Mental health and mental health disorders(mental illness)
are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually refer to two distinct concepts. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health is "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community." Mental health disorders, on the other hand, are "clinically diagnosable disorders that significantly interfere with an individual's cognitive, emotional, or social abilities."
To further clarify the distinction between mental health and mental health disorders, let's take a closer look at some direct quotes and sources.
According to Mental Health America, "Mental health is an integral part of overall health and wellbeing. It encompasses a range of experiences, emotions, and behaviors that are normal and common in everyday life." This definition highlights the fact that mental health is a broad concept that includes both positive and negative experiences.
In contrast, mental health disorders are defined as "conditions that affect a person's thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia." (National Institute of Mental Health)
The WHO emphasizes that mental health and mental health disorders are not mutually exclusive, stating that "mental health is more than the absence of mental disorders." This means that a person can have good mental health even if they have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Similarly, a person can have poor mental health even if they have not been diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), "mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood." This statement reinforces the idea that mental health is a lifelong concern that encompasses both positive and negative experiences.
In summary, mental health and mental health disorders are two distinct concepts that are often conflated. Mental health refers to a state of wellbeing that encompasses a range of experiences, emotions, and behaviors, while mental health disorders are clinically diagnosable conditions that significantly interfere with a person's cognitive, emotional, or social abilities. Understanding the difference between these two concepts is important for promoting mental health and addressing mental health disorders.