Some Factors that can affect your mental health
Good mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. It can be seen as a state of mental health that allows one to flourish and fully enjoy life.There are a number of factors in life that can have an impact on our mental health. These factors can either pose a risk to, or protect, your mental health and well being. Everyone is different and we all live in varying circumstances. Risk and protective factors are also different for everyone and change over your lifespan e.g. child, teenager, adult or older adult.
This is the value we place on ourselves, our positive self-image, and our sense of self-worth. People with high self-esteem generally have a positive outlook and are satisfied with themselves most of the time.
Unemployment or loss of business
Unemployment, redundancy, loss of a business, large investment losses or other financial loss can have a negative impact on your mental health. In these circumstances, it is normal to experience a range of emotions and problems including:
- Difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep
- Anger, irritability, frustration, shock, sadness, etc
- Feelings of embarrassment or guilt
- Distancing yourself from others and not socializing as much as usual
- Loss of direction, feeling overwhelmed, anxious, powerless, or fearful.
For most people, these feelings decrease or disappear with time. To manage these, try the following tips on ways to look after your mental health and well being. However, if after trying these tips, these feelings still don’t seem to be going away and they’re impacting your life, you may find it helpful to talk to someone you trust or your GP.
Looking after yourself
Looking after your mental health and well being will help you manage the stress and worry of unemployment or business loss. There are simple and practical things you can do to look after your mental health and well being during this time.
Take it one day at a time
These situations can make you feel like there is too much to cope with all at once. Focus on the here and now and trust that you will have what it takes to cope with tomorrow. Plan your day so that at the end of it you will feel you have achieved something, however small.
Stay positive and keep up your energy
It can be helpful to focus on the future and the things that are within your control. There are things you can do to help you move forward, such as:
- Maintaining a regular daily routine can provide many benefits such as a sense of greater control of things in your life, a sense of purpose and assist in maintaining focus on important things. It also allows you to build time into your day to maintain your mental health and well being.
- Making a job search plan.
- Writing a list of activities or little things you can do that make you feel good.
- Writing a list of the positive things you’ve achieved, skills you have and things you’ve done well.
- Rather than worrying about things you can’t control, work out a list of things you can do such as learning new skills to improve your employment options.
- Understanding your sexuality can be confusing. Homophobia and trans-phobia can lead to specific stresses for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, intersex and/or questioning (LGBT) people. Along with this, young LGBT people not only have to deal with the normal stresses of growing up but may also experience other stresses like isolation, name-calling and bullying. These stresses can have a negative impact on mental health.
- Most people know they are LGBT for some time before they tell others.
- When considering coming out, you may be afraid that family and friends will react negatively. Coming out can be challenging and put a strain on your mental health. However, some people get a positive and supportive response from family and friends and feel happy that they made the decision to come out.
- Family Breakup or Loss
Separation or divorce or the loss of a parent or sibling is extremely painful. Finding ways to cope and adjust to the changes wrought by these events is critical for everyone, but particularly for youth. How grief is handled can affect young people negatively for years to come. If children are having difficulty coping, professional help is recommended.
- Physical illness
Diseases, injuries and other physical problems often contribute to poor mental health and sometimes mental illness. Some physical causes (such as birth trauma, brain injury or drug abuse) can directly affect brain chemistry and contribute to mental illness. More commonly, poor physical health can affect self-esteem and people’s ability to meet their goals, which leads to unhappiness or even depression. In such cases, receiving the best possible treatment for both the physical problem and the resulting psychological consequences is key to optimal recovery to good mental health.
Bullying is when a person is repeatedly and intentionally subjected to verbal, physical and/or social behavior that causes physical and/or psychological harm.Bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere. It can be in schools, at home, at work, in online social spaces, via text messaging or via email.
There is a national definition of bullying for Australian schools that says:
Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical, and/or social behavior that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert). Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.
- Alcohol and other drug use
During difficult times in life, people sometimes turn to alcohol or other drugs to help them cope. There is a strong link between alcohol and other drug use and mental health issues.People may use alcohol and other drugs as a coping mechanism for their mental health issues.
Alcohol and other drug use can also cause anxiety, depression, paranoia and psychosis in those people who have a vulnerability to mental health issues.
Alcohol and other drug use changes the way you behave, feel and make decisions. Whilst someone may use alcohol or other drugs because they think it makes them feel better in the short-term, they actually can leave you feeling worse in the long-term, especially if you already have an existing mental health issue.
Alcohol and other drug use can impact your mental health in a number of ways. This includes:
- Affecting your mood in the longer term
- Impacting on other coping skills
- Affecting relationships
- Undermining self-esteem
- Increasing the likelihood of self-harm and suicide in those at-risk.