We joke about taking time off of work for a "mental health" day but how many of us really know what mental health is or how it can manifest in our lives? So many experts and pop psychologists, laymen and PhD's alike discuss this elusive state of mind, that it's a wonder any of us ever come to a place of realizing what it is with any clarity at all.
For the most part, the World Health Organization has defined mental illness as any mental illness at all, any disorder. This means that being mentally healthy means you are in a state of the absence of any type of mental disorder.
As confusing as this may be, it makes sense. The reason is that there are no quick fixes for mental disorders. Changes are constant and, as brain chemistry changes and people develop and grow, their disorders or lack thereof can change as well.
Even a medication that seemed to work at one point may stop working altogether or may actually become harmful.
According to Medline Plus, the definition of mental health is as follows:
"Mental health is how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood."
There are so many types of practitioners to help with mental illness that it is truly imperative you get the help you need if you or someone close to you is suffering. Talking with friends, having a close community and looking for ways to reduce your stress and enjoy your life are also very important.
What is mental health? by Dr. Grace Tsai. Discovery Communications, LLC. Web. 13, Sept. 2011.
"Mental Health: MedlinePlus."National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2011.
Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHER.
Reviewed September 14, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith