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What do experts mean by ‘mental health’ (and ‘illness’) and ‘normality’?

Short introduction to the activity 'What do experts mean by ‘mental health’ (and ‘illness’) and ‘normality’?'

So far we have looked at myths and misconceptions about people with mental health issues, now let’s explore what experts have to say about the issue.

How do we define ‘mental health’ (and ‘illness’) and ‘normality’?

Is this an easy thing to do?

Explore the following steps and think about how we define mental health and issues (sometimes referred to as ‘illnesses’ or ‘conditions’). Are there any problems with the way we do this?

In this activity you will also explore the norms of mental health and how we define an ‘abnormality’ from these norms.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary Online, a norm is:

‘A standard or pattern of social behaviour that is accepted in or expected of a group’ (OED 2018)

‘Norm’ is a term you will encounter many times on this course.


‘norm, n. 1’ _Oxford English Dictionary Online’- [online]. available from [7th January 2019]

© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Defining Mental Health: A Short Introduction

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