Mental health. What do you understand that to mean?
Of course by mental health we often mean mental ill-health: “I’m seeing someone about my mental health”, “he’s an in-patient in a mental health unit”. How come mental health is used to mean mental ill-health? What is that about? People talk about the stigma of mental health – isn’t it the stigma of mental ill-health that we should be talking about? After all, don’t we all aspire to mental health?
The NHS website says that:
Mental health conditions … mental health problems … mental health challenges… psychiatric illness – what’s in a word? Undoubtedly there’s a stigma associated with psychiatry, psychiatric illness, psychiatric units etc, but unfortunately if we call it something else the stigma still sticks. Until we rethink our attitudes to health and illness I suspect we can’t escape from stigma.
To be honest geriatrics is probably just as stigmatising.
The World Health Organization says that:
So health is mental and physical, not just one or the other. And can I be healthy if I have an ongoing physical or mental condition? For example, what if I’ve got diabetes (stable on treatment) or a bipolar illness (stable on treatment) or even both? Tricky isn’t it, (and maybe even more tricky if we bring social well-being into consideration).
Is anyone truly healthy?