We all know that Prevention is better than Cure, but it is especially important for your mental health. Depression is actually now surpass HIV/AIDS, malaria, diabetes, and wars as the leading cause for disability worldwide. 1 out of 5 Canadians suffers from mental illness at some point in their life. So even if you or anyone in your family don’t have a mental illness, most likely somebody you know has it, though they might not want to talk about it.
Educate yourself about toxic stress the same way as lead poisoning. Stress is the initial trigger for a lot of mental illness, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Not all who are exposed to stress would develop mental illness. However, traumatic stress is so exhausting that it takes a lot of your time and energy. When you are involved in a serious car accident, your brain goes to such high alarm that you cannot put it into words, but the horror keeps playing in your head over and over again. The physical manifestation can be insomnia, panic attacks and withdrawals from things you used to enjoy.
With my experience working in mental health field, I found out one extremely disheartening fact: up till now, we still have not found any medication that can cure mental illness completely. Only those that suppress the symptoms. It is kind of different when you take a painkiller for an infection versus antibiotic. It can help you feel better, but it does not do much to treat the underlined disease. It only helps you to feel better at the time you taking it, and that’s why you have to keep taking it. Yet it does not cure the disease. And most likely, you have to take it for the life of the disease, which often is the length of your own life.
So that brings me to a suggestion that I hold dear to my heart: it is more important to do prevention than cure for mental health. The purpose for this blog is to raise awareness about mental health and promote prevention for mental illness. There are still lots to be discovered about mental illness and how to treat it effectively. The best thing we can do right now is to be aware, to do self-care and prevention. Open conversations about mental illness helps erode stigma and make it easier for people to ask for help.