Mental health describes our ability to cope with life’s problems and make the most of life’s opportunities; it is about feeling good and functioning well, as individuals and collectively.
Mental health problems refers to difficulties we may experience with our mental health which affect our ability to cope with everyday life such as going to work, sleeping well, or socialising with friends.
Mental illness is a term used by some people to describe serious, long term mental health problems such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or severe depression. People experiencing these problems often require treatment from specialist mental health services.
Mentally healthy children and young people should have the ability to:
- Develop emotionally, creatively and intellectually
- Develop and maintain good relationships with other people
- Play and learn
- Understand ‘right’ from ‘wrong’
- Face problems, setbacks and learn from them
(The Mental Health Foundation 1999)
Just consider …
- Mental health is everybody’s business – there is a continuum and we are all on it
- Relationships are central to good mental health. The best relationships empower young people to become better at coping with difficulties
- Mental health is the product of complex interactions between nature, nurture and what happens to us in life – each of us has our own balance between risk and resilience
- Reducing risk or increasing resilience can make the difference between coping and not coping. What may appear to us to be small things can make a big difference for young people