Mental Health in the COVID-19 era

depression

(Sydney Sims, Unsplash)

This article was written for The European Sting by our one of our passionate readers, Sheharyar Akhtar, a 4th year medical student from Sialkot Medical College, Sialkot, Punjab. Pakistan.. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not necessarily The European Sting’s position on the issue.


No one would ever say that someone with a broken arm or a broken leg is less than a whole person, but people say that or imply that all the time about people with mental illness – Ellen R Saks

Do you feel jittery all day from the inside out and have a constant feeling of doom with intrusive thoughts; that run through your mind like a merry go round. Dizziness, vertigo, the feeling as though you’re going to pass out, racing heart – which can race for hours if untreated. Irritability, sweating palms, insomnia, feeling as though a vice is around your neck slowly suffocating you, tremors and facial tics?

(Now that you’ve resolved the threat, you can return to a state of peace)

“Caring for your mental health” is at the forefront of many brands’ messaging right now in an attempt to sell us more products even in the midst of historic economic fallout. Although many of us intuitively know we won’t find mental peace via FoodPanda, it’s hard to articulate what “mental health” truly is.

Let’s talk about what mental health is not: 

Mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness. Many people without symptoms and diagnosis  aren’t exactly mentally healthy; their lives are soaked in stress, rumination, obsession or self-loathing. 

However, a person may have a diagnosis of anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or any other mental disorder – and still be mentally healthy. Infact, many people with mental illness diagnoses are frequently more mentally healthy than those without because they’re forced to maintain a mental health routine to manage their symptoms.

But mental health is also not the same as happiness – for example, a person experiencing a maniac episode or delusion could feel high level of happiness, but their sense of reality endanger themselves or others. However, it’s fair to say most people feel happier when they’re mentally healthy than when they’re not.

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as: ” a state of well-being in which an individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

…I see some problems with that definition. As most grandiose accomplishments can sometimes have the most banal of origins.

Is someone not mentally healthy; if they’re disabled, unemployed or otherwise unable to “work productively” and “make a contribution”? What if they just don’t want to? Do we truly believe the mental health is a reflection of our ability to produce?

The World Psychiatric Association seemed to have the same concerns I listed. In 2015, they challenged the WHO definition in their article “Towards a new Definition of Mental Health”, primarily citing the observation that WHO definition is centered on the values of Western countries. Most places in the world don’t view “productivity” as the be all and end all, much less the single determinant for mental health. To sum up their lengthy definition: mental health is the ability to feel your feelings, good and bad, and to respond to those feelings via healthy coping methods and expression.

The problem with being in a bubble is that it only takes one prick to burst it.

Although a Himalayan salt bath with a Lush face-mask doesn’t automatically make everything better, here is something you can do to look after yourself: Let those closest to you know you’re having a rough time, and tell them what they can do to help you. More importantly – Accept their Help

Moral maze: It’s far “healthier” to look your life in the eye and decide things for yourself – to risk being battered at the hand of the universe, coming out a little weathered on the other side – than sit idly inside and accept what’s delivered to your doorstep with a smile that barely hides that perpetual sinking feeling.

Ride it like a wave.

Think of your mental health as the boat you ride on the seas of life. You aren’t always guaranteed smooth sailing, but a good boat will carry you through the waves, so you don’t drown. Depicted in a very cozy way: a mentaly sane must have a huge heart and a distended aorta through which pumps a vast lake of compassion and human kindness.

About the author

Sheharyar Akhtar is a 4th year medical student from Sialkot Medical College, Sialkot, Punjab. Pakistan.

Join the Hive!

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A neo-liberal toll free Paradise for the super rich and tax hell for wage earners

ECB should offer more and cheaper liquidity if Eurozone is to avoid recession

FROM THE FIELD: Gaza men advocate for an end to early marriage

New rules on drivers’ working conditions and fair competition in road transport

Food safety: New rules to boost consumer trust approved by MEPs

How can we prepare for the post-coronavirus era? A view from Japan

Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate deal is bad for US business. Here’s why.

These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030

Why I stopped taking the lift

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

168 hours left for MEPs – ECOFIN Council to deliver a Banking Union

Fed, ECB take positions to face the next global financial crisis; the Brits uncovered

The vital role played by logistics during humanitarian crises

Girls still being treated as aliens in medicine in the 21st century

COVID-19: ‘Top priority’ must be on containment, insists WHO’s Tedros

Egypt: The road to hell paved with western advices for democracy

As human caravan moves through Mexico, ‘full respect’ needed for national control of borders: UN chief

Millennials are transforming African farming

World Bank downgrades global growth forecasts, poorest countries hardest hit

This entrepreneur built an island resort out of plastic waste

Upgraded EU visa information database to increase security at external borders

Sub10 Systems @ MWC14: Bridging the Ethernet of the Future

Wars have rules: 5 things the UN humanitarian chief wants countries to tackle so human suffering in conflict can be minimized

Carbon levy on EU imports needed to raise global climate ambition

Why do multinationals pay women less in developing countries?

Why the ocean holds the key to sustainable development

Germany objects to EU Commission’s plan for a Eurozone bank deposits insurance scheme but Berlin could go along

Seize the opportunities of digital technology to improve well-being but also address the risks

Reform of road use charges to spur cleaner transport and ensure fairness

‘New tech’ business model threatens decent work conditions, warns UN

CEOs in these countries are more likely to go with their gut

New labour laws in Qatar benefiting migrant workers a ‘momentous step forward’: ILO

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “Employment contracts today are a reducing share of the workforce”, scientists worry in Davos that the 4th industrial revolution threatens employment globally

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: Climate-proofing Timor-Leste

A Brussels antithesis reveals where the EU is heading

A new bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable Europe

Here are 5 reasons why the ocean is so important

Parliament: EU27 need €2 trillion recovery package to tackle COVID-19 fallout

Understanding the challenges surrounding COVID-19 vaccine campaign

Want to stop plastic pollution? Start by supporting your local zero-waste business

November infringements package: key decisions

Joint U.S.-EU Statement following President Juncker’s visit to the White House

Why wearing a mask is the most important thing we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19

How personalized care can tackle the late-life loneliness epidemic

Business growth is key to post-pandemic recovery

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth Unemployment

Main results of G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina

A new European banking space is born this year

A top economist shares 3 ways leaders can help economies recover

Trump in London poisons UK and Europe

This project in India is turning PPE into mattresses

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Excise duties: Commission welcomes agreement on rules governing alcohol

The Commission tries to stop the ‘party’ with the structural funds

Hunger and obesity in Latin America and the Caribbean compounded by inequality: UN report

Sponsored content: when QUALITY meets OPEX in manufacturing

Medical workforce migration in Europe – Is it really a problem?

EU solidarity in action: Commission proposes €86.7 million for the recent natural disasters in France and Greece

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a break for nature – let’s make sure there is one after the crisis

The world’s landmine stockpiles in numbers

More Stings?

Advertising

Comments

  1. tanaka_tkzy says:

    Nice Work Sheharyar! This is a good piece of Edutainment.🙌🔥✔ Take care of your mental health too in Pakistan. Don’t medical school pressure swallow you.

  2. I would recommend building you own boat and taking swimming lessons!

    You’re welcome to visit my website.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s