What’s the difference between mental health and mental illness?

What’s the difference between mental health and mental illness?

Mental health and mental illness are two phrases which are widely used interchangeably. However, these two concepts don’t mean the same. Nowadays, due to the hustle and bustle of daily life routines, it’s quite common to be stressful and struggling with anxiety or depression. Most people find themselves overwhelmed by work, financial or family issues.

It’s of paramount importance to determine your level of stress so as to seek help before it turns into something more serious or severe. You can find more information here. Many people suffer from minor mental disorders so it shouldn’t be stigmatized nor should it be a taboo. At the moment, more and more people are conscious of self-care and the relevance of mental health.

Even though many people believe mental health and mental illness are the same, there are some slight differences. On one hand, every human being has mental health since it stands for mental wellness. Whereas, on the other hand, mental illness is when someone is diagnosed with a mental condition.

What’s mental health?

When we talk about our mental health we refer to the emotional, physical and psychological well being. It also has to do with our social life. It means that mental health is connected to our feelings, emotions, how we feel, think, behave, cope with difficult situations and bond with others.

We all have mental health but having mental health depends on several factors such as how well we sleep at night, our diet, how we relate with others, the level of stress in our daily life routine, unforeseen unfortunate events and our free-time activities.

Someone who has built good mental health is capable of coping and struggling with difficult times, handling stress, making good decisions and having strong bonds with loved ones. As we take care of our physical health, we must pay attention and take care of our mental health. It’s important to do some Mental Wellness Activities so as to be emotionally balanced and happy.

What’s mental illness?

Many people have gone through mental illnesses once along with their lives. It might be stress, depression or anxiety. They’re quite common. However, someone who has a severe mental illness has a mental impairment which enables him/her to think clearly or act correctly.

Having a mental illness affects a person’s correct function of his/her social, emotional and psychological abilities for a long period of time. Having a mental illness has nothing to do with a sense of sadness or being devastated due to the loss of a loved one or due to tough economic times. It’s much more than that.

Someone who is mentally ill is no longer in control of his/her life and needs counselling, medication or medical attention. Mental illnesses range from mild to severe. It’s not a matter of willpower to overcome it since there are several factors that contribute to developing a mental disorder such as substance abuse, sexual abuse, violence, any trauma or even genes.

Someone who is mentally ill may experience anxiety, depression, trauma disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, personality disorders, addictive behaviours, among others.

What’s the difference between mental health and mental illness?

Both terms are different from one another. Being mentally ill implies there is a wide range of symptoms which are diagnosed by specialists and considered to be treated with either medication or counselling. A mental illness is a mental disorder that affects how a person behaves, interacts with others and feels.

Whereas many people consider mental health at one end and mental illness at the opposite end, it’s true that one’s health is not constant and many people may find themselves at one point or another during their lifetime.

Mental health and mental illness are separate concepts which work separately; this means a person may have good mental health but being diagnosed with a mental problem which can be treated and eventually cured.

Signs of mental health

In order to be mentally healthy people need to take care of their mental health, in the same way, they do with their physical health.

There are several signs that indicate someone is mentally healthy. On one hand, people with good mental health are resilient. This means they are able to cope with difficulties and handle stress successfully.

On the other hand, another sign of having good mental health is bonding with friends, family and meeting new people. Having good and healthy relationships support good mental health whereas people who are in isolation are more prone to be depressive.  

Signs of mental illness

There’s a wide range of mental illnesses from minor to severe. Mental illnesses, in general, affect a person’s whole well-being such as the way they behave, think and feel.

The most common type of mental illness is anxiety. It affects a person’s ability to sleep well, concentrate to do any kind of task. Depression, on the other hand, is also considered a common mental disorder but at the same time a serious condition. Not only does it affect a person’s mental health but also his/her physical health.

The most common symptoms are panic attacks, phobias, stress, a racing heart, shortness of breath, sleep deprivation, regular headaches, changes in weight, people get sick regularly, people who suffer from schizophrenia may have delusions and hallucinations, shifts in mood, among other signs and symptoms.

It’s of paramount importance to see a doctor regularly to check your mental health. In case of any symptom seek for help and counselling. Mental illnesses shouldn’t be stigmatized nor considered taboo. You’re not alone. There are hundreds of people around the globe who suffer or who have suffered a mental disorder once in their lifetime.

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Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 10 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. All my ideas come from my very active lifestyle, every day I ask myself hundreds of questions to doctors, specialists, and physicians. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. In all my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. I believe that any information should be free, we want to know more every day because we learn every day. Most of our medical sources come from Canada.ca and government research. You can contact me on our forum or by email at info@sind.ca.

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