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Remembering Our Mental Health

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

As November arrives, we find ourselves at the intersection of two important themes: Remembrance Day and World Mental Health Day, which occurred on October 10th. While Remembrance Day traditionally commemorates the sacrifices made by veterans, it can also serve as a reminder of the mental health challenges many of them face, particularly those managing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In this article, we will reflect on the significance of these two themes, and hope to emphasize the importance of mental health awareness and proactive approaches to overall well-being.

Understanding Stress

Before delving into the mental health aspects of Remembrance Day and World Mental Health Day, it's crucial to understand stress. Stress is a universal human experience, and the World Health Organization defines it as a response to difficult situations, encompassing both psychological and physiological components. Stress, when balanced and managed, can be a healthy response, alerting us to potential threats and obstacles in our lives.

The Impact of Stress on Mental Health

The relationship between stress and mental health is undeniable. Chronic and severe stress can lead to conditions like General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), a physiological response to prolonged stress. GAS has three stages: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion, each associated with various physical and psychological symptoms. When stress becomes chronic, it can result in severe health problems, including hypertension, cardiovascular issues, and psychological challenges.

The Multidimensionality of Stress

While stress is a common thread that can unite us as humans, it's essential to recognize the complexity of individual experiences, especially in today's diverse world. Stress intersects with various social structures and systems, including family, economics, law, work, school, and culture. These factors can exacerbate stress and create unique challenges for each individual.

Ethical Considerations & Reclaiming Subjectivity When Addressing Stress

Health professionals have a core responsibility to acknowledge and address stress, whether it's related to workplace injuries, discrimination, or other life stressors. Failing to do so can negatively impact an individual's well-being. It's helpful and crucial to adopt a proactive approach by recognizing the diverse sources of stress , impacts of stress, and embracing cultural competence in health management practices. To effectively address stress, it is important to reevaluate how mental health is viewed and interpreted. It is reasonable to deduce that the pursuit of objective measure of mental health can contribute to the neglecting the unique human experience. Perhaps, by reframing and repositioning the subjective components of mental health, we can better understand the unique challenges individuals face and provide more personalized and effective support.

A Global Perspective on Stress

The impact of stress isn't limited to specific professions or populations;recent research has shown that stress has become even more pronounced in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Professionals across various fields, including healthcare, have reported increased rates of burnout, anxiety, and depression. It is not unreasonable to classify these findings as urgent markers of the need to address stress management proactively with an all-inclusive worldview.

As we approach Remembrance Day in November, let us remember not only the sacrifices made by veterans but also the mental health challenges they and many others face. World Mental Health Day in October serves as a vital reminder of the importance of proactive mental health care. Stress is a universal experience, but its impact can be mitigated through increased awareness, cultural influence awareness, and an invitation to make room for unique individual experiences. By doing this, we can co-create effective stress management strategies and improve overall well-being one unique person at a time. Let us remember not just in November but throughout the year that mental health matters, and it's something we must collectively address.

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