What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a term used to describe either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder. The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” It was previously stated that there was no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined.
Mental health is how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Everyone feels worried, anxious, sad or stressed sometimes. But with a mental illness, these feelings do not go away and are severe enough to interfere with your daily life. It can make it hard to meet and keep friends, hold a job or enjoy your life.
Mental illnesses are common – they affect about one in five families in the U.S. It is not your fault if you have one. These disorders – depression, phobias, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and many others - are real diseases that you cannot will or wish away. Fortunately, they are often treatable. Medicines and therapy can improve the life of most people with mental illnesses.
Taking care of your mind is as important as taking care of your body. People in good physical health can still develop mental illness through no fault of their own. Learn more about mental illnesses to help yourself and to be able to offer your understanding and support to those people suffering with this brain disease.