Discussion: Turning Illness into Wellness

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Terminology such as mental illness must be defined and de-stigmatized in order to remove barriers to attaining mental health and wellness. Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions or disorders that affect mood, thinking and behavior. Examples include, but are not limited to: depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. These conditions can become impairments when they interfere with a person’s ability to function productively on a daily basis. Many factors contribute to mental health problems including: biological factors; genes or brain chemistry; life experiences such as trauma or abuse and family history. However, people with mental health problems can get better and full recovery is possible when they have access to mental health services and supports.

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