In this article series, we are exploring the basics of mental health versus mental illness. In the first article of this two-part series, you’ll find the definitions of psychological health versus illness according to the Center for Disease Control. In this article, we are going to explore mental health and the indicators that suggest that someone is healthy versus having an illness.
As mentioned in the previous article, generally, the field of psychology has focused on the illnesses of the general public. There has not been an exploration of what keeps people well. In fact, there has been very little done to protect the mental health of those who are healthy versus help free those who are suffering from mental illness. Securing one’s mental health may be an area for those working with teens to explore more closely. Teens are at a vulnerable stage in life and, at the same time, their minds are rich with creativity, innovation, and exploration. Preserving this kind of psychological well being might be incredibly beneficial for adolescents and it might even help prevent illness later in their lives.
Fortunately, there has been some research on positive mental health. For instance, experts agree that there are generally three areas of one’s life that make up mental health. These are emotional well being, psychological well being, and social well being as defined below:
Emotional Well-Being – This is one’s perceived satisfaction in life, their happiness, their sense of peace and their ability to experience joy.
Psychological Well-Being – This includes self acceptance, personal growth, positive relationships, optimism about the future, and whether one is open to new experiences. Psychological well being also includes feeling hopeful about one’s life, feeling like you have control over the environment, having a sense of spirituality or religious connection with a higher being. Lastly, this element of mental health includes having a sense of direction in life and feeling that you have a say in that direction.
Social Well-Being – This aspect of mental health has to do with one’s relationship to their social environment. This involves whether one feels socially accepted, believes in the potential of others and in society as a whole. It includes personal self worth and a sense of usefulness to society. Lastly, social well being includes having a sense of community.
Somewhat related to social well-being is what many experts have realized has an effect on both mental and physical health, and that is social indicators. For instance, if someone has adequate housing, feels safe in their neighborhood, is getting paid what they deserve in the workplace, and has access to healthcare, these all also play a role in supporting overall mental health.
If you’re a teen, or the parent of a teen, the above information might be useful to know. At the very least, it can be used to preserve your own mental health and well being. And if you’re struggling with a mental illness, the information provided in this article series can be used to elicit mental health and prevent illness in the future.