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Written by Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, medal of honor allied assult patches TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “mental health”? This Instagram graphic expertly breaks down the difference between our misconceptions and the reality…     

Back in the bad old days, we rarely spoke up about our mental health – in fact, we rarely used to speak about our personal battles with emotional wellness at all.

Thankfully, it has now become far less taboo to do so; indeed, countless people in the public eye have used their spotlight to speak up about anxiety, depression, stress, burnout, PTSD, and countless other topics that they have seen themselves affected by. And, more importantly, this increased dialogue around mental wellness has paved the way to better understanding and empathy. 

Still, though, the term “mental health” remains confusing to many people, as they instinctively tend to associate it with a disorder or illness. And that’s why mental health advocate Jo Love has shared an Instagram post exploring what it actually means.

Check it out:

As the graphic makes all too clear, our “mental health” isn’t just composed of negatives; it’s everything that impacts who we are and how we’re feeling in ourselves at that time; think relationships, self-image, political identity, sensuality, emotions, community, physical health, and so much more.

Indeed, it is worth noting that The World Health Organisation defines “mental health” as being “not just the absence of mental disorder” but “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.”

As Love explains to Stylist: “We wouldn’t hear ‘physical health’ as ‘physical illness,’ so we shouldn’t do this for mental health either; it is about so much more than mental illness.”

Love continues: “All of our mental health exists on an ever-fluctuating continuum, from the absence of mental illness through to mental wellness, throughout our lives.

“It is far more complex and interconnected than people often think.”

It is an important distinction, and one that is well worth remembering, especially as we move forward in our ongoing conversations around mental health. And so, if adapting to the new world of work is taking its toll on your mental health, Stylist’s Work It Out campaign, supported by Mind, aims to give you the tools and resources you need to take care of your mental health at work. 

It is important to acknowledge the many facets of mental health.

From completing your Work 5 A Day to dealing with issues including anxiety, loneliness and stress, we’ll be exploring all aspects of work-related wellbeing, whether you’re working from home, adopting a hybrid arrangement or planning on going back to the office full-time.

For more information, including how to complete your Work 5 A Day, you can check out our guide to getting started.

Jo Love’s debut book, Therapy is… Magic: An Essential Guide To The Ups, Downs, And Life-Changing Experiences Of Talking Therapy, is available to buy for £13.94 from Bookstore.org now.

Images: Getty

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