Mental Health Definition

who mental health definition

A person with good mental health generally thinks, feels and reacts in the ways that they need and want. They can be productive, engaged in meaningful relationships, and contribute to their community.

People with poor mental health may find that they have problems with their mood and behaviour. They might be feeling sad, angry or depressed and unable to cope with life.

Definition of Mental Health

Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which an individual realizes their own abilities, copes well with life’s normal stresses, works productively and fruitfully, and makes a positive contribution to their community.

The definition of mental health proposed here is aimed to overcome perspectives based on ideal norms and hedonic and eudaimonic theoretical traditions, in favour of an inclusive approach that is closer to human experience, ranging from joyful feelings to sad or disgusting or frightening experiences.

People with good mental health have the ability to cope with their life challenges, think clearly and rationally, be responsible, meet and challenge others, and form good relationships. Alternatively, those with a serious mental illness* (such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or anxiety disorders) have functional impairment that significantly interferes with one or more of their major life activities.

Definition of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a health condition that affects how you think, feel or behave (or a combination of these). It may be associated with distress and/or problems with functioning in social, work or family activities.

People with mental illnesses can function as well or better than people without mental illness, but they often need help to do so. They also have to learn new ways to cope with adversity and stress.

Diagnosis is the first step in treatment. It involves a multi-step process of examining a person’s medical history, performing a physical exam and doing a psychological evaluation.

Diagnosis is usually based on the presence of symptoms that fit certain criteria specified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition. The symptoms must also cause significant distress or interfere with functioning.

Symptoms of Mental Illness

Just like physical illness, mental illness has symptoms that can affect a person’s life. They can interfere with a person’s ability to work, care for themselves and their family, and enjoy relationships.

Often, mental illnesses are caused by a combination of factors including brain chemistry, genetics and environmental exposures. They can also be caused by a reaction to a specific event, such as a traumatic loss or a major change in life circumstances.

Many people who experience a mental illness are able to find relief with treatment and supportive counseling. Treatment may include medication, talk therapy and lifestyle changes.

Symptoms of severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, can be debilitating. They often cause distortions of perception, delusions, hallucinations and other unusual behaviors.

Treatment of Mental Illness

Treatment for mental illness is often a combination of talk therapies and medication. People respond differently to medication, and it may take several tries before finding one that works best for them with the least side effects.

Medications can help stabilize your mood and lessen the symptoms of some psychiatric conditions, including depression and mania. They also can be used to treat a number of other medical conditions.

These medicines make changes to brain chemicals that are involved in emotions and thought patterns. They don’t cure a mental health condition or a medical problem, but they can make some treatments more effective.

Psychotherapy and other therapies, such as social support, education and self-help, can also improve the quality of life of those living with a mental illness. These tools can be especially helpful for those with co-existing illnesses or disabilities, as they provide skills that can enhance their journey toward recovery and overall wellness.