mental health and how best to fight the stigma of mental illness.

When it comes to matters of mental health – such as our capacity for adaptation, managing stress, finding purpose, or relating to others – we deal with what is personal and universal. Recognizing we are all in this together can reduce the stigma surrounding matters central to us all. Michael Groat, PhD, director, Professionals in Crisis Program

Wake up and brush your teeth. Shower. Drive in traffic and show up on time for a meeting. Eat lunch. Finish your work. Wind down at home. Talk to your family and friends. Sleep restfully. Without mental health, these seemingly mundane tasks seem like insurmountable obstacles or unattainable luxuries. We are linked to our patients and to each other by a universal wish to be content with our lives and free from emotional pain. Mental health matters because it allows us to experience life as an opportunity to enjoy, versus a burden to be suffered. Vanessa Salazar, PhD, Compass Program for Young Adults

How someone experiences himself or herself as a person – as valuable or not, as broken or not, as competent or not, as lovable or not – these things are at the heart of mental health. The self must be nurtured and protected and repaired if necessary in order for someone to truly live fully in the world. Flynn O’Malley, PhD, director, Compass Program for Young Adults

Children and adults need to play. They need space in their minds for the kind of play that allows dreams and stories to unfold naturally. By promoting positive mental health, we create a protected “space,” a place where we can feel silly and laugh. Play brings joy and when we play with others, we are reminded that we are not alone in this world. Jennifer Crawford, PhD, Adolescent Treatment Program

I’m reminded of our humanity, how each one of us has hopes and dreams, fears and struggles, serious and playful sides. When a teenager sits with me and shares these things, I’m sometimes awestruck by how much courage it takes to really allow oneself to be vulnerable and human. Sandy Soenning, PhD, Adolescent Treatment Program

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Victor June 2, 2013 at 10:18 am

I really like these perspectives on mental health. As a social worker, focusing in HIV/AIDS, crisis pregnancy, miscarriage, and post-abortion counseling, I know these statements to be true. They really highlight the central importance of mental health both to daily functions important to living but also to daily inspirational spaces which allow us to be creative, dream, and move to different places and roads in our life paths. It’s integral for movement.

In a nutshell, for me, mental health deals with emotional health, spiritual health, and physical health as well. They are actually all inextricably linked to one another. Mental health infiltrates and affects you holistically. It’s best to make sure this is a positive influence.

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