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Mental Illness and Resilience

It is easy to assume those who overcome mental health challenges owe their character development to the mental illness, however the credit goes to the individual. It is not the illness itself that helps an individual build resilience, but rather the steps one takes to overcome it.

Developing healthy coping mechanisms can help to build resilience. Resilience is defined as our ability to face adversity. Many times, for example, anxiety is linked to our thoughts and beliefs about what we can and cannot achieve. Thus, our mindset is a key factor in determining our resiliency, specifically a growth mindset.

In the book Defying the Order the author Anjali Badwal (BSc, MACP Candidate) writes,

“People with a positive/growth mindset have been known to show greater resilience, whereas those with a negative/fixed mindset tend to give up…Research on mindsets conducted by Jessica Schleider at Yale University has concluded two main findings. The first is mindsets matter when it comes to youth mental health. Viewing the mind as malleable rather than set in stone is linked to different mental health struggles, including anxiety, depression, and aggression. The second is that modifying mindsets can potentially reduce depression and some anxiety in teens with high symptoms. In a trial conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States, it was found that basic teaching of growth mindset in terms of personality and social stress resulted in an increase in perceived control and was able to reduce depression and anxiety in youth ages twelve to fifteen.”

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