What is mental health?

Health Watch, Normal

MANY people, when they hear the term mental health, think of mental illnesses. But mental health is far more than an absence of a mental illness; mental health is something all of us want for ourselves.
Mental health is determined by:
* How you feel about yourself;
* How you feel about others; and
* How you meet the demands of everyday life.
One way of describing mental health is to describe characteristics of a mentally healthy person.
There are many different degrees of mental health and on one characteristic is indicative of good mental health; nor can the lack of any one characteristic signify a mental illness. In fact, nobody has all the traits of good mental health all the time.

Mental health checklist
1. Do you feel good about yourself?
* I take pleasure in everyday things;
* I am able to deal with most situations and am not overwhelmed by emotions;
* I can take life’s disappointments in stride;
* I have a tolerant attitude toward myself as well as others;
* I am realistic about my abilities; and
* I can accept my own shortcomings and laugh at myself
2. Do you feel comfortable with other people?
* I am able to love and consider the interest of others;
* I have personal relationships that are satisfying and lasting;
* I can trust others and feel they can trust me;
* I do not take advantage of others nor do I let others take advantage of me; and
* I feel a sense of responsibility to others.
3. Are you able to meet life’s demands?
* I do something about problems as they arise;
* I accept responsibilities;
* I shape my environment when possible and adjust to life’s challenges;
* I plan ahead and do not fear the future; and
* I welcome new experiences and set realistic goals for myself.
If you think that you or someone you know may have a problem with mental health, please contact your nearest GP (general practitioner), medical professional or nearest medical clinic.


* Dr Uma Ambihaipahar is the principal adviser of Social Change & Mental Health consultant psychiatrist.