The month of October has been declared Mental Health Awareness month with the objective of not only educating the public about mental health but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to.

One of the things I have often come across is that people do not often know the difference between mental health and mental illnesses.

Mental health and mental illness are increasingly used as if they mean the same thing but they do not. When we talk about mental health, we’re talking about our mental well-being: our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, our social connections and our understanding of the world around us. A mental disorder or illness affects the way people think, feel, behave or interact with others. There are many different mental illnesses that can have different symptoms that impact people’s lives in different ways. Mental health professionals can provide clinical diagnosis and prescribe medications to help treat the illness.

Just as someone who feels unwell may not have a serious illness, people may experience poor mental health without a mental illness. We all have times when we feel a bit down, stressed out or overwhelmed by something that is happening in our lives. It’s also possible to experience good mental health even with a diagnosis of a mental illness. This is because mental illnesses (like other health issues) can be episodic, meaning there are times of ill health and times of better or good health.

There are steps you can take to maintain good mental health. For example, exercise has been proven to improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, negative mood and social withdrawal and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function.

I know that when I go through stressful situations that I can take care of myself through speaking to a counsellor and meeting with friends. I might book in for a nice massage or spend some extra time doing yoga, exercise and meditation.

Despite some remaining societal stigma, mental health conditions are no one’s fault or a sign of personal weakness. They are illnesses like any other—a sore throat, diabetes, heart disease. And they are manageable and treatable with appropriate care. Please take control of your health and seek help if you are struggling with your mental state. Counselling and other forms of treatment are available and can help.

I view seeing a counselor for ones’ mental well being in the same way as having a personal trainer for physical fitness. It makes good health sense. How many sessions and how often depends on the issue and what works best for you. If you have difficulties such as anxiety, low mood, complex trauma, PTSD, OCD, stress or just want to learn more about yourself, I’m here to help. As a counsellor, I’m able to help increase our understanding of ourselves and how any issues have come about and developed in the first place. This understanding can offer much relief in itself but also help to guide the treatment.

My aim is to offer each person a space where they can feel safe to explore whatever issues they may be experiencing. I like to work together WITH each individual to tailor the approach to suit their needs best.

No one needs to be struggling and certainly not to be struggling alone. If your issues are something I can help with, know that I will do my best to help wherever I can. If I can’t, then I will help you find an alternative. Rest assured, you will be met with care and non judgement.

Please feel free to contact me through my contact page for a confidential chat.