Emotional and Mental

What Exactly Is “Mental Health”?

Published: May 1, 2024

Good question! May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a great time to explore answers to that question. The Oxford Dictionary defines mental health as a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. 

Mental Health Can Mean Different Things to Different People

Best Care EAP recently asked attendees at its Management Boot Camp training what they think when asked to define mental health. Here’s what a few people had to say:

  • “It’s a stigma people don’t like to talk about.”
  • “It’s the thoughts and feelings coming from your mind.”
  • “It has to do with your mindset being positive or negative.”
  • “It makes me think of stress, depression and anxiety.”
  • “It’s all the emotions and thoughts about yourself and others.”
  • “I think it’s about having trouble coping with life.”

We all have mental health, and we need to take care of it like we do our physical health. Throughout life, everyone experiences a range of mental health challenges that are influenced by factors that can’t always be controlled. The important thing to do is check in with yourself on a regular basis.

Gauge How You’re Feeling

The Mental Health Action Network identifies a continuum of experiences to help gauge how you’re feeling. They’re shared here with permission from the network:

Thriving: This is where you want to be on the continuum: you’re feeling good, balanced and able to cope with the challenges that come your way through work, school, or relationships.

Managing: At this point on the continuum, you’re having to do some work to keep things balanced, cope in healthy ways and meet the demands of work, school, or home life. But, overall, you’re making it work.

Struggling: Your emotional struggles are impacting work, school, or relationships. While your instinct might be to just suck it up and push through, it’s important to acknowledge you’re struggling, find ways to take care of yourself and reach out for help if needed.

Distressed. Mental health challenges are really interfering with your quality of life and ability to get things done. You may be struggling with untreated mental health conditions like depression or anxiety disorder and it’s critical to reach out for help before things get worse. Crisis situations require a call to 911 or 988 for immediate support. 

No matter what you or someone you know may be experiencing, there are ways to take action to support yourself and those around you. When you’re mentally well, you can flourish and function at your best. No matter how you define mental health, remember that mental health is health and deserves your attention.

Additional Help Is Available

If you’re struggling or feeling distressed, seek help from professionals. Best Care EAP licensed counselors are available to provide you with confidential guidance and support. To schedule an appointment, fill out our counseling registration form. If you have issues with the form, please call our office at (402) 354-8000 or (800) 801-4182, and we'll be glad to help. 

More Resources 

Best Care EAP's website offers a variety of resources to help you learn more about mental health. For example, this article addresses anxiety and “what-if” thinking. You can also find a variety of webinars in our Resource Hub to support your overall well-being. 

About the Author

Lisa Dempsey serves on the Best Care Employee Assistance Program Sales and Marketing team as the coordinator of communications/promotions.

She works closely with clients to create promotional materials and helps generate content for the Best Care EAP website.

Dempsey enjoys learning about health topics by interviewing health care professionals. She also likes working collaboratively on ad campaigns and being involved at events within the community.

See more articles from Lisa Dempsey
Lisa Dempsey