What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is knowing and accepting yourself, understanding what makes you happy, building meaningful relationships, coping with problems of day-to-day living and maintaining a sense of humour. It also means striking a balance in all aspects of your life: social, physical, spiritual, economic and mental. Reaching a balance is a learning process. At times, you may tip too much in one direction and have to find your footing again. Your personal balance is unique, and your challenge is to stay mentally healthy by keeping that balance. It's easier if you Practice Mind + Body Fitness.*

In a sense, mental health is like the weather: it is the emotional and psychological climate in which we live. Like the weather, it is affected by systems moving through, sometimes fine, sometimes overcast, sometimes stormy. Mental health, therefore, is our positive interaction with the context and events of our lives. It is critically affected by our life situation and the amount of support and control we have to deal with our circumstances.

Mental health is about coping with the challenges of life: from bereavement to job stress to relationship problems. Strong support networks and financial security can help a person cope with mental health problems, whereas living in poverty or abuse, with little control over circumstances, places serious strain on someone's mental health. Income, housing, education and employment - or the lack of these - are key factors affecting our sense of well-being. Anything making it difficult for an individual, group and environment to interact effectively, can become a threat or barrier to mental health, and may result in a mental health problem.**

*Excerpts from CMHA National web site
**Excerpts from "Valuing Mental Health: A Framework to Support the Development of a Provincial Mental Health Policy for Newfoundland and Labrador, September 2001 http://www.gov.nf.ca/publicat/MentalHealthPolicyPaper.pdf