Mental health matters

Mental health is the state of the mind. It is essential for general well-being and for a quality life. Being in good mental health means finding a balance between all aspects of existence: the physical, psychological, spiritual, social and economic. Mental health therefore means much more than simply the absence of mental illness.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 in 4 people will experience mental problems at some point in their lives.
  • 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. Rates are especially high among girls and young women.
  • Every year around 800,000 people commit suicide. This is almost twice as many as the number of people who die from malaria. (This is a calculation by the WHO).
Sasha Freemind | Unsplash

Mental problems are characterized by chronic or recurrent functioning of thoughts, emotions, attitudes, and/or relationships with others and cause suffering or disability in one or more aspects of life. The problems can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. Some examples are: isolation, sleeping problems, suicide thoughts, crying, stress, panic attacks, unexplained physical problems… Over time, this can cause mental disorders. It may then be necessary to seek help.

Mental health among young people in Belgium

In Belgium there is a red nose day every year. Over a certain period money is collected for projects that make young people mentally stronger, especially in schools. Everyone can do their bit for Red Nose Day. How? Very simple: by organizing cool actions to raise money for the Red Noses Fund. At the end of the edition, the money goes to organizations. In 2016, 4,103,677 euros were collected and with most of the money, five ‘OverKop houses’ were
established: An OverKop house is a place where young people and young adults can stay in a nice, relaxing at-mosphere, which makes it easier to discuss problems. If necessary, low-threshold support and help can be offered to young people who need it. In an OverKop house, young people can just drop in to do activities together, but they
can also find a listening ear and professional therapeutic help. It has been able to offer many young people a second home, a place where they can be themselves and meet new people. Because of the success and the large walk-in in the
houses, they have decided to place another 25 houses, so there would now be 30 houses where the young people can go.

When you’re struggling, it’s not always easy to keep thinking. Here are some tips!

Tips for yourself

  • Bring structure to your days, for example, getting up at the same time every day.
  • A healthy lifestyle helps you stay mentally fit. Eat healthy and get enough sleep and exercise.
  • Talk about your emotions. Don’t bottle them up.
  • Write down all your thoughts so it goes out of your head. Then you can -if you want- tear it up.

Tips for loved ones

  • Don’t listen, ask and judge.
  • Accept it as it is.
  • Ask if your loved one wants to talk or would rather do something else: for example, go for a walk together, listen
    to music or just be quiet and not have to do Anything.

Alex Eykens

Rodeneuzendag: Over Rode Neuzen Dag
Overkop: Wat is Overkop?
World Health Organization: News
Pers Opgroeien: Van 5 naar 30: nieuwe
OverKop-huizen starten op in Vlaanderen en Brussel

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