mental health is a topic we tend to avoid talking about. As important as it actually is, many people here still associate the term with everything negative, but what is it, really? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is 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. It is an integral component of health and well-being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. Mental health is a basic human right. And it is crucial to personal, community and socio-economic development.
Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders. It exists on a complex continuum, which is experienced differently from one person to the next, with varying degrees of difficulty and distress and potentially very different social and clinical outcomes.
Mental health conditions include mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities as well as other mental states associated with significant distress, impairment in functioning, or risk of self-harm. People with mental health conditions are more likely to experience lower levels of mental well-being, but this is not always or necessarily the case.
Throughout our lives, multiple individual, social and structural determinants may combine to protect or undermine our mental health and shift our position on the mental health continuum.
Individual psychological and biological factors such as emotional skills, substance use and genetics can make people more vulnerable to mental health problems.
Exposure to unfavourable social, economic, geopolitical and environmental circumstances – including poverty, violence, inequality and environmental deprivation – also increases people’s risk of experiencing mental health conditions.
Risks can manifest themselves at all stages of life, but those that occur during developmentally sensitive periods, especially early childhood, are particularly detrimental. For example, harsh parenting and physical punishment is known to undermine child health and bullying is a leading risk factor for mental health conditions.
Protective factors similarly occur throughout our lives and serve to strengthen resilience. They include our individual social and emotional skills and attributes as well as positive social interactions, quality education, decent work, safe neighbourhoods and community cohesion, among others.
Mental health risks and protective factors can be found in society at different scales. Local threats heighten risk for individuals, families and communities. Global threats heighten risk for whole populations and include economic downturns, disease outbreaks, humanitarian emergencies and forced displacement and the growing climate crisis.
Each single risk and protective factor has only limited predictive strength. Most people do not develop a mental health condition despite exposure to a risk factor and many people with no known risk factor still develop a mental health condition. Nonetheless, the interacting determinants of mental health serve to enhance or undermine mental health.
Promotion and prevention interventions work by identifying the individual, social and structural determinants of mental health, and then intervening to reduce risks, build resilience and establish supportive environments for mental health. Interventions can be designed for individuals, specific groups or whole populations.
Reshaping the determinants of mental health often requires action beyond the health sector and so promotion and prevention programmes should involve the education, labour, justice, transport, environment, housing, and welfare sectors. The health sector can contribute significantly by embedding promotion and prevention efforts within health services; and by advocating, initiating and, where appropriate, facilitating multisectoral collaboration and coordination.
Suicide prevention is a global priority and included in the Sustainable Development Goals. Much progress can be achieved by limiting access to means, responsible media reporting, social and emotional learning for adolescents and early intervention. Banning highly hazardous pesticides is a particularly inexpensive and cost–effective intervention for reducing suicide rates.
Promoting child and adolescent mental health is another priority and can be achieved by policies and laws that promote and protect mental health, supporting caregivers to provide nurturing care, implementing school-based programmes and improving the quality of community and online environments. School-based social and emotional learning programmes are among the most effective promotion strategies for countries at all income levels.
Promoting and protecting mental health at work is a growing area of interest and can be supported through legislation and regulation, organizational strategies, manager training and interventions for workers.
In the context of national efforts to strengthen mental health, it is vital to not only protect and promote the mental well-being of all, but also to address the needs of people with mental health conditions.
This should be done through community-based mental health care, which is more accessible and acceptable than institutional care, helps prevent human rights violations and delivers better recovery outcomes for people with mental health conditions. Community-based mental health care should be provided through a network of interrelated services that comprise:
- mental health services that are integrated in general health care, typically in general hospitals and through task-sharing with non-specialist care providers in primary health care;
- community mental health services that may involve community mental health centers and teams, psychosocial rehabilitation, peer support services and supported living services; and
- services that deliver mental health care in social services and non-health settings, such as child protection, school health services, and prisons.
The vast care gap for common mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety means countries must also find innovative ways to diversify and scale up care for these conditions, for example through non-specialist psychological counseling or digital self-help.
Talking about innovative ways, here is one promisingly fun way to work on our mental health, while simultaneously build up our physical strength: joining Bali’s Shuffle and Stride’s programs. Who are they? What do they do? Read below. Shuffle and Stride are:
Nick Royan (Shuffle)
Nick is originally from Sydney Australia but at a young age Nick’s path led him to an expensive gambling addiction and a four-month stint in prison. Nick came to Indonesia in 2016 where he learnt the tools and skills to be free of his addictions and found purpose in helping others. Nick currently is an owner of an addiction treatment facility in Bali named Calm. Nick is not your typical athlete but your everyday guy who is willing to put his body to the test in order to raise awareness for mental health.
Nick might not have the physical tallent that Jack has, however Nick has a burning desire to inspire other people. Nick believes if he can do any of the challenges we have planned there is no excuse for anyone else to not make changes in this life. He is willing to commit and test what’s possible with the hope of impacting just a few people.
Jack Ahearn (Strides)
Originally from Perth, Jack found himself throwing away a possible professional sporting career due to an addiction to methamphetamine at the age of 14. After 4 years of drug abuse and destruction within his life Jack and his family decided rehab was the right option. Jack completed a long term treatment for his addiction and has since worked in the field helping others who were in the same position he was.
Jack is the athlete of the pair, he has completed several ultra marathons in the past and devotes substantial amounts of his time to helping others. This is a personal projected backed by a big personal purpose that pushes Jack to do everything he can to inspire others and make changes in the world.
Sari Dewi (Founder)
A legal practitioner originally from Jakarta, Sari Dewi does legal consultation and advocates in a law office she built together with her close friends.
She moved to Bali in 2016 just after graduating from Law School in Jakarta, and always like activities that involve a lot of people either in sports groups or social groups with the aim of helping others.
Passionate in building a social community with the idea where everyone can join and have the passion to voice a good cause, she manages to gather up a community that pays really good attention to the importance of Mental health; providing a safe place for everyone to gather and inspire each other with their stories. A much needed “safe place” for everyone.
As we all unfortunately know, Indonesia is a country with a very diverse social and cultural backgrounds that very rarely talk about mental health. With Shuffle and Strides, Sari Dewi wants local communities and families in Indonesia to start talking about mental health.
Shuffle and Strides community promotes positive lifestyle choices aiming to have positive influence on individual mental health, running monthly events that encourage participating within an environment that is promoting mental health awareness. They also share personal stories and identification for individuals to feel safe an understanding within the community by designing events to de-stigmatize the topic of mental health and help create an environment that promotes honest conversation and seeking help when required.
Their run walk club runs 2x a week in different locations, creating a space where individuals can come, walk or run with us, meet new people, develop new friendships and socialize with like minded people. The walk or run club is free and open to anyone of any age or ability; especially to beginners! Moreover, now that they are an officially registered charity in Indonesia and work closely with other charities within Indonesia; they can work closely with our their main partner 20Talk, a charity based out of Australia that aligns with the community’s values and goals. 20Talk is supportive of their mission and they plan to raise millions of dollars to have maximum impact on Mental Health awareness and the prevention of mental health illness within Bali and abroad.
As they put it, it’s amazing what the human body can do when you first set your mind to it! We have already completed many challenges including a 100km run with a 500km run around Bali planned for early 2023. We plan throughout 2022 and beyond to be completing different extreme physical challenges and push our bodies to their individual limit with the aim of inspiring others and shining a light on the stigmatized topic of mental health.
Interested in joining? Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapp them at +62 812-1802-9734 and get your mental health journey started!