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Mental Wellness

It is difficult to truly define health or wellbeing. It is more than the absence of disease or illness. Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own potential, develops a sense of purpose or meaning, can cope with the normal stresses of life, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

Mental health and a sense of well-being are a fundamental condition that influences how we think, feel, relate and interact with others. Our ability to enjoy life, to work gainfully, to love and to be loved are often predisposed by our physical and mental health. Because of this, the promotion and protection of mental health is vital to all people and societies.

Mental health is influenced by a variety of social, psychological, and biological factors. Factors such as poverty and low levels of education are recognised risks to mental health for individuals and communities. Poor mental health is also associated with rapid social change, stressful work conditions, gender discrimination, social exclusion, incarceration, violence and physical illness. Some people may have specific psychological or personality factors that make them more vulnerable to mental disorders.

There may also be individuals with biological or genetic vulnerabilities that lead to imbalances in chemicals in the brain. The exact cause of many psychiatric disorders is not known so a good strategy is to minimise the factors that are known risks and maximise the factors that increase our well-being and resilience.