What is Mental Health?
Present-day, mental health is described by the WHO as:” ...𝘢 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭-𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦, 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘧𝘶𝘭𝘭𝘺, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘣𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺” (WHO 2001a, p.1).
Back in the day, Marie Jahoda had a different opinion from the general approach of the times:
“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘢 𝘴𝘶𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘰𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘵𝘩.” (1958, p. 15).
Jahoda was motivated by the one-sidedness of psychological knowledge and felt the urge to define mental health in a different way. She found that it is not enough to lack mental disorder, imbalance, but positive mental health includes the presence of well-being too. (Jahoda, 1958)
Carol Ryff created her 6 factor model of Psychological Well-being based on Jahoda’s theory (Ryff & Keyes, 1995, p.1072):
“𝗦𝗲𝗹𝗳-𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗲𝗽𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 High scorer: Possesses a positive attitude toward the self; acknowledges and accepts multiple aspects of self, including good and bad qualities; feels positive about past life.
𝗣𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀 High scorer: Has warm, satisfying, trusting relationships with others; is concerned about the welfare of others; capable of strong empathy, affection, and intimacy; understands give and take of human relationships.
𝗔𝘂𝘁𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗺𝘆 High scorer: Is self-determining and independent; able to resist social pressures to think and act in certain ways; regulates behaviour from within; evaluates self by personal standards.
𝗘𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗿𝗼𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗺𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘆 High scorer: Has a sense of mastery and competence in managing the environment; controls complex array of external activities; makes effective use of surrounding opportunities; able to choose or create contexts suitable to personal needs and values.
𝗣𝘂𝗿𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗲 𝗶𝗻 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 High scorer: Has goals in life and a sense of directedness; feels there is meaning to present and past life; holds beliefs that give life purpose; has aims and objectives for living.
𝗣𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗼𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗴𝗿𝗼𝘄𝘁𝗵 High scorer: Has a feeling of continued development; sees self as growing and expanding; is open to new experiences; has a sense of realizing his or her potential; sees improvement in self and behaviour over time; is changing in ways that reflect more self-knowledge and effectiveness.”
I have shared this model to give a framework that helps to assess your present life situation based on it. Reach out for help if needed or strengthen the areas where you feel the need and consciously bring awareness to appreciate the areas where you are satisfied already.
If you are interested to learn more, 𝙛𝙚𝙚𝙡 𝙛𝙧𝙚𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙘𝙝 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙗𝙮 𝙋𝙈, or join my supportive community of like-minded conscious developers:
Jahoda M. (1958). Current concepts of positive mental health. New York, Basic Books, retrieved from https://archive.org/details/currentconceptso00jaho/page/n13
Ryff, C. D., & Keyes, C. L. M. (1995). The Structure of Psychological Well-Being Revisited. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.529
WHO (2001a). Strengthening mental health promotion. Geneva, World Health Organization (Fact sheet, No. 220).