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This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, Defining Mental Health: A Short Introduction. Join the course to learn more.

What is ideal mental health?

The best way to think about how to define mental illness is to think about what is meant by the term ‘mental health’.

A definition that is commonly used by experts is that used by the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to the WHO mental health is…

‘… a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community’ (WHO 2014).

Late in the course we will explore factors that can influence it (e.g culture, society, family) and how it can differ in terms of severity.

Your task

  • How far do you agree with the WHO’s definition of ideal mental health?

  • Do you think there is anything else that should be included in the definition?

Post your thoughts in the comments area.


WHO (2014) Mental Health: A State of Well-Being [Online] available from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/ [12th November 2018]

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This article is from the free online course:

Defining Mental Health: A Short Introduction

Coventry University