Catherine Kiesel’s Blog Post #1 SOH Spring 18

In our first few weeks of classes, we have learned a lot. With the Keyes’ Model of Mental Health, we learned that mental health and mental illness are not the same thing. We also learned that it is possible to be both mentally ill and flourishing, which I personally found interesting. I did not know there was a difference between being mentally ill and being mentally unhealthy. It turns out that being mentally ill is actually a disease and an imbalance of your brain, whereas being mentally unhealthy is just a way of being–and you can also cure being mentally unhealthy with exercises such as yoga, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, etc. I thought that was very interesting.



With this knowledge we then learned about the genetic influences of behavior in the next week with Danielle Dick. In this lesson, we learned the difference between the effects of nurture vs. nature and came to the conclusion that behavior was affected by both nurture AND nature. We found that happiness, depression, anxiety disorders, addiction, etc. all come from a combination of both your genes/genetic predisposition and the environment you live in. I found it interesting and realized in this class that you can be “disposed” toward something and change the likelihood that it will actually happen through environmental changes. That part makes me feel happy that there is a chance for people who have the genes for mental illness can change their outcome of their life through their environment.

That brings me to what I found the most interesting subject we’ve learned throughout these weeks, and that is the mental illness section. In today’s world, I have heard a lot about depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. I have friends and family who have it, and I have lost quite a few people I am close to due to depression and mood disorders. However, I have never experienced these mental illnesses myself, so it has always been confusing to me. I have never understood why people with depression and anxiety are crippled sometimes, and I hate to admit it, but in the past I have been one of those people that thinks “why can’t they just be happy?”. But this section has made me realize that mental illness is not always something you can snap out of. I thought it was interesting to hear about the forms of treatment there are for these illnesses and realized there’s much more than medication to treat these things, like therapy and counseling and ketamine infusion. This section definitely changed the way I think about mental illness now.

Positive psychology was a very cool topic to learn about. I thought the concept of PERMA was intriguing and a organized way to put your positive thoughts together. The P in PERMA stands for positive emotion, the E for engagement, R for relationships, M for meaning, and A for accomplishment. I think that having all of these ideals at hand and using them in your everyday life is a great way to jump start positive thinking.

The section of cultivating our strengths I found to be a great interactive way to reinforce confidence and moral in the class. I thought it was interesting in the way that Professor Walsh said she realized that social work was a “strengths-centered field”, because that;’s what I am realizing about my field (Public Relations)– I am realizing that in addition to being able to sell myself and recognizing my own strengths, I MUST realize my clients strengths and sell those as well. It was kind of a “mind-blown” moment when I realized this. I also think the activity we did on Friday’s class helped us to connect with other classmates in the room and that was super fun and a great way to get to know our classmates and find similarities with people we wouldn’t originally think we would have similarities between.

8 thoughts on “Catherine Kiesel’s Blog Post #1 SOH Spring 18”

  1. I also found the first week where we found out that it is possible to be flourishing and still be mentally ill or just be mentally unhappy because it is not something that many people really talk about. We just focus on helping people be normal instead of be happy. I am also glad that you got to know more about how depression and anxiety works and how hard it can be sometimes to not be mentally ill.

  2. I really appreciate how you incorporated this into your personal life and future regarding your Public relations career. It is so great that you understand not only is your strengths important but the strengths of your audience to better serve them. I too was intrigued by learning that mental illness and mental health are not the same thing. I can see where the general public could get this confused because so many people are still ignorant to the mental health sciences. Keep learning and sharing with us your great enthusiasm!

  3. I also did not know that there was a difference in being mentally ill and mentally unhealthy. I think for so long we we are led to think that as long as someone is not suffering from a mental illness, then they must have great mental health. I for one found the Keyes Model of Health assessment to be very interesting but it also gave me a bigger understanding of the different mental states that we can all be in.

  4. Catherine, there were so many instances while reading your post that I found myself thinking “exactly!” I too was unaware of the difference between being mentally ill and mentally unhealthy; as I was under the impression that the latter did not exist. Also, I found a new way to approach the cases of both in those around me, and now have a new understanding both of what they are going through and ways they can be aided in their struggles. I admire the way you were able to identify the connections between strength cultivation and your chosen career field; congratulations on your “‘mind-blown’ moment”.

  5. I’m glad this class is challenging your initial thoughts that
    depression is something that can be changed with sheer willpower. I also find it difficult to battle that when explaining this to others because the general understanding of these disorders is wildly different from what these diseases embody. How would you use the tools posited in this class to explain depression and mood disorders to someone who thought like you did before you took this class?

  6. I use to think the same as you about people with depression. I often questioned ” why can’t they just be happy?”, but after seeing someone I know go through it, I realized how hard it was for them.

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