We need to stop assuming that there are those who are mentally ill and those who are not and recognize that all of us lie on a continuum of mental health.
In the time of COVID19, people are rediscovering how important our mental health is. They are recognizing how social distancing and isolation, while important for slowing the spread of a virus that plagues our bodies, can negatively impact our mental health. There is a new awareness and new conversations around how to stay mentally healthy. As in so many aspects of our everyday life, COVID19 has changed our awareness of how we must not take our mental health for granted.
It is important for us to take this new awareness and to reconsider how we talk about mental health in ourselves and our communities. We need to stop assuming that there are those who are mentally ill and those who are not and recognize that all of us lie on a continuum of mental health. Some people struggle day to day with managing their mental health, other people struggle only occasionally in their lives, but every single one of us must nurture our mental health just as we nurture our physical health.
It has always amazed me that we will turn to someone with cancer or heart disease and support them in their struggle to regain their health, while at the same time as we turn away from someone who is struggling with depression or anxiety. We have assigned a shame to mental health that is unjust and sad. Just as someone struggles with diabetes or high blood pressure there are people who struggle with chronic mental health issues. And just like our physical disease, our mental health diseases can take many forms, with some being severe and some being less severe and more easily treatable.
COVID19 has helped us recognize that mental health is a part of human health, it is time we make sure we fully integrate mental health care and treatment into our health care system.