Mental Health and Wellbeing
What is Mental Health?
Mental health reflects a state of emotional and spiritual well-being within every person. When we have positive mental health, we feel like we are in control of our lives, are able to cope with stress, and are a part of our community. We can still have hard times and feel angry, sad, and anxious when in good mental health. Having these feelings does not mean that you have a mental illness.
Mental illness includes a range of medical conditions that can be diagnosed. When not managed, a mental illness can cause our thoughts, moods, and behaviours to have a negative impact on how we function in our daily lives. Symptoms of a mental illness can range from mild to severe and may occur for a short time, come and go, or be constant.
A person who lives with a mental illness can still have positive mental health, just like a person can have poor mental health without a mental illness. We can all learn how to cope with life events and make positive health choices to improve our mental health.
What is Wellbeing?
Wellbeing includes feeling good and functioning well. There are many things that influence our wellbeing, including external conditions such as income, employment and social networks as well as personal
resources such as health, resilience and optimism. Someone with a positive sense of wellbeing has feelings of happiness, contentment, and satisfaction. Our functioning in the world is equally important to our wellbeing as is feeling good.
To function well, we all need support to:
Participate in activities that are meaningful and that
make us feel competent and self-sufficient.
Develop inner resources to help us cope when things
are difficult and be resilient to changes that are not in our
It is also crucial that we feel a sense of relatedness to other people. So in addition to feeling and functioning well, our social experiences, including supportive relationships and a sense of connection with others, form an important part of our wellbeing.