What does it mean to be healthy? Health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.” It is easy to look after the physical aspects of health but the mental and social bits are often ignored. However, along with our physical well-being, it is also essential for us to focus on our psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being, primarily in order to feel connected and have a holistic view of ourselves, allowing us to continue to improve our quality of life.
One of the most important, most stigmatized and yet least prioritized component of health is mental health. What do we mean by mental health? Mental health is a state of our psychological and emotional well-being, and is defined by the WHO as “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
Mental health affects how we think, feel and act. It is determined by how we understand and deal with internal and external factors in our day-to-day lives; these factors include various forms and levels of stress, anxiety, self-esteem, and relationships. The degree of positive and negative impact these factors have on us is what helps us understand our own mental health. However, we can acquire skills, tools and resources to help us cope with our circumstances, allowing us to ultimately nurture and strengthen our mental well-being.
Learn about Mental Illnesses