What is Mental Health?
Mental health is a level of psychological well-being .It is the mental health state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment. Mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life, and create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) mental health includes “subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one’s intellectual and emotional potential, among others.” WHO further states that the well-being of an individual is encompassed in the realization of their abilities, coping with normal stresses of life, productive work and contribution to their community. However, cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how “mental health” is defined.
That is quite a big statement using a lot of big words. In my counselling work it would be foolish to use this type of language when working with individuals. I myself prefer plainer language and encourage my clients to use the same.
The World Health Organisation statement basically says that a person’s mental health is very much an individual way of being, where one is at ease with their own individual personality, independent, aware of their own experiences and have the ability to cope with life changes and challenges. It also suggests that mental health includes a sense of becoming what an individual can potentially become, respecting and accepting their own abilities for coping with the normal stresses and challenges of life.
Take for example the analogy of a flower in your garden. The seed is sown in the garden. It needs watering and feeding (nurturing). It will continue to grow if it continues to be nurtured, loved, protected and encouraged. Should someone stand on this flower it will retract into the ground and try again later. The green shoot gets bigger, it pushes its way into the world trying to become what it is supposed to become which is a flower. Unique, colourful, full of potential and a wonder to all. Then before it blooms someone stands on the flower again, it retracts again, and tries again later. Stood on, neglected, abandoned and abused, by the time it gets to achieve its potential the growth season is over.
Can you relate this to your own life experiences?
A person struggling with his or her mental health may face stress, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, addiction, ADHD or learning disabilities, mood disorders, or other psychological concerns. Counselors/Psychotherapists can help manage mental health concerns with therapy or counselling.
Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
(Louisa May Alcott)