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Mental Health affects everyone

Mental health affects everyone. To create more inclusive spaces for folks to take care of their mental health we need to start with how we talk about and define mental health.

Illustrations of people taking care of mental health

While we have seen efforts to reduce the stigmatization of mental health, it continues to be misunderstood and something that some individuals, communities, and systems look at as an issue that the person needs to “fix”own their own.

The way we talk about and define mental health influences if and how folks find opportunities to care for their mental health. We see mental health care goes beyond the medicalized model of care that is prominent in the US, and includes everything from Indigenous healing practices, nature focused practices, body work and energy healing, the use of psychedelics, to the various different psychotherapy approaches. The debate over what constitutes mental health is long standing and involves diverse groups within the medical, legal, political, educational systems and within fields such as psychology, social work, to communities of individuals who are directly impacted by these definitions yet may not have much of a voice in these discussions.



mental health affects everyone and how its defined matters

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community. “ The American Psychological Association (APA) defines mental health as “a state of mind characterized by emotional well-being, good behavioral adjustment, relative freedom from anxiety and disabling symptoms, and a capacity to establish constructive relationships and cope with the ordinary demands and stresses of life.”

We believe that these definitions can be limiting and tend to reinforce a narrow viewpoint that emphasizes productivity as an important measure of mental health. This perspective raises questions about whether someone who doesn't meet these societal expectations is automatically labeled as having a mental illness.

As mental health care has become increasingly intertwined with the health insurance industry, the definition of mental health has shifted towards focusing on individual symptoms, impairments, and symptom reduction. This emphasis is driven by the requirement of insurance companies to deem services as "medically necessary" in order to provide coverage.

We advocate for a broader understanding of mental health that considers the intersection between biology, psychological, and social-environmental factors like the biopsychosocial model. We find this this perspective involves examining how what may be labeled as "symptoms" could actually be understood as potentially coping mechanisms developed in response to systemic oppression. Furthermore, it's crucial to recognize and incorporate cultural perspectives on mental health, mental illness, and mental wellness. Cultural systems play a significant role in shaping our understanding and definitions of these concepts, and failing to acknowledge them can lead to a limited and potentially harmful view of mental health.

Systemic oppression and mental health

Over the years, there has been more studies and discussions about the impact of both systemic oppression such as institutionalized racism, discrimination, fatphobia, homophobia, transphobia and how this impacts the mental health of individuals and communities of Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+2S, adoptee, immigrant, disabled, amongst others and their health care experience.

Some of the effects of systemic oppression and mental health include, but not limited to:

DECOLONIZING MENTAL HEALTH "dismantles the racism that underscores the mental healthcare industry. By focusing its gaze on the transformative work of therapists and individuals of color, it calls for a redressal of the ways in which we define psychiatric illness and health. Through 20 profiles, the digital series discusses what a more responsive mental health care system should look like."

expand the definition of mental health to be more inclusive

When discussing mental health with friends, family, and on social media, it's important to promote understanding and support. If you notice your school or workplace sharing content that contributes to the stigma surrounding mental health, don't hesitate to provide feedback. Your voice matters, and speaking up can help create a more inclusive environment.

At the same time, if you come across content from your school or workplace that promotes an inclusive message about mental health, let them know! Positive reinforcement can encourage continued efforts to break down stigma and promote acceptance. Additionally, if you discover resources that you believe could benefit others, share them. Whether it's articles, hotlines, or support groups, spreading the word can make a real difference in someone's life. When seeking out mental health providers, don't be afraid to ask them how they prioritize inclusivity in their approach to mental health care.

If you are interested in learning more about our mental health services, please schedule a free initial consultation appointment to talk more about working together. We have immediate openings for new clients.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as healthcare advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a healthcare professional-patient relationship. We do our best to keep information accurate and up to date, however mistakes do happen, and we cannot make guarantees regarding the accuracy of our information. We are not liable for any information on this website or your reliance upon it.


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