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Mental health is just as important as physical health. Good mental health is not just the absence of mental health problems – it’s also about emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.

Mental health has been defined in many ways and is often viewed differently by different individuals, families and cultures. It may include subjective feelings of wellbeing, general satisfaction with life, the ability to handle difficult emotions, connection with and contribution to society, and resilience in facing problems and stress.

Here are a few definitions of mental health…

NHS: “Mental health is a positive state of mind and body, feeling safe and able to cope, with a sense of connection with people, communities and the wider environment.”

World Health Organisation: “Mental health is a state of wellbeing in which an individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Wikipedia: “Mental health is the level of psychological wellbeing or an absence of mental illness. It is the state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioural adjustment.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “Mental health is the condition of being sound mentally and emotionally that is characterised by the absence of mental illness and by adequate adjustment especially as reflected in feeling comfortable about oneself, positive feelings about others, and the ability to meet the demands of daily life.”

It’s totally normal to have times of feeling down, stressed, anxious or unhappy. Everyone is unique – and for some people these feelings will pass quicker than others. Mental health can also change as you pass through different life stages and circumstances.

However, if these negative feelings persist for a prolonged period, you may have a mental health problem. If this is the case, it may be helpful to seek the support of a psychotherapist, GP or other psychological professional.

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