Good Mental Health
- There are many benefits to building and maintaining good mental health.
- There are many things you can do to enhance your mental health, which include building and using good critical thinking skills, building resiliency, giving of yourself and cultivating a healthy social network.
- Learning to identify and change problematic thinking is a vital skill for good mental health.
- When mental health problems arise there are treatment options that can help, which include working with a mental health professional and medications.
- The social, physical and economic conditions in which you live greatly impact your mental health.
Building good mental health is one of the most important things you can do to enhance and maintain optimal health.
This section summarizes the most important information you need to know about building good mental health. For additional information on this topic consult the "For Those Who Want to Know More" section below.
Note: The goal of this section is to outline the qualities of good mental health and to provide strategies to achieve and maintain it. Many people experience problems with their mental health. These include depression, anxiety, addiction and sexual problems. To gain a greater understanding of mental health problems and their treatment consult the Mental Health Resources section.
There is no consensus for a definition of mental health. However, the World Health Organization describes it as a state of psychological well-being in which the person recognizes their abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
In the past the focus of mental health was directed towards problems such as depression and anxiety. Today there is a shift towards a holistic approach that includes mental wellness, mental fitness and other qualities that help an individual grow and flourish.
Those with good mental health are more likely to:
- cope effectively with life’s difficulties and challenges;
- perform better at school and work;
- have satisfying and lasting social relationships and intimate partnerships;
- be employed; and
- enjoy a good quality of life.
Good mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness. The National Mental Health Association lists some characteristics of good mental health. Review these qualities keeping in mind your own mental health:
__ I generally feel good about myself
__ I am able to accept life’s disappointments
__ I don’t become overwhelmed by emotions, such as fear, anger, love, jealousy, guilt, or anxiety
__ I have lasting and satisfying personal relationships
__ I feel comfortable with other people
__ I can laugh at myself and with others
__ I have respect for myself and for others, even if there are differences
__ I can meet life’s demands and handle my problems when they arise
__ I make my own decisions
__ I shape my environment whenever possible and adjust to it when necessary
Many tools exist to assess for potential mental health problems. They focus on specific problems such as depression or anxiety.
Just as there are many things you can do to enhance and protect your physical health (e.g. don't smoke, eat healthfully, get adequate and restful sleep, enjoy regular physical activity etc.) there are many things you can do to enhance and protect your mental health. They include:
There are many mental health related programs and services that can help you in times of need.
Concordia students can meet with professionals at Health Services or Counseling and Psychological Services. All student groups have access to external counselling and psychological services through their Concordia student health plans: see your respective health plan's website for more information. Another Concordia resource is the Applied Psychology Centre. Staff and faculty members can access services through the Employee Assistance Program.
In Montreal, contact the Information and Referral Centre of Greater Montreal (514-527-1375) or 211 (dial 2-1-1). These organizations provide information on hundreds of community resources. They direct people seeking help in solving their problems to the agencies that provide the services they need.
- Mental Health Resources
- If you are doing your own research on the Internet, make sure you know how to evaluate the reliability of information on the Internet
- Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health from HelpGuide
- Physical activity and mental health
- Cognitive-behavioural Therapy: An information guide
- How to Help a Student in Distress: Information for Staff and Faculty
- Mental health and the "Social Determinants of Health"
- How to effectively set, achieve and maintain your health goals