Mental Health – What Is It

The World Health Organization defines mental health 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. WHO

Improving our mental health requires patience and persistence, it is an ongoing process as is the health of our physical body.  In its ideal form is a loop that looks like this:

Skills-Nurturing-Fun/Enjoy-Relax/Recoup-Rediscover/Grow-Experience Pain-Learn-Adapt-Recover/Skills-Nurturing-Fun/Enjoy-Relax/Recoup-Rediscover/Grow-Experience Pain-Learn-Adapt-Recover/Skills, repeating.  Ideally supported each step of the way by community.

When we break down WHO’s definition we see the challenges and opportunities to create connection and community.

A state of well-being in which we can :

Reach our potential (needs access to resources like, but not limited to, education, social support, health care)

Cope with the normal stresses of everyday life (needs support and resilience)

Work productively (training to job availability)

Work fruitfully (living wage, work life balance)

Able to make a contribution to our community (have enough time and resources to give to our community)


“A mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognitionemotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning. Mental disorders are usually associated with significant distress in social, occupational, or other important activities. An expectable or culturally approved response to a common stressor or loss, such as the death of a loved one, is not a mental disorder. Socially deviant behavior (e.g., political, religious, or sexual) and conflicts that are primarily between the individual and society are not mental disorders unless the deviance or conflict results from a dysfunction in the individual, as described above.” Psychology Today