What is Mental Health?

Mental Health

Mental Health is being talked about more openly and has our attention more than ever – which we think is great! Have you ever really considered this question and what it means to you? Or is it something you are more likely to brush over or ignore completely? The important thing to note is:

We all have mental health

Mental health is part of our whole-self wellbeing along with our physical health. We tend to focus openly on our physical health – being active, exercising, eating healthily (we know a good way of helping you with this too… )

How many of us proactively apply the same attention we pay to our physical health to our mental health?

We think the answer is – not many!

‘Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises 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 his or her community.’

World Health Organisation 2014

Why do we typically pay less attention to our mental health?

The phrase mental health is often seen as a negative – when something has gone gone wrong and people are mentally unwell and there are a number of reasons for this.

Historically the way we deal with mental ill health has been portrayed negatively in the media and by society. You only have to think of some films like ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and see how mentally ill patients are treated. For people with no other experience of mental ill health this is a very skewed point of reference.

Men in straight jackets from the film one flew over a cuckoo’s nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

We can probably all think of stories we have heard in the local press or radio reading to ‘mentally ill patients’ escaping secure units (in reality hospitals) and attacking, sometimes even killing people. Sadly, people who are mentally unwell are more likely to harm themselves than other people and the mental illness is not the reason or cause of the violent episodes. This fact is so often overlooked by the papers!

This negative attention and the myths associated with mental health conditions – for example, people living with mental health conditions are lazy, have lots of time off work, are loners – perpetuates the stigma associated with mental health.

Paying attention to our whole-self wellbeing is important

In reality, we all have mental health all of the time. Our mental health is fluid and changes over time throughout our life, just as our physical health can vary. It isn’t absolute.

Most of us will live our lives without developing a mental health condition requiring diagnosis and treatment – just as many of us go through life without breaking a bone or needing an operation. And if we do develop mental ill health that requires professional help, it is important to remember that recovery is possible and likely. Our mental ill health can improve with treatment and support just as a broken bone will repair with medical treatment.

At Eat, Move, Be Happy we believe that looking after our whole self wellbeing involves paying attention to our physical and mental good health. We provide you with solutions to help you do this.

We want people to talk openly about their mental health without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.

Eat, Move, Be Happy

What now?

Follow these links for our mental good health solutions. We are adding to them all the time.