What is Mental Health?
Mental health exists along a continuum, and most people move back and forth along the continuum, rather than statically existing in a state of ‘ill health’ or ‘good health’. ‘Mental health’ is more than the absence of mental illness, mental distress or other impairments. While people with diagnosed mental health conditions are more likely to experience lower levels of mental wellbeing, this is not always the case.
While traditionally concerned with mental ‘ill health’, psychological science in recent times has had plenty to tell us about what constitutes mental wellbeing, which is also sometimes described as ‘flourishing’ or ‘happiness’.
‘Mental wellbeing’ is characterised by a sense of autonomy, optimism, confidence, energy, purpose and connectedness, and being able to pursue one’s goals. The World Health Organisation definition of mental health is a state where one can ‘cope with the stresses of life, realize their abilities, learn well and work well, and contribute to their community’.
Furthermore, the WHO describes mental health ‘as an integral component of health and well-being that underpins our individual and collective abilities to make decisions, build relationships and shape the world we live in. Mental health is a basic human right’
Psychological science has plenty to say about the link between positive mood states and achievement in learning, building good relationships and coping with life’s stressors. It is clear the effects of pursuing one’s ‘happiness’ is not limited to just feeling better. Furthermore, the actions we take to pursue positive mental wellbeing – e.g., developing positive connections, having purpose, often operate as protective factors to our mental health when it is challenged.
At Hargan, we’re not just concerned with treating what gets in the way of you feeling ‘ok’. We want to support our clients to live their ‘best’ lives.
Contact us today if you would like to explore of where your mental wellbeing currently sits, and individualised strategies to enhance it.
Flourish by Martin Seligman (2011), Penguin Books.
Christine Harding, a dedicated Principal Psychologist at Hargan Psychology, is a compassionate professional who believes in the power of human connection and personal growth. With a holistic approach to her work, she embraces the philosophy that understanding oneself is the foundation for positive change. As a devoted mother of three, Christine’s personal journey shaped her passion for psychology and her unwavering commitment to helping individuals of all ages thrive.