Psychological health is a state of being that enables individuals to realize their own abilities and can cope with the normal stresses of life. It is also characterized by the ability to work productively and fruitfully, and contribute to society in a meaningful way. The World Health Organization defines mental health as a dynamic state of internal equilibrium that enables people to enjoy life and pursue their own personal goals, regardless of whether these are reflected in traditional eudaimonic or hedonic theoretical traditions.
Psychotherapists often help clients manage psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. They can also provide counseling for a wide range of concerns including grief and loss, relationship issues, addictions and traumatic events. Psychotherapy may be provided through a variety of talk therapies or more intensive treatment programs such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. Psychotherapists typically are licensed clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors or psychologists.
Mental health is a core component of well-being and is associated with many positive outcomes, including better quality of life, less substance use, more resilient functioning in the face of setbacks and more stable relationships. It is also linked to higher educational achievement, lower crime rates and increased longevity. It is a key part of what makes a person a healthy citizen, and the importance of promoting it is recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals.
While much of current mental health practice focuses on intervening in the group of individuals who have a mental disorder, there is a growing recognition that a wider approach is needed to promoting mental health. In particular, there is a need to focus more attention on the factors that protect against the development of disorder and the factors that are most likely to undermine it.
This new perspective on mental health is based on the idea that individuals are capable of coping with and adapting to their own unique situation. It also takes into account the fact that human experience is sometimes joyful, but can also be sad or disgusting or frightening. It is also rooted in the recovery movement perspectives, which emphasize that people who have recovered from mental illness can achieve a meaningful and valued existence by building on the functions spared by the illness, even though these might be limited in some respects.
A number of research studies have shown that a person’s mental and physical health are interrelated. These include studies that show that people who have mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or depression are at greater risk of dying from respiratory disease or heart disease than those without such conditions.
A person’s mental and physical health are also affected by the environment in which they live. Factors that might be protective or a threat to mental health include socioeconomic status, cultural background, gender and religious beliefs, education level, family structure, lifestyle choices and genetics. These are all complex and interactive, and it is difficult to isolate and measure them accurately.