Mental health & wellbeing

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), poor mental health can be associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusions, unhealthy lifestyles, and physical ill health and human rights violations.

What is mental health and wellbeing

According to the World Health Organization (2018), mental health can be described as a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, 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.

Mental health is essential to our overall wellbeing and as important as physical health.

Health can be defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or illness (WHO, 2020).

Wellbeing is a consistent state of wellness, satisfaction and contentment. Wellbeing is distinct from happiness, which can come and go (WHO, 2018).

Mental health is vital to our functionality as human beings. It is important to invest, promote, protect and restore our mental health. When we feel mentally well, we can work productively, enjoy our free time, and contribute actively to our communities (WHO, 2020).

According to the WHO (2018), poor mental health can be associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, unhealthy lifestyle, and physical ill-health and human rights violations. There are specific psychological and personality factors that make people vulnerable to mental health problems, such as unemployment, social isolation or discrimination, physical health problems, childhood abuse trauma, violence or neglect, homelessness, housing problems, social disadvantage, poverty or debt and trauma as a result of military experiences, being involved in a serious accident or violent crime.

Below are tips on maintaining and achieving good mental wellbeing:

  • Having confidence in yourself
  • Having positive self-esteem
  • Feeling and expressing a range of emotions
  • Building and maintaining good relationships
  • Feeling engaged with the world around you
  • Living and working productively
  • Coping with the stresses of daily life
  • Adapting and managing in times of change and uncertainty

If you have a mental health problem, taking steps to look after your mental health can help you improve your wellbeing:

  • Tell people what helps – treatments / types of support / triggers
  • Spot your early warning signs / triggers
  • Keep a mood diary – track your moods
  • Build self-esteem – feel more confident and able to challenge adversity
  • Exercise
  • Eat well (healthy)
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol

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