Sat | Jan 16, 2021

Support each other to overcome mental illness

Published:Friday | October 9, 2020 | 12:13 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

Majority of people experience mental health problems at some point in their lives, particularly at these uncertain times of coronavirus and lockdowns which create isolations, loneliness, distress, anxieties and fears.

I believe that mental health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. Intolerance and prejudice are also damaging to us all, as those with mental health problems are less likely to seek timely care and treatment for fear of being labelled and ostracised. Mental health problems affect one in six of us in England at any one time and have huge costs. Mental health is shaped by the environment we live in, so we should ensure our environment protects and promote mental health.

Social networks are protective for mental health. The stronger an individual’s social networks, the less likely they are to develop a range of mental health problems. Physical activities also help. Physical activities like sports, exercises, playing, dancing or walking help to prevent mental health illness. Studies show that physical activities can enhance mood, reduce the likelihood of developing depression and anxiety, and ameliorate the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Violence, abuse, neglect and bullying also cause mental health problems. Negative life events trigger mental health problems. Other traumatic life events involving violence, abuse and threatening behaviours can be prevented. Work-related stress caused by lack of appropriate support from supervisors, colleagues and inabilities to talk about work-related problems can trigger mental health issues.

Good line management, human resources practices that increase employee input and control can help to reduce work-related stress and subsequent mental health problems.

HANDSEN CHIKOWORE

London, United Kingdom

hchikowore@hotmail.com