I recently got the opportunity to connect with Noah Chenevert, a mental health advocate and author of the recently published book “Mental Health Over Matter.” In this interview, we talked about the book, Noah’s approach to mental health, and his attitudes surrounding mental health in the current day and age. Thanks for taking the time, Noah!
Congratulations on the recent publishing of your new book, Mental Health Over Matter! For those who haven’t read it, how would you describe this book?
Mental Health over Matter is a holistic book about the many areas influencing mental health. Nineteen experts demonstrate how individuals can stimulate their mental health in different areas such as exercise, sleep, and nutrition but also news, psychedelics, and sex.
What inspired you to write a book about mental health, and to have these thought-provoking conversations?
There are three major reasons why I decided to write this book:
- Mental health is an extremely important topic and the number of people with mental health issues continues to increase. Many individuals need help but can’t (immediately) afford mental healthcare due to insufficient supply or budgetary constraints.
- I found that a holistic view of mental health was missing. Good mental health is the sum of adequately incorporating many different practices. You can sleep and eat well, but your mental health will still suffer if you neglect other areas.
- Improving my habits and lifestyle in these 19 areas has helped me/people around me the most. I wanted to share the wisdom, tools, and ideas of experts for everyone to learn from.
Despite a change in attitude toward mental health in recent years, the mental health stigma still exists. Why do you think that is?
Although the overall attitude towards mental health does improve, the mental health stigma is unfortunately quite persistent. I have two explanations. First, many people still associate impaired mental health with ‘weakness,’ as if individuals (especially men) should always be strong. Depression or anxiety is not “sexy.” This often results from traditional beliefs which are fueled by toxic masculinity. Second, people still tend to underestimate the importance of mental health. If I break my arm, people can see that I’m injured. But when I would have severe anxiety or depression, it is more difficult for others to understand what I’m going through.
What is your approach to your own mental health?
At the end of my book, I identify nine overarching lessons that offer rules, attitudes, and guidelines you can adopt in your life to improve your mental health. Perhaps you will realize that you have already incorporated some of these lessons while others are new to you. (See attachment for the nine lessons)
What are the most important things that contribute to good mental health in your life?
I take a layered approach to mental health. The first layer consists of a good diet, sleep, and exercise. My mental health tends to suffer if I don’t pay enough attention to these three aspects.
The second layer is relationships/connections. A meta-analysis concluded that ‘the influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity’ and that ‘physicians, health professionals, educators, and the media should […] take social relationships as seriously as other risk factors that affect mortality. The third layer consists of other practices, such as going out in nature, mindfulness, and many other activities that have a good effect on your mental health.
If you could give one message about mental health and wellness, what would it be?
Focus on what works for you. Many people out there try to convince you that their way is “the magic solution.” But there is no uniform fix. What works for me might not work for you. And what works for me now might not work for me in a few years. We each must find our own way.
You can received more information about Noah’s book, “Mind Over Matter,” on his website.