Mental Health vs. Mental Wellness… Think you know the difference?
In today’s world, you probably hear the term “mental health” thrown around left and right. People are talking about mental health, what it means to them, and some of the ways they deal with it all the time! But, what is mental health, and how is it different from mental wellness?
There are a lot of ways that people can be mentally healthy or ill. It can be useful to think of your mental health the way you think about your physical health. Whether you have a physical health condition or not, you still need to take care of your physical health. Similarly, everyone is affected by mental health, whether they experience mental health challenges or not.
“Mental health” refers to your emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing and can affect how you think, feel, and act. The ways that you interact with the people around you, handle your problems, and make decisions, are strongly impacted by your mental health.
“Mental health challenge” is a broad term that includes mental illnesses, substance use issues and the symptoms of mental illnesses that may not be severe enough for a diagnosis. The term also includes crisis situations such as having thoughts of suicide. These challenges can affect your thinking, mood, and behavior.
Thankfully, you are not alone. Mental health challenges are common, and the people that experience them can get better. Help is available and many will recover completely.
This is where the term “mental wellness” comes in! Instead of seeing mental wellbeing in terms of “good mental health” vs. “bad mental health,” mental wellness is more of a resource and a process we all use to build resilience, grow, and flourish.
When we experience mental wellness, we’re more likely to:
- Feel good
- Be resilient and functional
- Enjoy positive relationships
- Contribute to society or community
- Realize our full potential
- Have a sense of fulfillment or coherence
It’s important to always be working towards achieving mental wellness, whether you experience mental health challenges or not. For example, your mental wellness “supply” may need to be refilled over time.
By seeing your mental health as more than just being ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ you can help others feel more comfortable talking about it and getting help when they need it!