Research shows that high levels of mental health are associated with increased learning, creativity and productivity, more pro-social behaviour and positive social relationships, and with improved physical health and life expectancy. In contrast, mental health conditions can cause distress, impact on day-to-day functioning and relationships, and are associated with poor physical health and premature death from suicide.
But it’s important to remember that mental health is complex. The fact that someone is not experiencing a mental health condition doesn’t necessarily mean their mental health is flourishing. Likewise, it’s possible to be diagnosed with a mental health condition while feeling well in many aspects of life.
Ultimately, mental health is about being cognitively, emotionally and socially healthy – the way we think, feel and develop relationships – and not merely the absence of a mental health condition. Having social connections, good personal relationships and being part of a community are vital to maintaining good mental health and contribute to people’s recovery, should they become unwell. This will also contribute to the prevention of mental health conditions, and support people who have experienced these conditions to get as well as they can and lead full and contributing lives.