Mental Health or Mental Illness? (the big debate: Are they one and the same?)
Call us out for being controversial or contrary, but let’s throw this topic out there for discussion.
Is mental health the same thing as mental illness?
Does it infuriate you to have the two used in the same context?
Have you referred to your journey with an eating disorder as being a matter of ‘mental health’, or the presence of a ‘mental illness’?
In truth, poor mental health, and being affected by mental illness are both worthy of support, empathy, appropriate treatment, and time and space to recover.
But most would argue there is indeed a clear distinction.
While mental health is a term that we ALL have – to degrees of good and bad – it could be said to refer to our emotional and psychological wellbeing, and to the way in which we are, at that moment or period of time, able to interact with the world and our daily activities.
It might be affected by relationship issues, stress, sleep, physical health, and, let’s not forget….a pandemic!
Mental illness might also be labelled as mental health disorder, and its differentiating factor really rests in it being something of far more detrimental impact on our thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and ability to engage fully with the world and those around us.
It’s worth reiterating that both of these states can be of varying levels, and that those who are struggling with seemingly poor mental health, as opposed to a ‘mental illness’ may simply have not had a diagnosis pathway.
We’d love to know what you think.
What’s ‘mental health’ to you, and how do you differentiate it from ‘mental illness’?
- May 2021