October 10 is World Mental Health Day and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the 2014 focus to be schizophrenia. The people at the William Glasser Institute – US (WGI-US) took to heart Dr. Glasser’s mandate that society treat mental health as a public health issue. When we do that, the focus is on prevention and mental health rather than treatment, psychopharmacology and mental illness.
Most people understand the steps they can implement to improve their physical health. WGI-US is geared toward helping people understand the habits they can develop that will improve their mental health. So on October 10, while other organizations are focusing their efforts on raising awareness for mental illness, WGI-US will be providing 24-hour programming on prevention, mental health, resilience and happiness.
Dr. William Glasser was the founder and creator of choice therapy and reality therapy. Choice theory tells us that people are behaving to get something they want that will more effectively meet their five basic human needs for survival, love & belonging, power, freedom and fun.
Dr. Glasser taught that most long-term psychological problems are relationship problems. Either sufferers do not get along well with the important people in their lives or they have no important connections with others. People report a greater sense of mental health and happiness when interpersonal relationships are strong and healthy.
Dr. Glasser believed that it was impossible for people to continue to choose misery and suffering once they realized it was choice. Choice theory is a psychology of personal freedom, but with that freedom comes individual responsibility. It is important for individuals to get their needs met while not interfering with others.
Choice theory teaches that each individual is responsible for getting his or her own needs met. It is neither effective nor responsible to expect other people to meet our needs for us. When we want something from another person, it is certainly all right to ask for it. However, if the other person does not oblige us, then it is up to us to get our needs met in another responsible way. It is each person’s job to make him- or herself happy.
Many life events can’t be changed: death, illness, divorce, relationships ending, job layoffs, and natural disasters, to name a few. If we stay focused on the events over which we have no control, we feel like victims, as if there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. Naturally, pain, anger, frustration, depression and anxiety follow. However, when we take responsibility for the part we can control, our actions and our thinking, then we can choose a path of wellness.
On October 10, World Mental Health Day, the free Mental Health & Happiness Online Summit will feature 24 leading experts in 24 hours who will be sharing what they know to improve a person’s level of mental health and happiness.