Good mental health is vital

Editorial, Normal

The National, Friday October 23rd, 2015

 MANY people find it hard to cope with the pressures of modern living. 

They say every day, a quarter of a million people miss work because of stress, with 75 per cent of all illnesses thought to be stress-related.

 And when times are hard, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And like what Dr Uma Ambi, the Principal Advisor of Mental Health Services at the Health Department has been stressing, the challenge now for everyone is to have good mental fitness is a valuable investment.

Good mental health is vital for our healthy life. 

We have to allow our mind to be free and not to get caught up in a situation that bears little importance to your life; Keep life simple and do enjoy the simple things of life. Mental health is about the way you think and feel and your ability to deal with ups and downs. 

There is more to good health than just a physically healthy body. A healthy person should have a healthy mind. 

A person with a healthy mind should be able to think clearly, should be able to feel good about himself/herself, feel good about another person, enjoy good relations with others and be able to solve the various problems faced in life. 

There should be the feeling of spiritually with oneness and bring happiness to others and in the community we represent.

Well many people in the community talk about mind and body as if they are different and separate. 

In reality there exists a cohesive bond which relates a great deal with each other. Just as the physical body can fall ill without notice, so too can the state of mind. 

This is called mental illness; it affects the person’s emotions, thought or behaviour, which is not shared by their cultural beliefs, personalities and produce negative effects on other person’s life and their families and community. 

Well making simple changes in our life can make a big difference in our physical and mental health.

On Oct 10, PNG like the rest of the world held various activities to commemorate World Mental Health day.

NCD Governor Powes Parkop stressed the importance of mental health promotion, prevention awareness and education is essential to inform people about the disorder.

He told a crowd gathered at Ela Beach to mark the day that the goal of PNG’s National Mental Health Policy was to reduce the number of people who became ill, after and die from mental illness, through protection and promotion of mental health and social well-being, prevention of substance abuse, access to quality care and effective rehabilitation.

The Mental Health Bill 2015 was passed by Parliament recently to address these actions in areas such financing, legislation and human rights, organisation of services, human resource and training, promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, essential drug procurement and distribution, advocacy quality improvement, information system, research and evaluation of policies and services with inter-sectoral collaborations.

Mental Health has been neglected for far too long. It is saddening to say that many of our loved ones are indeed suffering silently with remorse. 

Mental health is crucial to the overall well-being of individuals, societies and countries both at micro and macro environments. 

Today, in PNG there are many physical, social, cultural and psychological factors that are beginning to emerge.  

Some of these common problems that cause such burdens are in the form of cult, disasters, depression, suicide, violence, child and adolescent issues, HIV/Aids, drugs and alcohol, teenage pregnancy and the list goes on.

It is unmistakable that Mental Health Act 2015 will stimulate and initiate many kinds of activities with result driven implementation.  

Mental health promotion, prevention awareness and education is essential to inform people how to identify stress, mental health problems, to know where to seek medical attention and for those in the community to know where 

to refer those who need social and mental health services. 

Access to such support will go some way to reduce the tragedies of trauma, relieve stresses on individuals, communities and protect the lives of people from harming themselves and others.

In Papua New Guinea mental disorders are common.  

There are many individuals knowingly or unknowingly, are suffering in deafening silence in all of these.