What is mental health?

What is mental health

There is no single definition of mental health, and a quick Google search will reveal many different results. Perhaps the most relevant one to read is the one from the World Health Organization (WHO), or I have a useful blog post here. I personally distinguish between “mental wellbeing” and “mental health”. 

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. You can see it as your general “state of mind”.  It is made up of the physical, emotional, spiritual and environmental components. All these affect and interact with one another and they are all important in giving us balance and good functioning. 

Mental health

Encompasses a variety of more serious sounding illnesses such as: 

While these all sound pretty serious, when we talk about “mental health” more broadly speaking I wouldn’t say that we are always referring to one of these. It’s important to realize however that while you may not be officially diagnosed with a mental illness, your mental wellbeing ultimately affects your mental health. If your mental wellbeing is suffering, particularly over a longer period of time, it could turn into a mental health problem. 

It’s  also possible that people are suffering from one of these issues (depression or anxiety being perhaps more common) and you don’t know about it, which is why it’s important to know about them. They could be occurring in the workplace, without you even being aware. 

When it comes to work, I distinguish between 

  • Bringing mental health issues to work (read more)
  • Work induced mental health issues (read more)