The Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness

The Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness

Most of us recognize the importance of health in our lives. We want to eat well, exercise and take care of our bodies.

There has been a growing recognition of the importance of mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health. It’s an important part of your overall well-being.

Mental health includes your social, emotional, and psychological well-being. It’s more than simply the absence of mental illness. Your mental health can be in bad shape, but that doesn’t mean you are suffering from a mental illness.

Sometimes if you’re living in a foreign country, you can have mental health issues. A lack of friends or social structure can cause you to feel “blue” or “down in the dumps”. If you’re in Australia, you might be looking for a Spanish-speaking psychologist in Melbourne.

Mental Illness

Mental illness is a diagnosable condition. They can involve a drastic change in your thinking, emotions or behaviours and affect how you perform and live your life.

To diagnose someone with a mental illness a psychologist or other mental health professional will conduct an interview to determine:

  • The symptoms someone is experiencing.
  • How long they have been happening.
  • How severe they are.
  • Potential causes of the symptoms.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a study conducted between 2020 – 2022 showed that 8.5 million Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 had experienced a mental illness at some time in their life. The same study found that 4.3 million people had experienced a mental illness in the previous 12 months. Those are astonishing numbers and have led many to conclude that Australia is in the midst of a national mental health crisis.

Mental Health

Mental health is complex and your mental health is unique to you. What is good mental health for one person won’t be the same for everyone else. 

It’s entirely possible to have good mental health even if you are experiencing a mental health condition. You can be anxious or nervous about something without having an anxiety disorder. You can experience a low mood temporarily without having clinical depression. 

Frequent causes of a lowered mental or emotional state can be caused by burnout, exhaustion or physical fatigue, grief, poor physical health and stress.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your mental health.

Improving Mental Health

If you’re concerned about your mental health, try implementing some of these tips.

Build a support network. You want to have a group of friends and family to support you. People you trust, that you can talk to and who will help you get through temporary rough patches. 

These are the same people you hang out with on social occasions, parties and events.

Get into a healthy routine. Establish good eating and sleeping habits. These are high-priority actions that have a tremendous impact on how you feel.

Avail yourself of available mental health services. Many people have attested to the benefits of meeting with a psychologist or other mental health professional. Seeking the services of an outside professional is not a sign of a weak or flawed character.

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