The First Private Teaching Hospital in South Africa, Johannesburg

Mental Health Month

By Kali T Tricoridis (Psychiatrist)

In every magazine from glossy to plain newspaper there is a note or an article on Mental Health. Over the years I have thought hard on the subject, what is Mental Health and what does Mental Health mean to me?

A cork and Mental Health are one and the same thing to me. You ask what is all this about. Well let me explain. Cork comes from the bark of trees. One of the best known uses for cork is the cork of wine bottles. The essence of the cork is its airiness; it is lighter than water and is unsinkable.

It is buoyant and floats regardless of how turbulent the ocean of life is, or how big the waves are, or from where the waves come. It does not control the ocean but bobs along and survives the greatest tempests. Sure there are moments when the wave of life does seem to drown one but as a cork one sinks and then comes up again and continues on the journey, therefore Mental Health deals with resilience.

Mental health is the ability to deal with all aspects of life from deep harrowing trauma to joy and ecstasy yet being able to return to a state of balance and equilibrium. Mental Health allows for all emotions to be felt but once balance is reached, to be able to move on to the next step and challenge. 

Airiness is another aspect of the cork.  Airiness means being light and letting fresh air and fresh ideas through one’s mind, it means being light -hearted. Light heartedness means humour and laughter.

Humour and laughter are one of the most important coping skills in life. Humour and laughter decrease tensions and anxiety and help all forms of healing. It makes us feel GOOD.

So as a mental health strategy:

  • Develop a sense of humour,
  • Look for the funny side in any situation,
  • Hang around people with positive energies and who laugh,
  • Have more fun with life.

In summary Mental Health means having a mental image of the humble cork. With that image in mind, you have only to remember that you do have the ability and the strength to survive the difficulties and challenges that face you without trying to control the turbulent ocean of life. Much energy is needed to control and calm the ocean. An impossible task! Yet, gently bobbing and rolling with the punches is so much less stressful, less draining and leaves more energy to be used elsewhere.



For more information contact Kali T Tricoridis