Mental Health vs Mental Wellness

What is “mental health”?

Here are a couple of definitions.

“Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing - it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term 'mental health' is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.”

“The condition of being sound mentally and emotionally that is characterized by the absence of mental illness and by adequate adjustment especially as reflected in feeling comfortable about oneself, positive feelings about others, and the ability to meet the demands of daily life.” Webster’s

And yet, when we talk about “mental health” in our society, it is generally referring to mental health problems! We need to change that but for now, we'll use the term "Mental Wellness" for referring to being healthy mentally.

Mental health issues can crop up for everyone, especially in our fast-paced, stressed society. Mental health is related to physical health in that sometimes there are problems that need treatment. So, get treatment, and get better. People with actual mental health disorders or disease can lead a very successful and fulfilling life. They are not doomed.

Mental Wellness needs to be the overall goal. Instead of fixating on what’s wrong with people, let’s focus on what’s right!

In case you are curious about the differences, here are a few more resources:

Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.”

“A mental illness is a condition that affects a person's thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone's ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple overlapping causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.” NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness

“A mental disorder, also called a mental illness[2] or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.[3] Such features may be persistent, relapsing and remitting, or occur as a single episode. Many disorders have been described, with signs and symptoms that vary widely between specific disorders.[4][5] Wikipedia

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