LIVING IN THE PAST CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION WHILE LIVING IN THE FUTURE CAN INCREASE ANXIETY. AIM TO LIVE IN THE HERE AND NOW!

One in four of us will experience mental health issues during our lives, according to the latest statistics from the UK’s National Institute of Mental Health. These challenges are more common than we think and yet stigma and discrimination are still rife, with mental illness widely perceived as a form of personal weakness.

The World Health Organisation is projecting that mental disorders will increase from nearly 12% of all diseases worldwide, to almost 15% by the year 2020; these increasing numbers are a serious cause of concern for healthcare professionals.

Now is time to focus on our wellbeing, “a state in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”, (WHO, 2013).

It’s important to realise that our sense of welbeing changes in response to circumstances and stages of life, and to accept that it is normal to experience times of stress, grief, anxiety and depression.

Family and social support can help us deal with challenging times, but unfortunately many of us in Hong Kong lack that support network and may feel isolated and lonely, making managing low moods harder. Adults are not the only ones affected; mental health issues are increasingly impacting our children too.

The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists report that one in every 150 15-year-old girls and one in 1000 15-year-old boys will suffer from anorexia. Recent figures from US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration state that major depressive episodes are regularly diagnosed in kids as young as 12. These figures are scary, and as citizens of this society we must proactively work to change this trend for our coming generations.

So what can we do?

We can take charge of our own wellbeing and seek help where we need to. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent these issues from developing into serious problems that can prevent us from living a normal life. Here are a few simple tips to manage daily stresses:

  • Accept yourself and your family for who they are
  • Look after your physical and emotional well being
  • Manage your own stress
  • Find a support network of friends here in Hong Kong, especially if you have left the support of family and friends in your home country
  • Consider volunteering. This not only helps you to meet new friends, but will also promote your sense of self-worth.
  • Model the behaviour you want to see in your children. Show enthusiasm for new  experiences, and your children will too.
  • Allow children to express how they feel and validate their feelings by listening empathetically.
  • A recent study from Oxford University has shown that victims of peer bullying can be more susceptible to depression, anxiety and self-harm. Keeping communication channels open at all times with your children ensures that if anything happens, they will talk to you.

(As featured in Hong Kong Playtimes Magazine, October 2014)

Read the original article HERE.

Dr. Quratulain Zaidi

 

Dr. Quratulain Zaidi (BSc. Hons, MSc, MSc, PhD) is a mother and a member of the British Psychological Society and British Association Counselling & Psychotherapy and abides by the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychology. She has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore for 12 years. She specialises in assisting families with issues including parenting, teen issues, Cybersafety, marriage guidance, post natal depression, stress and anxiety disorders, depression, bullying, eating disorders, OCD and self-harm. She is an expert in educational assessments and learning challenges in children, for example ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia and ASD.