What is mental health?

What is mental health?

Your mental health is an essential part of your overall wellbeing – being comfortable, healthy and happy.

Mental health is more than the absence of mental ill health, but is something that everybody experiences over their lifetime. The World Health Organisation defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

It is normal and natural to feel down at times. Problems you may encounter might range from general everyday worries or low periods in your life, to more serious long-term conditions. One in four of us will experience a mental health difficulty in our lifetime. Everyone is different and how we respond to mental health difficulties can vary from person to person.

Wellbeing may be compromised when negative and painful emotions are extreme or very long-lasting and interfere with the person’s ability to function in daily life. For some people it may be difficult to talk about mental health, but it can help to talk about how you are feeling. People you can talk to might include friends, family, counsellor a GP.

If you need help now you could talk to your GP or call a helpline.

What is positive mental health?

Positive mental health is when you can realise your own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make a contribution to your community. Positive mental health is normally characterised by:

  • Vitality
  • Positive relationships
  • Ability to deal constructively with negative feelings and emotions
  • Connection with other people and community
  • Ability to cope
  • Self-esteem
  • Contentment

According to the World Health Organisation Mental health is essential for the well-being and functioning of individuals.

  • Good mental health is an important resource for individuals, families, communities, and nations.
  • Mental health, as an indivisible part of general health, contributes to the functions of society, and has an effect on overall productivity.
  • Mental health concerns everyone as it is generated in our everyday lives in homes, schools, workplaces, and in leisure activities.
  • Positive mental health contributes to the social, human, and economic capital of every society.
  • Spirituality can make a significant contribution to mental health promotion and mental health influences spiritual life.

Plan to protect your mental health and wellbeing:


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