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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is mental health?

    I have been in mental health services for a while. Most people who go to mental health services are not mentally healthy. Do they recover? Can they ever get rid of a diagnosis and what is mental health? How would I be able to prove that I am mentally healthy and what does that mean for anyone?
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    Daniel Quin


    Daniel brings his life experience as a psychologist, teacher, and parent to his practice. He brings a warmth and easy calm to children and adults … View Profile

    A common defintion is: "able to meet individual and societal demands and expectations". This means mental health is unique to each individual, his or her stage of life, and cultural norms.

    Mental illness is generally precisely defined e.g. via DSM-5 or ICD categorisations. These categories allow a practioner to state this person experiences Generalised Anxiety (for example) or does have not this. The absence of a mental illness does not automatically mean a person is mentally healthy, just not a diagnosable mental illness. Wellbeing is slightly different. 

    Finally some mental illnesses are treatable, eg. depression, anxiety. Other neurodevelopmental illnesses require support to minimise the effects. eg. intellectual disability, autism spectrum. 

    Finally, it appears you are seeking to prove the absence of a mental illness. It is possible for a person to experience anxiety and it doesn't effect their work, instead the impacts may be on social relationships (or vice versa). So any one of us could currently have a mental illness and it is not obvious to workmates, classmates, teachers, friends, family, etc. 

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