Psychologist Marie Midtsund explained the importance of mental health. Photo: Aneta Grabmüllerova

It is okay not to be okay

On the occasion of the International Day of mental health, MSH (Moldestudentenes Helseutvalg) organized an event “Generosity is Gold.” Yesterday, psychologist Marie Midtsund talked to students about the importance of mental health.


“Everyone has a mental health, bad or good,” psychologist Marie Midstund said. The question is: How do we keep the good one? How can we prevent ourselves from mental health issues? Marie Midtsund recommends starting with simple questions: How am I doing right now? Am I happy? Am I sad? Have I been anxious? “Naming the feelings, validating them and admitting them to yourself helps you to be your best friend.”

New surrounding, new friends, new social groups – there is a lot of pressure for students. “It is normal to feel stressed and have crisis. That’s a normal reaction to such situation and it is not dangerous,” says Midtsund. “Those feelings are part of life. Students are in stressful environment,” she added.

“It is not only about being happy all the time,” said Midtsund and continued: “Happiness is not the only feeling you should have, even though it is what social media often tell us.”

We all know what is she talking about. Scrolling trough your Instagram feed, seeing others travelling the world, sharing their successes and smiling, can create an impression that is the only right way to live.

«The best thing one can do when it rains is to let it rain.» Photo: Aneta Grabmüllerova

“All kind of feelings are part of us and have a message to tell you,” explained Midtsund. “They will tell you something about your life and show where you are.” It is important to understand our feelings and our reactions to different situations. “For example, if you lose someone or somebody breaks up with you, you get into difficult situation.”

We all have been there. We all tell ourselves, I will never do that again. I will never go back to it. I don’t want to feel like this. “However, that is wrong,” explained Midtsund and advised a different approach: “Those feelings are telling you, that the person was important to you. That it was something you have valued in your life.”

There is something, you won’t find on social media much: Pain happens in life. “If you try to avoid those uncomfortable feelings, it will cause even more suffering,” warn Midtsund and suggest: “Try to listen to yourself, to your feelings. It’s okay to feel that way. You need to accept it, to validate the situation and the fact that it hurts.”

Our mental suffering also affects our physical heath. Just imagine what happens if you scared. “We cannot separate mental health from the physical one,” Midtsund pointed out: “Mental pain is as bad as physical pain.” The feeling of pain is very subjective and no one can scale it. “Try to accept it instead of trying to avoid it. Pain is natural part of living, and suppressing it causes even more pain,”  Midtsund said.

Marie Midtsund teaching the students Steven Hayes’ therapeutic methods. Photo: Aneta Grabmüllerova

The number of people who struggle with mental problems is stable. What has increased is the number of people who receive a treatment. Also, it is more acceptable to talk about these kinds of issues nowadays, so we might have a feeling that the presence of mental health problems have increased. “Mental issues affect both genders, the presumptions that women are more susceptible, is wrong,” warned Midtsund.

“Just be there. It is simple as that,” advised Midtsund to those whose friends or relatives suffer with mental health issues. You don’t need any sophisticated instructions how to provide sufficient support. Sometimes it is not an advice we need to hear. “If there is someone close to you, who suffer, be there, listen to him/her, be open-minded and don’t be judgmental. That is a real help.”

The HiMolde’s student counselor Eva-Merete Otterlei Børstad. Photo: Aneta Grabmüllerova

If you need someone to talk to, you can reach HiMolde’s student counselor Eva-Merete. Her office is open every day from 9 till 3 pm. You will find her on 2nd floor of A building in room 233. You can also contact her via e-mail.