Maslow’s Hierarchy – Healing

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within  a pyramid. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up.

Today is National Mental Health day! A very important day indeed. I believe that Maslow’s theory has a direct relationship to positive Mental Health.

“Some of the most comforting words in the universe are ‘Me too’. That moment when you find out that your struggle is also someone else’s struggle, that you are not alone, and that others have been down the same road.” Unknown

In Maslow’s theory the hierarchy is defined as follows:

  1. Physiological Needs are very basic: Air, Sleep, Water, Food & Shelter
  2. Safety includes things like physical security, employment security, confidence that the resources needed to meet the physiological needs will be achieved.
  3. Love/Belonging is crucial for humans to love others and be loved by others. The absence of this love results in things like loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
  4. Esteem needs are recognizing that you are competent and worthy of respect. People want others to recognize their competence and respect them.
  5. Self Actualization is a person realizing their full potential and their ability to reach that potential. The desire to accomplish all that one can to the best of one’s ability.

I have worked and volunteered at a Non Profit that solidified this theory for me. Working with vulnerable women who had no sense of safety. Their basic needs were not met, and therefore they were consumed with that.  They would talk to you about their problems, and try as you might you would not be able to provide them with any sense of ease.

“If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist , then maybe we will leave the world a better place than we found it.” Russell Wilson

You knew as you spoke to them that they were incapable of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Because until they felt SAFE, there was not a glimmer of hope.

Thankfully there are organizations that try to make a difference, and provide support for those most vulnerable. One that is near and dear to my heart is Making Changes. The initiatives that it undertakes are directly related to helping reinforce the first two levels of the hierarchy.

I think that when we support each other’s mental health, and truly try to listen to one another, we can make a profound difference in someone’s life. When we don’t sweep mental health issues under the rug, and allow other’s to admit when they need a little support, it goes a long way.

Mental Health issues of course are not exclusive to the vulnerable, they are prevalent for all of us. But we will not be in a position to make positive change until we acknowledge and tend to some of the drivers, such as vulnerability of people.

When we support initiatives that help to move people up the ladder of the hierarchy of needs, we indeed help contribute to improving mental health issues for some.

It is my hope this Thanksgiving, that we are thankful for all of those that support us. That we are thankful for the organizations that try to help improve people’s lives. And that we all may feel loved and supported in our lives, and that of our mental health.

Just checking in with others, can help them to feel loved and acknowledged.

May we each support one another, this day and all days!


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