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Is there a difference between wellbeing and mental health?

Dr Lina Gega explores conceptions of mental health and wellbeing, and whether or not the two are synonymous.

Having looked at what we mean by wellbeing, it’s time to explore the relationship between wellbeing and mental health.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describe mental health as an integral and essential component of health more broadly, defining it as:

“a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
Wrapped up in this notion of mental health then is the notion of mental wellbeing. In the video, above, Dr Lina Gega unpicks these two related but independent concepts from a practitioner perspective.
Dr Gega is a senior clinician, researcher, teacher and supervisor with subject expertise in digital technologies and mental health, particularly in relation to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), supported self-managed care and standardised interventions in primary care and the community. Her current research focuses on interventions with children and young people affected by, or at risk of, mental health problems.
She describes mental wellbeing as a broad “sense of self”, and an “ability to live…as close as possible to the way we want”. Mental health, by contrast, is defined in terms of “specific signs and symptoms that cause significant and persistent emotional distress”: the presence of such signs and symptoms constituting a mental health problem.
The charity Mind express the relationship in the following way:
“If you experience low mental wellbeing over a long period of time, you are more likely to develop a mental health problem.
If you already have a mental health problem, you’re more likely to experience periods of low mental wellbeing than someone who hasn’t. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have periods of good wellbeing.”

As Dr Gega explains in the video, digital media can have positive and negative effects for both our mental wellbeing and our mental health.

This article is from the free online

Digital Wellbeing

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