We’re halfway through Mental Health Awareness Week, and a record number of Kiwis have already taken part in this global movement. From an interactive mural painting in Dunedin, to a kaumātua-led hikoi to the summit of Matukutureia and a nationwide Wellbeing Photo Challenge supported by Nikon and Shakti Mat, it is encouraging to see more and more people stepping up and stepping out to talk about this social stigma.
In 2017, over $9.5 million in Mental Health Claims were paid out by just one insurance provider. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, burning out from work… are just some of the common mental health issues exacerbated by the modern age. Some blame technology or social media, others talk about the poor conditions of city living and the stress of the daily grind. Whatever the reasons, one thing we know for sure – if we don’t do something about it now, more people are going to be affected in the future. It might be ourselves, or a loved one. We can no longer brush away the importance of taking care of our mental health.
The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is clear on the picture going forward: “Nearly 50% of New Zealanders will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, and depression is set to overcome heart disease as the biggest global health burden by 2020.”
What would happen to our families if we suffer from a breakdown and are unable to continue working? What would happen to us if one of our loved ones develop depression and no longer have the energy to get out of bed in the mornings, let alone carry out daily activities? The repercussions of mental health issues are felt not just by the person suffering from it. It also affects the lives of those around them. If people depend on you financially, you can make sure they will be protected by getting the right insurance.
Now is the time to prioritize your mental wellbeing by doing things that will keep your heart and mind happy and healthy – such as spending time in nature, practicing mindfulness and connecting with your loved ones. Look after yourself to diminish the chances of experiencing a mental illness, but also make sure you have plans in place for unexpected bumps in the road.