When we talk about mental health, some people think about serious mental illnesses and disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
But we all should strive for mental health – a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being!
Mental well-being encourages individuals to explore, take healthy risks, overcome adversity and contribute to the world around them. At District School Board Ontario North East, we believe that mental health is more than just the absence of illness. Well-being can be enhanced and nurtured through positive mental health promotion and prevention. Schools are excellence places to build the skills, attitudes, knowledge and habits that support mental well-being for ALL students and staff.
So, What Is Mental Health?
There are many ways to define mental health and well-being but we can find some particularly thoughtful insight from the 2015 First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework. Here, mental well-being is defined as, a balance of the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional that gives people, even the most vulnerable or mentally ill, an opportunity to live as a whole and healthy individual. The framework explains that this balance is enhanced when people feel like their lives have a purpose, they have hope for their future, they feel a sense of belonging and connectedness, and they have a meaning and understanding of how their lives are part of creation and a rich history. This approach is foundational for Canada's indigenous people, but everyone can benefit from this intentional and balanced view.
The following video from the
Health Promotion Resource Centre at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) offers a "shared language" when talking about mental health and well-being.