Mental health

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Template:Psychology Mental health is a term used to describe either a level of cognitive or emotional wellbeing or an absence of a mental disorder.[1][2] From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life, procure a balance between life activities, and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.[1]

The World Health Organization states that there is no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined.[3]


In the mid 19th century William Sweetzer was the first to introduce an idea of mental hygiene.[4] Isaac Ray, one of thirteen founders of the American Psychiatric Association, further defined mental hygiene as an art to preserve the mind against incidents and influences which would inhibit or destroy its energy, quality or development.[4] At the beginning of the 20th century, Clifford Whittingham Beers founded the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and opened the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States.[4][5] Template:Sectstub


Mental wellbeing

Template:Refimprovesect Mental health can be seen as a continuum, wherein an individual's mental health may have many different possible values. Mental wellness is generally viewed as a positive attribute, such that a person can reach enhanced levels of mental health, even if they do not have any diagnosable mental health condition. This definition of mental health highlights emotional well being, the capacity to live a full and creative life, and the flexibility to deal with life's inevitable challenges. Many therapeutic systems and self-help books offer methods and philosophies espousing strategies and techniques vaunted as effective for further improving the mental wellness of otherwise healthy people. Positive psychology is increasingly prominent in mental health.

A holistic model of mental health generally includes concepts based upon anthropological, educational, psychological, religious and sociological perspectives, as well as theoretical perspectives from personality, social, clinical, health and developmental psychology.[6][7]

An example of a wellness model includes one developed by Myers, Sweeny and Witmer. It includes five life tasks — essence or spirituality, work and leisure, friendship, love and self-direction—and twelve sub tasks—sense of worth, sense of control, realistic beliefs, emotional awareness and coping, problem solving and creativity, sense of humor, nutrition, exercise, self care, stress management, gender identity, and cultural identity—are identified as characteristics of healthy functioning and a major component of wellness. The components provide a means of responding to the circumstances of life in a manner that promotes healthy functioning.[8]

Lack of a mental disorder

Mental health can also be defined as an absence of a major mental health condition.

Cultural and religious considerations

Mental health can be socially constructed and socially defined; that is, different professions, communities, societies and cultures have very different ways of conceptualizing its nature and causes, determining what is mentally healthy, and deciding what interventions are appropriate.[9] Thus, different professionals will have different cultural and religious backgrounds and experiences, which may impact the methodology applied during treatment.

Many mental health professionals are beginning to, or already understand, the importance of competency in religious diversity and spirituality. The American Psychological Association explicitly states that religion must be respected. Education in spiritual and religious matters is also required by the American Psychiatric Association.[10]

Mental health profession

A number of professions have developed specializing in mental disorders, including the medical speciality of psychiatry, divisions of psychology known as clinical psychology, abnormal psychology, positive psychology, clinical or mental health social work, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, psychotherapists, counselors and public Health professionals.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19] Different clinical and academic professions tend to favor differing models, explanations and goals.[20]

See also

Related concepts

Related disciplines and specialties


Further reading

  • Nesse, R.M. (2005). Evolutionary Psychology and Mental Health. In David Buss, (Ed.), Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology. John Wiley and Sons: Hoboken , NJ. Pp. 903-937. Full text


  1. 1.0 1.1 (2006, July 25). What is Mental Health?. Retrieved June 01, 2007, from
  2. Princeton University. (Unknown last update). Retrieved June 01, 2007, from
  3. World Health Report 2001 - Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope, World Health Organization, 2001
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Johns Hopkins University. (2007). Origins of Mental Health. Retrieved June 01, 2007, from
  5. Clifford Beers Clinic. (2006, October 30). About Clifford Beers Clinic. Retrieved June 01, 2007, from
  6. Witmer, J.M. (1992). "A holistic model for wellness and prevention over the lifespan". Journal of Counseling and Development. 71: 140–148. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  7. Hattie, J.A. (2004). "A factor structure of wellness: Theory, assessment, analysis and practice". Journal of Counseling and Development. 82: 354–364. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  8. Myers, J.E. (2000). "The wheel of wellness counseling for wellness: A holistic model for treatment planning. Journal of Counseling and Development". Journal of Counseling and Development. 78: 251–266. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  9. Weare, Katherine (2000). Promoting mental, emotional and social health: A whole school approach. London: RoutledgeFalmer. p. 12. ISBN 978-0415168755.
  10. Richards, P.S. (2000). Handbook of Psychotherapy and Religious Diversity. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association. p. 4. ISBN 978-1557986245. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  11. King, L.S. (1952) Is Medicine an Exact Science?. Philosophy of Science, 19, 131-140.
  12. A, N.C. (1997). What is Psychiatry? The American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 591-593.
  13. American Psychiatric Association. (2006). About APA. Retrieved April 19, 2007, from
  14. Princeton University. (2006). psychiatry. Retrieved April 19, 2007, from
  15. South County Hospital Healthcare System. (2006). Glossary of Specialties. Retrieved April 19, 2007, from
  16. University of Melbourne. (2005, August 19). What is Psychiatry?. Retrieved April 19, 2007, from
  17. Stedman, T. (2005). Psychiatry. In Stedman's Medical Dictionary (28th Edition). Pennsylvania: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  18. Stony Brook University Medical Center. (Unknown last update). Psychiatry. Retrieved April 19, 2007, from
  19. California Psychiatric Association. (2007, February 28). Frequently Asked Questions About Psychiatry & Psychiatrists. Retrieved April 19, 2007, from
  20. Rogers, A. & Pilgram, D. (2005) A Sociology of Mental Health and Illness, Open University Press, 3rd Edition. ISBN 0335215831

External links

is:Andleg heilsa it:Salute mentale sr:Ментално здравље fi:Mielenterveys Template:WikiDoc Sources