What is Mental Health

Although mental health is the absence of psychopathology, perceived and known as the opposite of mental illness, it includes a much broader and more complex definition.

In the last 40-50 years, medical publications and large studies describe who is sick, not who is healthy, and enters the literature.

When describing mental health and psychological health, it should be known that the average does not mean being healthy.

Everyone always harbors a healthy and psychopathology mood.

The links of psychopathology with geography, culture and history should not be forgotten. The value judgments of each society are open to different interpretations on being healthy or being normal.

As Atalanta Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Center, in this article, we will try to define mental health within the framework of different mental health models and answer the questions of

what is mental health and what is psychological health.

Model 1: According to this model, no apparent psychopathology is equal to mental health. One can talk about moderate health, not optimal functioning. For some, mental health is the exception, not the rule.

Model 2: Mental health is an ongoing maturation process. Brain development develops in parallel with the increase in brain myelination with birth, while physiological development comes to the fore until a certain age, after a period, the effect of the change of emotional and social intelligence with experience is seen.

In a study supporting this, it was determined that 70-year-old individuals were less depressed and able to regulate their emotions better than their 30-year-old counterparts. Life is not a staircase descending, but a path leading outward.

Erikson’s model explains this structure. According to Erikson, as a person overcomes certain tasks, the radius of his social circle expands and he matures spiritually.Identity: The social radius that each individual has to develop is within the next. For example, adolescents must be separated from their parents in order to gain their identity.

However, this does not mean egocentric or leaving the family by running away from home. Adolescents will identify with important adolescent friends, role model adults who are not family members, and internalize by choosing the best from all denominators.

Intimacy: Young adults should be able to establish a mutual and unselfish partner bond and develop intimacy.

Having a career: Doing something that looks valuable in the eyes of other people means having a career. Once the quartet of satisfaction, compensation, proficiency, and dedication is achieved, the hobby or business turns into a career. Schizophrenics or those with severe personality disorders are unable to achieve intimacy or to have a sustainable and satisfying job.

Productivity: The capacity to protect and guide the next generation, to give oneself is called productivity. After the age of 35, the need for achievement decreases and the need for attachment and socialization increases.

Integration: Integration means that a person accepts himself as he is and realizes that life is a cycle and that he cannot go back to the beginning.

Although it varies according to beliefs, it is a general human belief that there is life after death and that there is something greater than one’s own self.

When the individual internalizes the phenomenon of death, he will feel peace. Erickson explains this as gaining experience in the world order and spiritual sense.    

The above task sequences are like a roadmap. One task is not superior to another, or accomplishing one task is not healthier than accomplishing another.

Nor is it a race or a moral imperative. However, it is an important pillar of diagnosis and treatment for psychiatrists and professionals dealing with mental health.

Model 3: In this model, mental health , psychological health , love unites us with others, hope, joy, forgiveness, compassion, faith, respect, gratitude as defined as having the presence of positive emotions and morals. These feelings are the basis of bonding between people.

Although negative emotions such as fear, anger and anxiety are necessary for the survival of living things in nature, they are not indispensable for human life at the top of the evolutionary stage.

Negative emotions should no longer be limited to “me” for people. Positive emotions, on the other hand, will liberate the person from himself and bring peace and happiness.

Individuals with positive emotions become more flexible, creative and empathetic. Life is a source of pleasure for them.

Model 4: This model, which answers the question of what is mental health, puts social emotional (socioemotional) intelligence in the foreground. Aristotle saw this hundreds of years ago and mentioned it in one of his works. “A person can be angry, that’s easy.

But it is not easy to be angry with the right person, to be angry with the right intensity, at the right time, with the right purpose and intensity.” Social emotional intelligence is referred to here.

Being able to distinguish seven basic emotions such as anger, fear, excitement, interest, surprise, disgust and sadness in ourselves and others can be achieved with social emotional intelligence. Being able to distinguish these emotions is an expression of mental health.

  • If you can observe and perceive the emotions of the person in front of you;
  • If you can calm yourself in case of anxiety and get rid of feelings such as hopelessness and sadness;
  • If you can recognize the feelings of others and give correct answers;
  • If you can compromise in close relationships with other people;
  • If you can be motivated to reach the desired goal, delay some pleasures, and show adaptive changes to stimuli, we can say that your mental health is good.

We should not think that negative emotions are unhealthy. Negative emotions such as fear and anger are important for maintaining psychological health, and their expression is also healthy.

Subjective well-being helps transform personal resources into creativity, innovative thinking and action. The fact that happy people have less weight problems and less addiction to cigarettes and alcohol fits this description.

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