I think it’s important for me, and for you, to understand mental health for me and why I’m so excited about The Mind and Body Project. This is my warning, my disclaimer, that I have no guarantee of a solution, no qualification and no authority on which to base my views and advice. But don’t let that put you off! I do have experience and a passion. I have spent years trying to understand my own mental health and doing what I can to preserve it. I’ve had my own struggles and for the most part I keep them under control. And hey, I’m good at thinking so I’ve done a LOT of that too. I’ve done research and I love trying new things to keep my mental health on track – or bring it back on track. I’ve struggled with mental health illness and I’m passionate about mental health wellness.
So what even is mental health? The health of your mind perhaps? Sounds simple and surely something that’s easy to talk about. We’ve become so obsessed with only ever using this term when preceding the words ‘issue’ or ‘illness’. I don’t understand that. I want us to start talking about mental health wellness. That’s the change that I’m excited about and that I’ll work hard to pursue.
I should make it clear that I’m not saying that any mental illness is simple. I also believe it is important to talk about mental health illness and I’m not afraid to do so. But, there is a distinction between mental illness and mental wellness and it’s important to consider them both.
Could it be the case that isolating mental health in the sphere of mental illness has created the taboo that people are working so hard to overcome? If I told you I was working with a therapist or a counsellor or life coach, would you presume I have a mental health illness? My guess is that you would. Unless we weren’t in the UK perhaps. It certainly wouldn’t be something I’d want to share with an employer for fear of them jumping to conclusions. Yet, if I told you I was seeing a personal trainer would you presume I struggle with obesity? If I had a personal trainer, I’d probably put that on my CV.
So I’ve drawn the distinction and for now I want to talk about mental wellness. This is what The Mind and Body Project is all about. I want to share with you all the ways in which the wellness industry can help you look after your mental health and I want players in the field to start promoting these benefits of their products and services. I want us to be open about mental health and to share with each other tools to help keep our minds healthy or to get them back on track when they’re not healthy.
The wellness industry is booming. In the last few years the industry has exploded. Amidst so many scare stories and statistics surrounding obesity it’s not surprising there has been a focus on healthy eating and weight loss. So what next? I truly believe the future of the wellness industry is in mental health and I want to get the ball rolling. The US and Australia are leaps and bounds ahead of us here in the UK and we have some catching up to do– I suppose it’s not very British to talk about our health at all but it’s important that we do.
I’m really excited about the future of mental health. People are recognising the importance of talking about mental health and sharing experiences. There are some powerful campaigns to shake up the NHS’ approach to mental health and employers are slowly realising their responsibility to take mental health seriously. I fully support all of this but I haven’t seen the start of any change in the wellness industry. There is such a long way to go and I hope that The Mind and Body Project can have some impact on making a change.
There are so many inspiring people out there and some exciting health and fitness concepts. Look out for my next post where I’ll share with you my favourite brands and products which help me to keep my mind healthy and feeling my best. But for now, let’s take a different perspective. Let’s think about mental wellness as well as mental illness.