What is mental health and wellbeing?

Since the coronavirus lockdowns, mental health and wellbeing are terms that have become increasingly well known to many of us. However many myths and stigmas still remain.

Here we look at several questions surrounding looking after your mental health:

  • what are mental health, mental illness and wellbeing?
  • how can you protect and improve yours and your families mental health?

If you, or someone you love, are struggling with mental illness there are many free services available in the borough that will be able to help you.  

Mental health 

Mental health relates to our thoughts, emotions, and feelings. It allows us to:

  • cope with the stresses of life
  • realise our potential
  • work productively, and
  • contribute to our communities. 

We all have mental health. Like physical health there are many things we can do to strengthen, protect and treat ourselves.  

Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental illness - mental health/illness exists on a spectrum.


Our wellbeing includes:

  • our day-to-day emotional experiences
  • how we respond to stresses and challenges in life, and
  • our sense that what we do in life is worthwhile.

Developing wellbeing skills is one way we, as individuals, can take control of our mental health.  

While good mental health and wellbeing mean different things to different people, cultivating strong wellbeing can:

  • increase our mental resilience
  • help us find meaning, and
  • help protect us from ill health. 

Mental illnesses

Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in our emotions, thinking, behaviour or a combination of all three.

If you go through a period of poor mental health, you might find the ways you are frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with. But it doesn’t have to be that way: mental illnesses can be manageable and/or treatable with the right support. 

Dealing with mental illnesses

When we struggle with our mental health, its easy to feel alone, but mental illnesses are extremely common.

Roughly one in four adults, and one in six young people in Britain, will experience mental illness each year.

Mental health conditions can range from very common disorders such as depression and anxiety, to severe problems such as psychosis. If your mental health is substantially interfering or limiting your ability to participate in major life activities you may have what is known as severe mental illness. 

Daily activities can impact both positively and negatively on  our mental health and wellbeing.

One common example that negatively impacts our mental health is trauma. Trauma is brought on by stressful events that put you or someone you know in danger, and affects our body and mind. Trauma is a normal emotional response to a threat but can lead to a host of mental health conditions, including:

  • PTSD
  • complex PTSD (CPTSD), and
  • dissociative identity disorder (DID).

However trauma does not define you, and, with the right help, it is possible to recover and heal.  

Taking care of our minds is important, There are things we can do to protect and promote mental health and wellbeing, or address issues we’re experiencing.  

Learn more about your mental health and wellbeing

Discover more through a Mental Health conversation starter tool.

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