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What is mental health?

Health & wellbeing

What is mental health?

Health & wellbeing

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Mental health and what it means

“The phrase ‘mental health’ is often used to mean mental illness, which it really shouldn’t. Mental health is simply how you are.” – Ella, deaf young person

We often talk about our physical health, but we’re not always as good at talking about our mental health. Mental health means how we think, feel and act. Some people might call it emotional wellbeing. 

When we have good mental health, we enjoy spending time with other people or on our own. We can handle new things and enjoy our hobbies. When our mental health is not so good, we might withdraw from other people and find it harder to cope with new challenges. We might not want to spend time on our hobbies any more.

In the same way as we sometimes have coughs and colds, everyone has days when they feel a bit sad, angry or nervous. For example, it’s normal to feel nervous on your first day at a new school, or upset if your parents tell you off. These emotions help us to learn.

However, if you seem to have more bad days than good days, it could be a sign that you have a mental health problem. If you’re finding it hard to take care of your mental health, it’s really important that you ask for help. Tell a family member, doctor or an adult you trust about how you feel. They can help you to find the support you need to start feeling better.

Remember, mental health is just as important as physical health! There are lots of things we can do to stay mentally healthy. You can check out our list of self-care ideas here and find out how to ask for help with your mental health here.

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