What is mental health?
Mental health is about our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood.
Stress factors often cause our mental health to deteriorate and the resulting depression is the leading cause of disability in some countries. Mental disorders like bipolar and schizophrenia need to be brought out from the shadows. Destagmitisation of mental disorders is crucial.
What is a mental health advocate?
A mental health advocate raises awareness around mental health and seeks to destigmatise issues around mental health. This is often done by sharing their own personal struggle with a mental disorder.
An advocate brings fresh encouragement and hope to sufferers while seeking to educate and train around mental health issues.
An interactive model for mental health that opens the conversation around healing:
Holy Spirit led healing journey
At the heart of our healing journey is the conscious invitation to the Holy Spirit to initiate and guide the healing process, bringing healing and hope. The Holy Spirit plays a healing role in his own right as well as a restorative role gathering together the other elements of our healing journey: the effects of medical interventions, our therapeutic conversations, conversations with family and friends and our personal journey. Through all these elements, the Spirit constructs a web of insight and understanding that leads to our wellbeing.
Scriptures & prayer
The Scriptures give shape and form to the way we perceive God and how we understand life. Our healing narrative is captured in the gospel story, the redemption of Jesus who saves us and continues to restore us to life. In the Scriptures we discover truths that are deeply personal, encouraging and life giving. The Scriptures breathe the life of the Spirit that leads to authentic, heartfelt prayer. We then discover personal pathways of connecting with God in prayer.
Experience & Identity
The struggle for identity is often a key issue for those struggling with mental health issues. Identity embraces our unique sense of self with specific abilities, under the shadow of our identity in Christ. Our sense of identity develops as we pay close attention to our experiences and as we frame our personal narratives in relation to others in the light of our identity in Christ.
Mental health conditions are ultimately medical conditions that require medical treatment. Many mental health conditions are chronic conditions and require the right combination of medication that best suits the individual’s condition. We do not self medicate with mental heath disorders; it is imperative that we come under the care of a medical professional for assessment and treatment.
Family, friends, church community, people from sport clubs etc, form our community. Depending on the individual, the size of our community varies. Some will need lots of chatter, others need deep conversations as part of the healing process. Effort should always be made to ensure family members are on board and fully understand the nature of the mental disorder. In our communities, health is best restored.