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Mental health matters: Why counselling is important?

If treating physical injuries is normalised, why not extend the same courtesy to mental, emotional ones?

Most of us have a skewed perception of what counselling is. People mistakenly assume that injuries are almost always visible. Mental health matters because health matters. An emotional injury can affect the body as much as a physical injury. If treating physical injuries is normalised, why not extend the same courtesy to mental, emotional ones?

Mental health matters for one single reason–a healthy mind leads to a healthy body; and health is the wealth that truly matters. Our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing heavily relies on our mental health. What our emotional state is, how stressed we are, whether we empathise with others, the kind of decisions we make, deeply influences every single aspect of our life. It pains me to acknowledge a Lancet study that found how 22.1% of the global population is dealing with severe mental health problems. This statistic doesn’t include the millions around the globe who are struggling with their mental health without any predominant disorder. The problem is significant enough for the World Bank to estimate how$1 trillion is lost annually due to declined productivity caused by mental health imbalances.

Happiness is a state of mind and body. When either is out of balance, our daily life gets directly and indirectly affected. Our thoughts, behaviours and emotions get affected severely if we leave the problem unaddressed.

My primary motivation behind launching a readily available, and certified service like Serefe is the intention to make counselling more accessible. Everyone should have the option to be emotionally healthy; to be more productive and caring members of society. Irrespective of our circumstances in life, we all should have access to counselling services whenever life becomes overwhelming; either professionally or personally. We all need to have healthy relationships and coping mechanisms against any and all adversities.

We all could benefit markedly by talking to a professional, a mental health counsellor. Just like how eating a balanced diet and exercising is prescribed by a general practitioner, counsellors guide us through our woes by making us open up, by making us feel gratitude, and by helping us cope with whatever has broken our spirit.

We can reach out to trusted friends and family to open up. The emotional support definitely helps. That said, mental health remedies aren’t some one-size-fits-all kind of a thing. Different people have different issues and reactions to the same action. A professional understands your emotional fluctuations and trauma and helps you make sense of it all to allow the healing process to begin.

I understand that you might be apprehensive about opening up to a counsellor. Like most unfamiliar experiences, talking to one might seem daunting. However, know that everyone, even seemingly healthy people benefit from mental therapy. Even if you had the best upbringing, relationships and a trouble-free life, something could be lurking under the psyche, choosing to strike when your emotional trigger manifests.

Look, life doesn’t always have to be a struggle. You can lead the perfect life and then out of the blue, you get fired without warning; you get left behind in a relationship; you have something common happen. Your reaction to that, based on how much of a trigger the action was, makes you suddenly hit a wall. You get crippled by anxiety, fear, sadness, panic and/or depression. Counsellors help prevent that. They teach us to cope in spite of our internal struggles.

Pain is a powerful motivator. We incorrectly believe that braving our emotional discomfort for a while will fix things. It might. But what if you don’t get better and your will to survive breaks down? We also think that depression looks like crying in isolation, but anger is one way in which depressed people lash out. These falsehoods will not allow you to recover the way you need to heal.

We all need to understand mental health and therapy better. If we don’t, these conditions end up having lasting consequences on our personal and professional lives. Counselling shouldn’t be your last option. It should be the first because your mental health matters.


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