14 August 2010

A Healthy Mind

Feeling well is far more about the mind than the body. But what is the mind?

You may hear people talk about mental issues, but do they really mean diseases in the brain, problems in society or just the personal preferences of individuals?

With a general election in Australia this time next week, a healthy mind is a consideration that should be at the forefront of all policy debates, and all personal decisions.

In putting the idea of healthy minds at the centre of decision making, it is more likely that distressing thoughts and experiences will be acknowledged and managed, by those with the power to allocate resources, those who support people in need, and those in need of care.

An official introduction to mental health

An official introduction to mental problems

One of the first things to acknowledge about healthy minds, however, is that the world in which many people live is often unhealthy to both mind and body. In attempting to live a quieter life, away from too many unnecessary stresses, we can more easily enjoy simplicity and harmony. This does not necessarily mean that we have to give up important civic activities, however, just that we must choose the activities that are in accordance with our own physical and mental needs.

The role of governments, and public employees, should be to support healthy minds. This can easily by achieved through a focus on psycho-social support, especially when people experience distress in domestic, neighbourhood and workplace situations.

The legal system is not the place, in most cases, to address distress, and nor is policing. A new approach, taking some of the aspects of social work and some of the aspects of aesthetic understanding can lead to a better, brighter future.

I would be very interested to know what you believe a healthy mind to be. How is such a mind achieved and maintained? What are threats to its wellbeing? And what can be done to ensure society becomes better for both body and mind?

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