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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Is resilience a factor in positive mental health?

Topic: Is resilience a factor in positive mental health?

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
    • beyondblue Connect is a FREE service that puts people living in Victoria's Greater Dandenong community, in touch with mentors. They can support your wellbeing and help you achieve your goals.
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    18 December 2017

    Hi everyone,
    I know that this line may cause uncomfortable reading for some but I really think it is worth pondering being that this topic may hold true for many communities especially around the world. Literature and empirical evidence suggests that some communities develop a characteristic resilience due to the environment they live and they adapt to that life and for most, resulting in strong mental health.
    This may be a product of military occupation, conflict and difficult conditions in their home countries, people have been born into these circumstances so they know no other form of living and from this one and only experience they are conditioned to live as they best they can.

    Of course such living conditions may go two ways in a person's health and wellbeing but generally most develop good, strong mental health from these difficult conditions and in many circumstances become active to bring about a change in circumstances.
    I think mental health is more likely to be compromised if one lives relatively comfortably but some type of negative circumstances or changes occur which then impact their mental health causing anxiety or depression.
    In my work I have spoken to many people from CALD backgrounds that have had some horrendous experiences but their mental health is strong and they keep pushing on positively. Sometimes we think that people from multicultural communities deny or stigmatise mental health but is it possible that in reality they don't have much awareness of MI because in the circumstances of their lives they haven't really encountered it?

    What are your thoughts?


    1 person found this helpful
  2. Bethie
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Bethie avatar
    326 posts
    18 December 2017 in reply to Hayfa

    Hi

    FRom the sound of it your referrng to the idea of desenatising. When a person is exposed to a situation constantly to manage they start seeing it as just part of living. By seeing those around them adapt normal daily routines to the enviroment they in turn see a way of functioning.

    My partner suffers PTSD as a result of being in a war but my son sees it as just part of his Dad's job. My son is also in the Army but is comfortable seeing and talking about what happens. I tell him it's ok to step outside of your body and see without feeling.

    Years ago when neighbours would talk over the fence there was less mental health problems because well at least where I was brought up in a small country town everyone knew each others business. Some conditions may be helped with a person being desensitized but a person should always check it a GO or other professional.

    It's never a good idea to self diagnose.

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Hayfa
    beyondblue Connect Mentor
    • beyondblue Connect is a FREE service that puts people living in Victoria's Greater Dandenong community, in touch with mentors. They can support your wellbeing and help you achieve your goals.
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Lebanon
    Hayfa avatar
    120 posts
    18 December 2017 in reply to Bethie

    Hi Bethie,

    Some good points. Definitely can be viewed as desensitising, I think desensitising can be systematic, when one knows what is happening and they are affected and choose not to be shocked or non-perceived which is when one has become accustomed to living in a certain place or way and functions normally without ever feeling there is a problem emotionally. When this is the case people develop resilience as a natural by-product of their environment and in some circumstances not realising how strong they really are.
    This has been the way for many communities that live in less fortunate circumstances such as the Occupied Palestinian terrritories, Iraq, Afghanistan, parts of North and Central Africa, as well as other places.
    The rest of the world may say that it is impossible not to develop a mental condition when one lives in such an environment and if it isn't apparent it will be one day, this may be true for some but it needs to be acknowledged that not everyone exposed to these life situations will suffer, there are people that do develop strong resilience and the ability to cope well in difficult situations.
    There is certainly the belief that resilience in these communities comes from a tribal type of life, close family networks and traditions and culture that has helped and not hindered.

    Hayfa

    1 person found this helpful
  4. Donte'
    Multicultural Correspondent
    • Foundation members of our Multicultural Experiences section
    • Greece
    • LGBTI
    Donte' avatar
    845 posts
    24 December 2017

    Hi Hayfa,

    Some food for thought for sure! I've been contemplating this for a long time. External negative circumstances and environmental influences could affect some in certain ways and others differently. Personality, character, idiosyncrasies, one's coping mechanisms and levels of resilience as well as external supports family history, age, gender, worldview and faith/belief systems may assist or hinder mental health in relation to a positive or negative reaction to an environmental factor such as war, migration, loss and grief, disasters, terminal illness etc. In traumatic situations it is normal to grieve and feel sad and a way of our mind trying to deal with the enormity of the event and normalize it so we can continue living. However, I think also that as many have experienced, mental illness, including depression and anxiety at times may not be associated to any specific event or traumatic experience. It could simply be a hormonal or physical/neurological condition. Some neurotransmitters in the brain could be out of whack and in need of adjustment. Certain preservatives and pesticides as well as certain illnesses also may cause depression and/or anxiety and change in moods. And so does a lot of medication used to treat certain conditions. Recent studies indicate that there is direct correlation between our gut and our brain. If our immune system, which is solely in our gut, is compromised, then our mood will also be affected. Food and mood are also directly linked. So I believe that sometimes mental illness could be unrelated to external circumstances and/or experiences of trauma and could strike to otherwise healthy, happy and well-adjusted individuals.

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