Using psychological support services such as therapy, counselling or assessments is not a sign of weakness or a luxury. Accessing psychological services might make all the difference between timely assistance to improve Quality of Life and the escalation of serious problems.
When told that health is a priority, we automatically think of our physical health. The four major non-communicable diseases that account for 63% of deaths worldwide are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes. They share common risk factors: tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol. All these risk factors are closely related to lifestyle and behaviours.
It is time that we paid the same attention to our mind and our mental well-being. Consider the following facts from the WHO’s Fact File (World Health Organization, 2009):
- Mental disorders are among the risk factors for communicable and non-communicable diseases.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
- On average about 800 000 people commit suicide every year. More than half of the people who kill themselves are aged between 15 and 44. Mental disorders are one of the most prominent and treatable causes of suicide.
- About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14.
- Stigma about mental disorders and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care.
Depression and many other mental disorders and conditions are treatable. Suicide is an unnecessary and preventable cause of premature death. Chronic stress from major life events and personality traits such as impatience or excessive competitiveness has been related to higher incidence of strokes. People can be taught effective ways to reduce and manage stress and enhance their coping. Other disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Bi-polar Disorder cause much distress and loss of productivity, but can be effectively managed and treated with appropriate evidence-based approaches.
Using psychological support services such as therapy, counselling or assessments is not a sign of weakness or a luxury. Accessing psychological services might make all the diference between timely assistance to improve Quailty of Life and the escalation of serious problems.
Speak to a psychologist or mental health professional if you have a concern regarding your mental health or wellbeing or that of a loved one.