There are many different perspectives on what mental health wellbeing means. Some people see it as an absence of mental health problems, whereas other see it as a positive psychological wellbeing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has defined mental health as “a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make contribution to his or her community.” This will be referred to in this unit standard as ‘mental health wellbeing’.
Mental health is characterised as a collection, sequence, or progression of values i.e., a continuum, ranging from having good mental health to having mental illness. People will vary in positions along this continuum at differing stages of their lives. A person with mental health wellbeing will have balance in their lives and will feel in control of their emotions, also can effectively learn, think clearly, reason, remember, problem solve, decision make and maintain attention and experience positive interactions with others, otherwise known as good cognitive functioning. When at this stage on the continuum a person can perform well at work or study and within the family/whanau and as an effective participant in other social relationships.
Being healthy does not just include physical health, it involves the physical, social, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, occupational, financial, environmental, and cultural wellbeing.
Individuals have their own opinions of what mental health means to them, many of these opinions are formed by their own or family experiences.
Different cultures can also have differing understandings of mental health. Adopting a culturally appropriate model of mental wellbeing is good practice for yourself and others if from a different culture.
It is important to understand cultural identity to relate to an individual’s own interpretation of wellness.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.”