Mental health meanings

Mental health and wellbeing

Mental health is more than the absence of mental disorder or disability. It is "a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises 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 his or her community"* (World Health Organisation, WHO, 2003).

Wellbeing is a state of mental and physical health characterised by comfort and happiness.

What do we mean by mental health changes?

Mental health changes can occur in stressful times. They affect the way you think, handle everyday situations, work and they can impact on your relationships. It is important to be aware of these changes and to get the right support at the right time. About one in four Australians will experience mental health changes at some time in their lives.

Mental ill-health

A small minority of people may experience mental health changes that may be defined as ill-health. Mental ill-health is defined as the spectrum of experiences that contributes to a compromise of mental wellbeing and can prevent a person from getting on their life as usual. Mental ill-health can significantly affect how a person thinks, behaves and interacts with others. It will impact on a person's ability to perform normal activities like work and study. If you are concerned that you may be experiencing mental ill-health, or simply need to share your experience in a confidential environment, you may find counselling helpful. Students are able to use the free Counselling service for face-to-face appointments, or try eCounselling. Staff are invited to use the Employee Assistance Program.

*World Health Organisation (2003) The Mental Health Context. Retrieved 19th September 2009, from http://www.who.int/mental_health/resources/en/context.PDF