Having positive coping mechanisms to help deal with one’s emotions during stressful situations can help people deal with issues and maintain positive mental health.
Fiji National University (FNU), College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences’ (CMNHS) academic, Dr Balram Pandit said there were various factors that people could address earlier on before they feel despair.
The CMNHS Head of the Discipline – Psychiatry, said prevailing societal issues such as suicide could be addressed by understanding how mental health and wellbeing affected people’s daily living.
He added people could then formulate strategies around underlying problems and implementing established and cost-effective interventions at various levels.
“Optimising mental health of citizens not only saves lives and improves their quality of life, but it has also a direct positive impact on the GDP of any nation, as it alleviates the economic burden caused by disabilities secondary to mental health problems,” Dr Balram said.
“It is worth observing that in a recent Global Burden of Disease Study, mental, neurological and substance use disorders contributed to a very significant proportion of global YLDs (Years Lived with Disabilities) – 28.5 per cent. In terms of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), mental disorders alone accounted for the largest proportion – 56.7 per cent.”
“The figures related to suicidal cases are in general, representative of bigger underlying problems prevailing in any society.
According to Dr Pandit many people go through mental stress and whilst some have successfully coped with these, many feel distressed or develop other conditions such as anxiety.
He added that no age, gender or race is immune to mental health disorders.
“Anxiety and depression happen to be the common mental disorders affecting and influencing our mental health,” he said.
“Relationship issues also surfaced as a major issue faced by people, particularly the younger population. Children and adolescents are relatively less equipped with skills, strategies and resources to cope with day to day life stresses as they are still in the developmental phase learning and gaining experiences from whatever life brings to them.”
“The adults interacting in their life (parents, teachers, caregiver, guide, trainers) have a huge responsibility towards making their learning phase balanced and robust, not only with prescribed syllabus but also with life skills.”
He highlighted that there is enough evidence supporting healthy coping mechanisms alleviate stress and promote positive psychological outcomes. Simple and effective coping strategies such as respecting relationships and managing relationship issues, time management, effective communication and adopting healthy habits enabled people to overcome emotional and stressful events.
“People can also set goals and staying focused towards materialising it, taking responsibility for the situation, be open about their feelings, asking for assistance and acknowledging that failures also add experience to one’s life are also some of the tips that are helpful as coping mechanisms for the younger population.”