1117 GMT November 15, 2018
Dental health is incredibly important. Growing up, children have it drilled into them that prioritising it twice per day for a few minutes will stand them in good stead. Not doing so means major issues later down the road.
Even as adults, dental health is a priority. We even apply several different tactics each and every day to keep everything in tip top condition, forbes.com wrote
We regularly see an expert once or twice a year for a check-up. As soon as there’s a sign there’s something wrong, we make it a priority to get it sorted. People spend thousands of pounds on their dental health over their lifetime because it is so important to their wellbeing.
Now re-read the above but substitute the word ‘dental’ for ‘mental’.
If we never brushed our teeth, if we let the coffee and sugar we consumed slowly wear them down, if we never flossed, never used mouthwash, or went to the dentist for a check-up; our teeth would gradually deteriorate until they weren’t functional.
But that doesn’t happen. Our teeth are right there for everyone to see, there each time we look in the mirror, in plain view.
I recently interviewed an entrepreneur friend, Mike Bandar, for my podcast exploring childhood influences that create enterprising people. We discussed the importance of mental health, especially to modern entrepreneurship and the pressures of running a business, and Mike told me about a friend called Ry Morgan, who runs a startup called Unmind and had always stood by the phrase ‘mental health is like dental health’.
It makes a lot of sense. Each morning we take time to look after our teeth, just for a few minutes, then the same each evening, with regular check-ups every six months. We make an effort to avoid things that we know are bad for our teeth — sugar, acidic food, and so on.
Supermarkets and chemists alike are full of items to help us look after our teeth. Chewing gum, floss, mouthwash, new toothbrushes, toothpaste in many different flavors, promising to solve different problems. We feel horrible if we go too long without brushing our teeth. Boxers, hockey players and rugby players wear mouth guards to protect them. Hotels and business class lounges provide toothbrushes in case you forget yours.
Imagine if we treated mental health with the same priority and importance as dental health. No taboo, no nonsense, just looking after our minds twice a day with regular check-ups on top of that. Would we be in a different situation with mental health? Would antidepressants prescriptions reduce? Would we all be happier, wiser, more prosperous?
My instinct says yes, absolutely. For personal development and handling high-pressure environments, treat mental health like dental health.
*Jodie Cook is a Forbes contributor.