What is mental health?

Mental health is a state of well-being that allows individuals to fulfil their potential and cope with everyday life situations and stress. A mentally healthy person contributes to their community and is productive in their work. Mental health is therefore a holistic state of physical, mental and social well-being, and is not simply the absence of a mental disorder.

Good mental health allows people to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with life’s stresses
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities

There are several ways to maintain good mental health, including:

  • Making positive and meaningful connections with others
  • Being physically active
  • Helping others
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Developing coping and stress management skills
  • Laughing
  • Making time for fun activities
  • Getting professional help if needed

It’s normal for the quality of our mental health to fluctuate throughout our lives. Feeling more depressed in the winter or distressed after a breakup are normal and healthy fluctuations. When a person becomes overwhelmed by stress or is unable to deal with life’s challenges, they may develop a mental health disorder.

Mental health is a balance between the stress (financial, relationship, professional, etc.) that a person experiences and their ability to cope with it.

Coping skills are determined by biological, psychological and social factors that may vary over time. Some mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, are influenced to a large degree by biological factors. But most mental health disorders are triggered when all three factors hinder an individual’s coping skills during a particularly challenging time in their life.

Mental health problems result from a harmful combination of biological, psychological and social factors in situations of increased stress and decreased coping skills.

Fortunately, it is possible to reduce stress and build coping skills to improve and restore mental health.

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