28 October 2009

What is a Mental Health

What's Mental HealthMental health is more than the mere lack of mental disorders. The positive dimension of mental health is stressed in WHO’s definition of health as contained in its constitution:
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
”Concepts of mental health include subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence and recognition of the ability to realize one’s intellectual and emotional potential. It has also been defined as a state of well-being whereby individuals recognize their abilities, are able to cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and fruitfully, and make a contribution to their communities. Mental health is about enhancing competencies of individuals and communities and enabling them to achieve their self-determined goals

Mental health should be a concern for all of us, rather than only for those who suffer from a mental disorder. Mental health problems affect society as a whole, and not just a small, isolated segment. They are therefore a major challenge to global development. No group is immune to mental disorders, but the risk is higher among the poor, homeless, the unemployed, persons with low education, victims of violence, migrants and refugees, indigenous populations, children and adolescents, abused women and the neglected elderly. For all individuals, mental, physical and social health are closely interwoven, vital strands of life. As our understanding of this interdependent relationship grows, it becomes ever more apparent that mental health is crucial to the overall well-being of individuals, societies and countries. Unfortunately, in most parts of the world, mental health and mental disorders are not accorded anywhere the same importance as physical health. Rather, they have been largely ignored or neglected.

World Health Organitaton ( W H O ), 2000


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