01 October 2020 | Story Melissa Barnaschone and Lize Wolmarans | Photo Supplied
Student Counselling and Development(SCD), Bloemfontein Campus staff. SCD has offices on all three campuses to provide students with free psychological services such as individual therapy sessions, workshops, developmental programmes, as well as career counselling.

As humans, we tend to neglect making our mental health a priority. October is Mental Health Awareness Month and it is such an imperative campaign, as mental health affects us all. But what is mental health? 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines 'mental health' as a state of well-being, in which every individual –
• realises their own potential;
• can cope with the normal stresses of life;
• can work productively and fruitfully; and
• is able to make a contribution to their community.

Pay attention to your thoughts

For many people, it seems simple and straightforward to take care of their physical well-being, but they forget to spend time on mental health. You are used to brushing your teeth on a daily basis – but do you actually make a daily effort to take care of your mental health? Unfortunately, people are also more comfortable going to see a doctor or pharmacist for medical concerns than to admit that they are struggling emotionally.

If we extend the same level of effort to keeping ourselves mentally healthy, we will reap amazing rewards, such as being able to cope with external pressures, reaching our goals, and increasing overall well-being. 

Therefore, it is vital to pay attention to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviour on a daily basis. You must acknowledge and express your emotions, as this will contribute to maintaining good mental health and have a positive impact on other aspects of your well-being. 

Take a holistic approach

You must take a holistic approach to improving your well-being; you are a holistic being. There are many dimensions to well-being, such as the following:
1. Intellectual 
2. Emotional 
3. Physical 
4. Social
5. Spiritual
6. Financial 

We hope that you feel encouraged and empowered to take the necessary steps to improve your mental health. 

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