jenga africa
jenga africa

What is Mental Health?

Let’s start here.

There’s no health without mental health. Mental health is an essential part of your wellbeing, so it’s important to not only focus on your physical health alone, but your mental health as well.

Many people have a skewed perception and understanding of what mental health is and what it’s not. In our research, we have found that people think mental health means individuals with issues that deems one insane or mad; so, when you ask, “how’s your mental health?” – the response would be, “I don’t have mental health issues.”

The Perception

This perception has to be corrected. Mental health is part of one’s overall well-being – where an individual is able to handle life stressors, has coping mechanisms should they encounter a difficult situation and is able to be a productive member of society.

Physical health represents one dimension of total well-being, because we have other dimensions like mental health; and if physical health is the state of your physical body and how well its operating, then mental health is the state of your mental faculties and how well its operating.

Good or Bad?

We then say that one can have good or positive mental health or bad or negative mental health. Someone with positive mental health is one who is able to handle life stressors and manage difficult events well, avoiding paths that may lead one to depression or suicide. On the other end, someone with negative mental health is one who is not able to cope with the stresses of life or difficult events and is easily susceptible to stress, anxiety, depression or suicide.

Do you get it?

The WHO states that: “Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life.”

If this is the case, then the promotion, exercise and renewal of mental health is important not only to the individual, but communities globally.

Food for thought:

Did you use to think the phrase ‘mental health’ meant one who has mental disorders and disabilities?

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