What is Mental Health?
Today is World Mental Health Day! Just like physical health, we all have mental health and need to care for it. It is easy to say we’re OK when we’re not, and to forget to look after our mental wellbeing. Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that you don’t have a mental health problem. Some people call mental health ‘emotional health’ or ‘well-being’ and it’s just as important as good physical health.
Mental health is everyone’s business. We all have times when we feel down or stressed or frightened. Most of the time those feelings pass. But sometimes they develop into a more serious problem and that could happen to any one of us.
Additionally, your mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It can change as circumstances change and as you move through different stages of your life. There are different ways of defining mental health. Some definitions emphasise positive psychological wellbeing, whereas others see it as the absence of mental health issues or mental illness.
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 her or his community.”
Another definition explains it as:
“Mental health influences how we think and feel about ourselves and others and how we interpret events. It affects our capacity to learn, to communicate, and to form, sustain and end relationships. It also influences our ability to cope with change, transition and life events.”
There’s a stigma attached to mental health problems. This means that people feel uncomfortable about them and don’t talk about them much. Many people don’t even feel comfortable talking about their feelings. But it’s healthy to know and say how you’re feeling.
The new NHS Every Mind Matters campaign encourages adults to be more aware of their mental health and helps them to discover simple steps to look after their mental health and wellbeing. For more information on understanding mental health, please visit: Every Mind Matters.
There are simple things we can all do to look after our mental health and wellbeing – take this quiz to get started today with a free plan, expert advice and practical tips.
This year, World Mental Health Day will focus on suicide prevention. Suicide and suicidal feelings can be difficult to talk about, especially at work. The first step can sometimes be the hardest, but may just be the best move you make. If you are facing something that is difficult to talk about and need someone to listen we’re here to help.
- Action for Happiness host a meetup for the Brighton-based local group of Action for Happiness – a global movement of people taking action to create a happier society. To join this group or to find out more information, please visit here.
- Shoreham Happy Café – The Action for Happiness Monthly Happy Café provides the opportunity to find out more about Action for Happiness and the scientifically proven 10 Keys to Happier Living. To join or to find out more information, please visit here.
- Mind mind.org.uk – Wide range of services related to mental health.
- Rethink Mental Illness rethink.org – Range of support, advice and information services relation to mental illness.
- Sane sane.org.uk – Sane aims to improve the lives of anyone affected by mental illness through campaigning work, research and online support services.
- Samaritans samaritans.org – Confidential emotional support.
- Grassroots prevent-suicide.org.uk/find_help – Suicide prevention resources for people feeling suicidal or concerned about someone.
- World Health Organisation ‘I had a Black Dog, his name was Depression’ video
- Rehab Recovery – Drug & Alcohol Rehab Treatment in the UK (rehab-recovery.co.uk)
- Reading Well reading-well.org.uk – Reading Well provides quality-assured book lists of information and advice around mental health and wellbeing.
- Big White Wall bigwhitewall.com – A safe online community of people who are anxious, down or not coping, who support and help each other by sharing what’s troubling them, guided by trained professionals.
- Moodjuice moodjuide.scot.nhs.uk/challengingthoughts.asp – Self-help website developed by clinical psychologists. The link points to great information on thinking distortion. Tips on many more topics are available on www.moodjuice.scot.nhs.uk
- BioBeats biobeats.com – Create digital products that change the way people look at, deal with and take control of their mental wellbeing.