"You can't have one without the other"

Google the word "mental health" and you will find numerous organisations and groups promoting the importance of mental health, however we think understanding the difference between "mental health and wellbeing" and "mental illness" is important.

Mental Health week is the 5th to 12th October and the theme for 2014 is:

  • Celebrate the positives in your life
  • Connect with others
  • Grow and expand your horizons and try something new.

Mental health and wellbeing encompasses all aspects of our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. A lot of the information out there indicates that having good mental health is the ability to deal with life's challenges and changes, maintaining positive relationships, enjoying life and getting the life balance right.

Mental illness is a health problem that affects how we think, behave and interact.  It is diagnosed according to standardised criteria. Some of the major types of mental illnesses are anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar, personality disorders, and depression.

While I agree with a lot of this information, what if I was in a period in my life where life was not so great, I'm not coping and the challenges and changes are starting to become overwhelming. Does this mean I have a mental illness or poor mental health and wellbeing? I think not.

I say this because sometimes it seems in modern society we are almost not allowed to feel pain, show weakness, or not cope as this may be interpreted as there being something wrong with us. A word we at RMHI coin for times like this is being in a state of "Situational Distress".

There are numerous life challenges that come our way that can cause us distress such as separation, illness, injury, trauma, financial worries, grief, adolescence, fatherhood, midlife, change of job, redundancy and transition into retirement.

What can we do to assist and manage situational distress and get our mental health and wellbeing back into balance?

  • Identify our mates (before it all gets too much. Talk to a Mate!)
  • Program time out from work and normalize the problem
  • Maintain social opportunities,  take time to laugh with others
  • Take a break, go on a holiday, go fishing, try something different, explore your passions and interest.
  • Exercise and keep active
  • Make sure we are getting enough sleep
  • Be willing to talk to the appropriate people
    - Family, friends, our mates
    - Those involved in your business - agronomist, consultant, accountant, lawyer, Rural Financial Counsellor (RFCS), your Employment Assistance Program (EAP)Local counselling and/or support services
    - Telephone helplines Mensline 1300 789 978, Lifeline 13 11 14.

Maintaining a balance and aiming for positive mental health and wellbeing is something we all need to do. We also need to acknowledge that we are all susceptible to the stress of daily life, however staying out of the mud is quite often easier than getting out of it. Our health and wellbeing is our responsibility, be proactive address our distress early and not let it get out of hand.

The Regional Men's Health Initiatve

delivered by Wheatbelt Men's Health (Inc.)
PO Box 768, Northam WA 6401
Phone: 08 9690 2277
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.