The prevalence of poor mental health and mental disorders has been increasing globally over the past few decades. Unfortunately, those struggling with mental health issues are facing challenges in accessing the support they require. Many are left waiting for months for treatment, while some do not even qualify for it.
While it's clear that more needs to be done to improve access to treatment, individuals can take steps to maintain their mental health and even prevent mental health problems from developing.
Recent research has revealed that one of the simplest steps that individuals can take to improve their mental wellbeing is to believe that they can do something to keep mentally healthy.
According to a study of 3,015 Danish adults, those who believed that they could do something to keep mentally healthy had higher mental wellbeing than those who lacked this belief. Interestingly, this was the case even when respondents had not taken any action to improve their mental health.
One possible explanation for this link between belief and better mental health is the "wellbeing locus of control", which is a psychological concept.
Individuals with an internal wellbeing locus of control believe that their attitudes and behaviour control their wellbeing, whereas those with an external locus of control think that their mental wellbeing is mainly controlled by external factors or circumstances. The former group may subconsciously influence their outlook, lifestyle, and coping mechanisms, which may affect their mental health. Previous research has linked this type of belief to fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress.
This finding has enormous preventative potential as a high level of mental wellbeing is associated with a 69-90% lower risk of developing a common mental disorder.
The ABCs Of Improving Mental Health
There are many simple things that people can do daily to support and improve their mental health, such as the Act-Belong-Commit campaign. The campaign provides a research-based mental health "ABC" that can be used by everyone, regardless of whether they are struggling with a mental health problem or not.
The ABCs are:
1. Action: Keep physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually active by engaging in activities such as going for walks, sticking to a skincare routine, reading, playing games, or taking up a hobby.
2. Belong: Keep up friendships and close social ties, participate in community events, and spend time with other people.
While improving access to mental health treatment is essential, individuals can take steps to maintain their mental health and even prevent mental health problems from developing. Believing that they can do something to keep mentally healthy is associated with higher mental wellbeing, which has enormous preventative potential. It is critical that people have tools that help them to support and maintain good mental health, especially given the current mental health crisis.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and at MyTreat, we're dedicated to providing helpful resources to those struggling with mental health issues. Through our blog, we aim to provide informative articles on various types of mental health problems and ways to overcome them. However, if your problems persists, we highly recommend speaking to a professional. What we do offer professionally are monthly self-care subscription boxes designed to help you take care of yourself and prioritise your mental wellbeing. These boxes also make an excellent gift for someone who could use a little extra care and support.