Mental health definitions & FAQs

mental health definitions and FAQ

Today I am covering a topic I had so far overlooked, but that is really important. When blogging about a topic such as mental health, most people may not be 100% sure what it is, and whether the topics I cover are relevant. Or perhaps you’re asking yourself “is anxiety really a mental health disorder?”

Even though mental health is getting increasing attention, it still remains a topic that has not been talked about for years, therefore it’s only normal that the terms around it are still not clear. So here is my attempt at providing some definitions, which I hope will be helpful.

Let’s start with the difference between mental health and mental wellbeing.

Mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing is a broader term covering anything that has to do with how we feel mentally and if we’re in a good place. It’s your general state of mind. How you wake up in the morning and feel about your day, or your mood throughout the day.

It’s made up of the physical, emotional, spiritual and environmental components. All these parts affect and interact with one another and they are all important in giving us balance and good functioning. It could be impacted by: prolonged high levels of stress, general unhappiness with life and lack of fulfilment, lack of meaning and purpose, amongst other things…

Mental health

On the other hand, mental health encompasses a variety of the more “serious sounding” illnesses such as:

  • General anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Depression
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder

And more… And while you may not be officially diagnosed with a mental illness, the reality is, your mental wellbeing ultimately affects your mental health. We all know when we feel”off”, probably more in the mental wellbeing realm. But when you start feeling more than “off”, regularly “off” or worse than “off”, maybe it’s becoming a mental health issue.

What mental health issues are there?

I have already listed a few of them above, and there are more. For example people can also suffer from social anxiety, there are also issues related to body image such as body dismorphyic disorder, more serious issues such as borderline personality disorder, paranoia and many more.

Mental health charity Mind have a very useful A-Z you can find here for more details. If you think you may be suffering from one of these issues or are unsure which one you might be suffering from, please consult a doctor or a healthcare professional. It’s very important to get a proper diagnosis from someone who knows the topic and can give you professional advice.

What does mental health look like or feel like?

I wish there was an easy answer to this question, but it will be very personal and depend on each person’s individual experiences with the mental health issue they are experiencing.

I have written about my experience with anxiety which you can find here, and there are other mental health bloggers sharing their experiences which I encourage you to read.

Understanding what other people are going through and experiencing can help you to feel less alone, help you understand you’re not the only one, and that you are most certainly not crazy.

I am hoping to host a series of interviews on mental health on the blog in which you’ll be able to read about different people’s experiences, so watch this space.

Why is mental health important?

The truth is, mental health is as important as our physical health and yet it has long been overlooked. But as we can see from recent news from the WEF 2019 and the World Health Organization, the lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental disorders, is estimated to cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year.

Helping people get a better understanding of mental health and breaking the stigma, is the first step in enabling people to get better help. As we break down the barriers, more programs can be built to support those with mental health issues, it will become easier to talk about it and mention it to your employer without the fear of getting fired or being perceived as weak, and our understanding of what people are experiencing will enable us to create better support systems.

Having good mental health also enables us to live better lives and be the best version of ourselves. When we have the head space and capacity to think beyond the obsessive thoughts, we are more able to become fulfilled and find meaning in other parts of our lives.

Can mental health be cured/will I get better?

As mentioned previously I am not a healthcare professional so this is purely a matter of opinion. But I do personally believe you can get better, or that you can find ways to cope with your mental health issues that mean you are able to get on with life with as little interruption as possible.

Of course your mental health issue will always be with you, always in the back of your mind. But I believe that inherently all capable, that we all have it within us to improve our lives and be happier. I have coaching to thank for that – another blog post you can look out for.

So my message to you is: don’t give up or lose hope. You are capable of things you’ve not yet imagined, so give yourself a chance.


I will stop this FAQ here as the blog post is quite long and there are more questions than I can cover. If you have enjoyed it then please let me know and I’m happy to write a follow-up to this blog post.

In the meantime, why not check out my article on resources for mental health, that could help you find out more?

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Currently working in marketing and comms in Amsterdam. Passionate about all things digital, writing, dancing, travelling and much more. Mental health blogger and advocate.

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