Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Mental health problems can affect us

Mental health problems can affect us all. Occasionally they can become serious and develop serious complications (mental illness) but this is very rare. For most people, their “ordinary” problems include stress, anxiety, unhappiness, distress, loneliness, lack of self-esteem, difficulty with relationships, and the lack of the ability to cope with adverse circumstances.

Mental health therefore encompasses a sense of well-being and the ability to cope in adversity: it contains various factors such as resilience, confidence, a sense of being able to cope (mastery), coherence, optimism (or hope), the ability to initiate, a degree of emotional intelligence, and the ability to sustain and develop relationships.

However, mental health is still too often used as a euphemism for the absence of mental illness: particularly poignant for people who have been classified (rightly or wrongly) as actually having been mentally ill, or having had a “mental health episode” or breakdown. MIND, SANE, the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and other organizations doing excellent work with such a population utilize this form of definition. Some of those people have been genuinely “ill”. So, let us now examine the concept of mental illness a little bit further.

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