Mental Health: The role of families in mental well-being
In commemoration of International Day of Families
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
A family is a group, it can be related or not. You can consider a family like your friends or any group that makes you feel that you’re in a family. … Family’ is a single word with many different meanings. By google definition, family is; “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.”
Middle : Prof. YomiFawehinmi
Permit me to talk about well-being as it relates to the family today.
There are two sides to mental health and they are:
- Preventive Mental Disorders
- Restoring Mental Health
But first why is the International Day of Families in existence?
The Day will highlight the importance of all caregivers in families, be it parents, grandparents or siblings and the importance of parental education for the welfare of children. It will focus on good practices for work-family balance to aid parents in their educational and care-giving roles. Good practices from the private sector in support of working parents, as well as youth and older persons in the workplace will also be highlighted.
The Day also aims to discuss the importance of ‘knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development’ (SDG4, target 4.7).
The theme this year is “Families, education and well-being”. This year’s observance of the International Day of Families focuses on the role of families and family oriented policies in promoting education and overall well-being of their members. In particular, the Day is to raise awareness of the role of families in promoting early childhood education and lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth.
My goal here is to educate you on what role you have to play as a family.
So back to my point of discussion.
- Prevention of mental disorders
The family is the first society is child is born into. That is the first point of call for any child. The lifestyle of the parents, Uncles, Aunts and other family members go a long way in preventing or causing mental disorders.
How can this be you may ask and this is valid. I will try to explain in a bit.
- Show of favoritism : This is a major issue in families these days. The moment you show no favoritism in the family, a child’s mental health is balanced. The child feels loved and wanted .
- Use of language : Use of language is a key to preventing mental disorder in a child. What is said sticks in the heart of a child and this can cause dysfunction in the life of the child. At the African Family Delegate Conference organised by The Center for Sex Education and Family Life in Lagos Nigeria, Taiwo Akinlami shared his childhood experience of how his father would wake him up in the morning with foul words. This had far-reaching impact in his life than his father would have imagined.
- Lack of Time : The more we stay away from the family, the more we lose the child. This results in having your children depend on others to instill values and discipline. Time spent with a child brings a feeling of love, acceptance and mingling.
The absence of all these is what I will try to discuss below
2. Restoring and Maintaining Mental Health
It is not out-of-place that you probably have lost it now as a family. What is key is that you find how to restore the mental health of your family.
Here are some tips :
- See to it that you spend time together as a family. It may even be your spouse who needs to be restored and not the children
- Not beat yourself if things have gone awry but make amends
- If you are too weak to make things work yourself, seek the help of a professional
- Understand that it is not anybody’s fault that it has happened but it is everyone’s duty to restore the fallen
- Seek rehabilitation as a family. This helps to restore the mind of every member of that family.
[Tweet “If every family would own each other, mental illness would be reduced”]
It is time we stopped trading blames on the society.
It is time to go back to the family and educate ourselves and seek for a better well-being of each other.
Of important mention is Africa. It is time to embrace that mental illness is real and doesn’t have to be big for it to be mental illness. It begins with you and I. Begins with the workplace creating an environment mother-child friendly work environment.
In the words of Mr Ronald Kajanya, Country Director, United Nations Information Center, “ it is time that companies and the corporate sector give attention to the family by creating an environment friendly for working mothers”.
I challenge you therefore to rise up as a family and build a mentally healthy society to prevent mental disorders or illnesses.
Originally published at The Mind and Health Center.