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Mental Health ≠ Mental Illness

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

I recently read an article titled Why Mental Health is Not the Opposite of Mental Illness by Well Excel. (20 December, 2022). The title caught my attention. Not only am I glad it did, I am also glad that I was present enough to engage in the learning opportunity.

I am a big fan of sustainable outcomes. It is a strong value for me and I feel it is a core element that I seek out in all that I do. The core takeaway from this article aligns with my values, especially the part about sustainability; there was a call to action where one shifts the focus of psychological support to include a mix of psychological, social, and emotional well-being.

To elaborate, emotional well-being depicts happiness and life satisfaction. Psychological well-being focuses on internal aspects of our experiences, such as finding and creating meaning, self-acceptance, locus of control, and personal growth. Social well-being completes the picture because it reflects on experiences, such as our contribution to the community we feel we belong to, and acceptance of the diversity and differences within such communities.

The author indicated that the researchers concluded that mental health is not something we have or we don’t have, rather it is helpful to view mental health on a continuum. I feel the ideas from this article impacted me positively and because it aligns with my core values, it feels flexible, pragmatic, aspirational, and sustainable. As a clinician, I feel that it aligns with how I provide support, which is often centered around self-understanding, self-observation, and self-exploration within the contexts of the different environments we find ourselves in.

Source: Why Mental Health is Not the Opposite of Mental Illness. (2022).

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