What do we talk when we talk about mental health


The title of this post comes from the short story collection “What do we talk when we talk about love” by Raymond Carver.

In this day and age does it really make sense separate body from mind? Because mental health is not just scary illnesses or those that can be wrongly perceived as mere weaknesses. It’s also prevention, well-being practices and actively working as a society to reduce the stigma and be more inclusive.

When we talk about mental health it’s usually like an epidemic, with depression on the rise around the globe and becoming the leading cause of disability worldwide. Their numbers illustrate a worrisome reality: we can be busier than ever, we more information and resources in the tips of our fingers but that is not making us necessarily happier.

The truth is mental health is very subjective and complex and the human life is made of very shades and moods. It can be stimulating, flow easily and full of smiles but it can also be filled with loss, shortcomings and disappointments.

We can choose to see the glass half full or half empty, depending from our perspective. Our mantra can be either be “Life is beautiful and abundant” or “Life is hard and unfair”. Both can be true, at different times and sometimes it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you.

Just because you are feeling sad doesn’t mean automatically you are depressed and you need medication. But you have to always watch out for your well being and make sure you take care of yourself because if this turns out to be something more serious, you will need further support to properly address the illness.

The lens through which we perceive life dictates a lot of our reactions. We may not control what happens to us and that can bring a lot of anxiety, confusion and stress but we have power over ourselves: how we behave and how we act.

So, when we talk about mental health it is the very fiber that makes us who we are, as humans. To fall, get up again and keep reaching.


Paula Gouveia