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What makes good mental health?

HGI News

Surviving or thriving – what’s the difference?

This is the question to be addressed in Mental Awareness Week (#MHAW17), starting on 8 May 2017 and hosted by the Mental Health Foundation.

Yet a fundamental understanding of this difference has been at the heart of the human givens approach ever since its inception 20 years ago.

We thrive when our essential emotional needs are met in balance – needs such as those for autonomy, security, emotional and community connection, achievement and meaning and purpose. And our needs are most likely to be met when we are using our innate resources – abilities such as memory, empathy, imagination, problem solving, thinking skills and managing emotions – to help us.

It is when people feel overwhelmed, out of their depth or isolated, or when they don’t know how to use their innate resources effectively, that they start to experience psychological symptoms such as stress, anxiety and depression or resort to unhealthy escape valves such as blowing their tops, harming others, or falling into addictions. Severe depression can lead to psychosis. And traumatic experiences can lead to any of these symptoms.

None of this happens when our lives are on track, and when we feel respected and valued as human beings.

The human givens approach has helped countless individuals turn their lives around, by showing them how to meet their needs and use their resources effectively.

But the problem is much bigger than that. Economic pressures on society, inequalities and often unimaginative leadership at national and local levels leave too many people literally struggling to survive or feeling cast aside. Priorities need to change.

The human given approach is all about recognising and meeting our own and others’ emotional needs wherever there are people – including schools, universities and workplaces of every kind.

For ideas on how to make the world a better place by taking account of human nature, see the Human Givens Charter.

More than ever before – these ideas are needed now.


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Published 8th May 2017

Date posted: 09/05/2017

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