What is Mental Health?
Everyone has ‘mental health’, just like we all have physical health. Everyone is different, and a person’s mental health will be unique to them. This applies to children and young people as well as adults. Mental health is about how we think, feel and act, and this is always changing.
This can be thought of in terms of:
- How we feel about ourselves and the people around us
- Our ability to make and keep friends and relationships
- Our ability to learn from others and to develop psychologically and emotionally
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Sometimes we feel well, and sometimes we don’t.
When our mental health is good, we enjoy being around other people and we feel able to take on challenges and new experiences. But when our mental health is not so good, we can find it much harder to cope.
Being mentally healthy doesn’t just mean that someone doesn’t have a mental health problem; it means they have a positive state of mental well-being.
Being mentally healthy is also about having the strength and emotional resilience to overcome the difficulties and challenges we face during our lives – to have confidence and self-esteem, to be able to make decisions and to believe in ourselves. Mental health is concerned with feeling positive about yourself, being able to cope with everyday pressures and being able to bounce back from adversity – this is known as resilience.
Resilience in mental health is how well individuals cope with problems, trauma, tragedies, threats and sources of stress in their lives. Individuals with resilience can adapt when faced with challenging circumstances and maintain their well-being, even when things don’t go as planned.
MIND, the mental health charity, explain that resilience is made up of three key elements:
- Well-being – how a person feels; their mental state
- Social connections – how they connect with others
- Ways to cope – psychological strategies to cope with difficult times
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