MENTAL HEALTH INFORMATION
What is Mental Health?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which individuals realise their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and are able to make a contribution to their community.
People who are mentally and emotionally healthy participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. They have:
- a sense of contentment
- a zest for living and the ability to laugh and have fun
- the ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity
- a sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships
- the flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change
- a balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
- the ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships
- self-confidence and high self-esteem
What is Mental Disability?
The term mental disability is a holistic term that is used to describe persons with intellectual disability and/or psychiatric illness.
What is Intellectual Disability?
Intellectual Disability is a generalised disorder characterised by significantly diminished cognitive or intellectual ability and the inability to acquire the skills needed to function adequately in society.
Intellectual Disability is a permanent disability that originates before the age of 18 years and encompasses a wide range of conditions, types and levels. Intellectual disability is caused by factors that can be physical, genetic and/or social. Intellectual disability cannot be cured but with specialised treatment, people with intellectual disability can be helped and progress is possible in coping with the more complex aspects of daily living.
What is Psychiatric Illness?
Psychiatric Illnesses are mental and emotional disorders affecting the brain, such as severe depression, schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder. These disorders influence the way a person thinks, feels, believes and/or reacts to others and to their surroundings.
Psychiatric Illness is characterised by varying degrees of inappropriate behavior, communication and understanding, and being out of touch with reality at times. Psychiatric illness can affect anyone and generally starts in adolescence or adult life.
Although the exact cause of Psychiatric Illness is not known, it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a contribution of genetic, biological, psychological and environmental factors.
A Psychiatric Illness, like many chronic illnesses, requires ongoing treatment and support, hospitals and rehabilitation groups.
Adherence to medication and regular support services from social workers and families can lead to healthy, productive lives for persons with psychiatric illness and their families.