“To “call a spade a spade” is to speak honestly and directly about a topic, specifically topics that others may avoid speaking about due to their sensitivity or embarrassing nature.” Wikipedia
Many avoid speaking about “mental illness” by using the term “mental health” as a euphemism, undoubtedly due to the stigma attached to the first term. For instance, if you search Google for “mental health” you will find thousands of references relating to “mental illness.” Good luck in finding the few that actually refer to mental health!
Another contributor to the confusion may be the lack of understanding as to what mental health actually is. The general perception is that it is simply the absence of mental illness, but this concept is woefully inadequate. Those who have read and understand “Pathways to Mental Health and Anxiety Management” are well aware that there is far more to being mentally healthy than simply being free of mental illness.
Mental health needs to be understood and addressed separate from mental illness since society suffers terribly because of the failure to make this distinction. Lack of success in helping a child learn what it means to be mentally healthy may result in his/her having a compromised self-concept, problematic relationships, an inability to recognize available alternatives or make beneficial choices later in life. The child’s mental health may continue to deteriorate over time to the point where severe antisocial behaviors result and/or a mental illness actually develops.
Those who follow the concept of mental health awareness know that it is never too late to make changes to basic beliefs that are contrary to the inbornintentions, but ideally, parents, teachers and caregivers would be proactive in teaching a child what it means to be mentally healthy. This would avoid problems for the individual and for society in later years.
But what about adults with poor mental health? Regardless of where their mental health falls on a continuum from excellent to poor (everyone’s does), they still have the capacity to understand what it means to be mentally healthy. Those who are willing to move in that direction by changing their basic beliefs to more closely coincide with the inbornintentions will find that they can measurably increase the quality of their life, thereby benefiting themselves, their family, community and society in general.
It will be a good beginning for readers of this blog to call a spade a spade by making an honest assessment of the quality of their own mental health.
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