Mental Illness And Addiction: The Struggle Is Real
TAKE 2 FOR TRAINING – Part II: Lack Of Understanding
TAKE2 TRANSCRIPT – Part II
Lack of understanding, really, like I think sometimes this isn’t even just judgements or assumptions; sometimes it’s coming in with the best of intentions and just not having the adequate knowledge to properly address somebody or understand where they’re coming from.
So the first thing is just defining what mental health and mental illness are. These are often used synonymously but they’re not the same thing and they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive either. I think the easiest way to kind of explain this right away is just to relate it to physical health. We all have a degree of physical health and that’s kind of easy to understand and, you know, our level of physical health changes on a day to day basis based on several things – weather we’ve got a cold or how well we’re eating and we sort of understand this to be on a spectrum and a continuum that’s dynamic. But we don’t all have a physical illness necessarily. We all have some level of physical health; we don’t all have heart disease. And that would be an illness. And these things can kind of interact with each other. So someone’s physical health just in general deteriorates; maybe that effects how well their heart disease is going. So they’re two separate things but they’re not mutually exclusive and they interact with each other.
And in a similar way we can say the same thing about mental health. We all have some degree of mental health which is basically defined as just basically our general state of well being. How well we’re coping with the stresses of life and how well we’re able to kind of contribute to community and sort of just live our lives. Mental illness, similar to physical illness, is like a medically recognizable disease or illness, and it’s treated in ways that are similar to how we’d treat a physical illness. So that may include medication; that may include like specific therapies. One of the big things I think that’s easy to make a mistake on here is, because mental health and mental illness are so vague and we can’t necessarily see them, it’s easy to sort of fall back on our own experiences of being on the spectrum of mental health and relating to someone with a mental illness based on those past experiences. We’ve experienced poor mental health and we assume that that’s what somebody with a mental illness is going through when it’s a completely different experience that they’re going through and it’s on a completely different spectrum.
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TRAINER: Dr. Ian King, BMSc, MD
SOURCE: Volunteer Training Workshop (2018 03), Edmonton
POSTED: Apr 2018